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DDS Logo California Department of Developmental Services
1600 9th Street
P. O. Box 944202
Sacramento, CA 94244-2020

Info: (916) 654-1690
TTY: (916) 654-2054
Employment and Other Resources

Competitive Integrated Employment Success Stories

The State's Employment First Policy, established in the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act (Act), is designed to further the availability of services and supports for persons to achieve more independent and productive lives, and support integration into community life.

Learn more about the Employment First Policy!

The federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), signed by President Obama in July 2015, is designed to strengthen America's workforce.

Learn more about WIOA!

In WIOA and in the Employment First Policy, "competitive, integrated employment" (CIE) is an optimal outcome.

CIE is full-time or part-time work at minimum wage or higher, with wages and benefits similar to those without disabilities performing the same work, and fully integrated with co-workers.

Learn more about CIE!

Recognized in the following Success Stories are individuals who have succeeded in obtaining CIE. Their stories are provided to not only highlight their individual accomplishments, but to also offer, in an educational and instructional format, the specific steps taken to achieve their accomplishments. We hope that these stories will help you see the variety of ways people achieve their CIE career goals.

Share your story

If you would like to share your story, please click the "Share Your Story!" button and send your name, email address, and phone number to the Work Services Section.

We will follow up with you.

» Go to the Success Stories Archive.

Matthew Switzgable

Matthew      Switzgable

Southside Art CenterDay Program Aide

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Matthew Switzgable's Story

Matthew Switzgable

Matthew's Message for Others

"To reach the potential that services have to offer, you will need to advocate for yourself, seek help from your service coordinator when you feel you are not receiving the level or quality of services you should be, do the tasks you are expected to do, and make sure the agency properly does their part without unreasonable delays."

Position and Wage

At Southside Art Center's Sacramento location, Matthew works as an aide within a day program, assisting the clients and instructors of Southside Art Center (Southside). Southside provides services for adults with developmental disabilities, offering options in community volunteerism and paid employment, as well as visual and performing arts studios.

Receiving a competitive wage that is higher than minimum wage, Matthew has worked at his job, as of October 2016, for nearly two years, seven hours per day. Matthew helps clients achieve their goals: working one-on-one with a particular client (at the client's request), or assisting other clients with their daily activities, and preparing art materials for Southside's art instructors. When asked what Matthew likes most about his job, he responded – "I like helping clients to achieve their goals!"

Matthew further provided: "I have known people who have felt helpless and worthless due to a lack of choice or opportunity to take on responsibilities within society, including myself. When I get to help people become more independent, build career skills, gain a sense of self-reliance and feeling of accomplishment in their life, it allows me to feel the same myself."

At work, Matthew provides a variety of services to the client for whom he provides one-to-one services, from "physical assistance to advice and instruction on his art."

Matthew stated: "I am responsible for this client's I.D. notes, monitoring any significant changes in health or behavior that he may express at the site, and following proper procedure for such examples. I help him plan his schedule, and more."

When not working directly with this client, Matthew relayed: "I will assist with on-duty break monitoring; organizing and preparing materials and tools; acting as a temporary fill-in for instructors for a short amount of time, assisting clients when they need help with their projects, running errands in-house for the instructors, and many more tasks. I have also opened and run the gallery for extended holiday weekend hours."

Acquiring Skills

Prior to acquiring this position, Matthew and his parents took the initiative to reach out to the State of California, Department of Rehabilitation, when he decided he wanted to live independently. He participated in part-time employment as a document scanner at a local department within the State of California, through an employment services provider. Matthew worked six months in this position, acquiring and fine-tuning his skills. A job coach at the employment services provider helped Matthew locate the vacant position at Southside.

Matthew also prepared for the competitive, integrated employment position he now holds by obtaining an Associate of Arts degree in Art during the time he lived in a Level IV residential facility.

Achieving Independent Living

Matthew achieved independent living by utilizing independent living services. The support programs he participated in helped him to achieve a strong sense of accomplishment and to experience the reality of independent living.

