What I Can Achieve

Things are looking up for Justin Igama as he gets closer to reaching his dream of becoming a physical therapist; he is currently earning his degree in kinesiology while working as an associate at Amazon, Inc. “What inspires and motivates me to enter this career field is that these professionals helped me navigate through my own mobility issues. I will be able to relate to patients since I have experienced all of the related challenges and breakthroughs.”

Justin has cerebral palsy (CP), a neurological disorder that affects muscle coordination and mobility. Individuals with cerebral palsy experience symptoms differently, which can include paralysis, inability to walk or to communicate verbally. According to the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, one in three people affected by cerebral palsy are unable to walk, and one in five cannot talk.

“I received my diagnosis of CP when I was three years old,” said Justin. “It feels like my brain doesn’t communicate well with my muscles. Having this disability used to make me insecure and doubt my abilities; however, it made me develop resilience and determination. My involvement in sports such as wrestling and boxing has also helped me realize that I can achieve what I set my mind to, including working in a competitive environment.”

While starting his college studies in 2016, Justin attempted to find work to support himself. After several months of struggling to find a position, he was referred to PRIDE Industries’ Employment Services Office in Sacramento, CA. With help from Job Coach John Edwards, he practiced interviewing and fine-tuned his resume.

“I learned that a positive first impression is key to engaging employers,” says Justin. “I made special efforts to speak properly and to dress well. However, after multiple interviews, I noticed that my disability and use of a cane to walk might have convinced many that I could not do a job involving lifting and walking around. It proved very frustrating.”

Despite the wait of almost a year, timing proved perfect when PRIDE placed Justin into an associate trainee position at Amazon’s Sacramento Fulfillment Center in late 2016. In this job, he was responsible for sorting items that were delivered to PRIME Now customers. “There were many challenges at first, including learning the variety of new instructions and rules,” said Justin. “I had to work really hard to prove myself.”

Applying skills that he learned from his training with PRIDE, Justin reached out to his supervisor to learn where he could improve. He took the advice and continued to receive consistent positive ratings. PRIDE Job Coach John Edwards was there to help Justin with encouragement and advice.

As Justin grew more skilled and confident, management took notice; Amazon offered him a permanent position in November 2017. “It felt great to finally obtain permanent employment and to prove that I am capable of working in competitive employment with people without disabilities,” said Justin. “They treat me as an important part of the team. With this job, I have earned independence and can support myself financially while I complete my studies.”

“I hope that my story helps others with cerebral palsy to show that they can also achieve successful employment. There may be challenges along the way, but with hard work, perseverance and a support team, they can accomplish their dreams.”

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month 2016

DD Awareness Mth

For 50 years, PRIDE Industries has created opportunities for those often excluded from the labor force – people with disabilities. Instead of disability – we see unique abilities, and we celebrate accomplishments every day.

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Throughout the month, we celebrate the successes of individuals with developmental disabilities – our neighbors, friends, family members and coworkers.

Through employment people with disabilities gain a sense of purpose, dignity, inclusion, and lead more self-sufficient lives. Our programs are customized to provide assessments, career planning, training, placement, on-the-job support, follow-up and case management. We not only employ and support people with developmental disabilities at PRIDE, but have placed more than 500 individuals with disabilities in community employment. Many have been successfully employed with the same local employer for years. To learn more about our services, click here.

We can all play a role in helping individuals with developmental, and other disabilities go to work. How can you help? Consider ways in which opportunities can be created in your business or organization. Not sure how? Contact us. We’d be happy to help! Send an email to: info@prideindustries.com.

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

DDAM

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, a time set aside to bring awareness to developmental disabilities and celebrate the accomplishments of impacted individuals. You may read about highlighted celebrities with developmental disabilities and their achievements.  At PRIDE Industries, we celebrate the successes of individuals with developmental disabilities every day.

Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to impairment in physical, learning, language or behavior areas.  According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately one in six children in the U.S. has one or more developmental disabilities or other developmental delays. Developmental disabilities include autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, epilepsy, fragile-X syndrome, and intellectual disabilities.

Forty-nine years ago, a group of parents seeking greater opportunities for their adult children with developmental disabilities founded PRIDE Industries.  Today, PRIDE is a nationally recognized nonprofit social enterprise with an unchanged mission: creating jobs for people with disabilities.

Approximately half of the individuals that PRIDE Industries employs and serves have developmental disabilities. People like Cameron, Mitchell, Donald, Jonathan, Margaret and Joseph, who have the opportunity to work, learn, grow and contribute to their communities. They are not famous, but they are inspiring. We hope you will spend a few minutes reading their stories and consider ways in which you can create opportunities for individuals like them in your business or organization.