Matthew relayed the following advice for others who are taking steps to achieve independent living: "Be firm, take initiative, stay persistent, utilize your other resources when breakdowns occur, and recognize that these are important services but are still not at the level they hopefully one day will be at. Due to this being a service with low budgeting, understaffing, and other such issues there can be delays. Ultimately, remember that they are there to help, but it is YOUR future that is impacted and ultimately YOU who needs to ensure your best interests are met. These can be very important resources in achieving personal goals you otherwise may not be able to – as long as you are ready to put in the extra effort to reach them."

Employment Application and Interviewing

Matthew completed a paper application with the assistance of his family and his job developer. After participating in "mock" interviews with his job developer, Matthew interviewed for the position and was hired!

Foundational Employment Skills

Being courteous, dependable, and punctual are just some of the skills that employers say are important to a successful job experience. Matthew recognizes his skills as "being friendly and helpful."

Getting to Work

Understanding reliable transportation is important to success, Matthew utilizes local public transit to ensure he arrives to work on time.

Doing the Job/Supports and Services

An experienced employee or a job coach may provide assistance to an employee when needed. Matthew receives support from a job coach, who follows up with Matthew for issues that may arise or to address concerns twice monthly.

Challenges

Matthew's challenge was ensuring reliable transportation to work. Matthew reached out to his parents for assistance in how to address and overcome this challenge.

Long-Term Goals

Matthew's long-term goal is to "move up." Matthew plans to obtain his driver's license in order to begin the steps necessary to reach his goal of promoting to an art teacher position.

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Matthew Seymour

Matthew      Seymour

SodexoUtility Worker

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Matthew Seymour's Story

Matthew Seymour

Matthew's Message for Others

"Looking for a job is hard. I looked for two years. You need to make sure you have a good job developer to help you. During my search, I had three different companies to help me search. The first two companies did not work out. Finally, I got a developer who looked for jobs for me as an individual. She looked for jobs that she thought I would be interested in. Never give up looking for a job and make sure you have the right partner helping you!"

Matthew at Work!

Position and Wage

As a utility worker at Sodexo, Matthew receives a competitive wage that is above minimum wage. Matthew has worked 35 hours per week at Sodexo for three years as of July 2016. Matthew most enjoys working in the kitchen at Sodexo and is responsible for ensuring the cleanliness and delivery to the kitchen of dishes, and pots and pans. Matthew also ensures that the trash is monitored and placed into the trash compactor.

Acquiring Skills

"I knew I might like this job" relayed Matthew "because I like working in the kitchen and cooking at home. I like preparing food to help with the family dinner. At home, one of my jobs is to help with the dishwasher and putting away pots." "My only prior experience working in a kitchen was at a Boy Scouts summer camp. During the summer of 2009, I cooked breakfast for the Cub Scouts. At dinner, I served food in the cafeteria to the Cub Scouts."

Employment Application and Interviewing

Matthew received a "lead" that this job was available from his job developer, and then completed a paper application at a Sodexo job fair. "It was at the Marriott Hotel in El Segundo, California." After his job developer assisted him in completing the application, Matthew interviewed the same day. Having practiced a mock interview at a hardware store previously with his job developer, Matthew did not find he needed to participate in a mock interview for this position.

Soft Skills

When asked about soft skills that employers say are necessary for success, Matthew responded: "Yes, I have soft skills. I had learned them from both my parents and my Grandma. They taught me to be helpful and courteous. I also learned the motto — "Do a Good Turn Daily" — from the Boy Scouts. That means always be helpful and courteous. I think my greatest soft skill is being a team player."

Getting to Work

Matthew understands the importance of arriving to work on time. Matthew takes both the "Metro" bus and the "Green Line" train to work five days per week.

Doing the Job / Supports and Services

Matthew has a job coach who "has helped me for two years. At the beginning, she came daily. Then, after some time, I got more experience with my job skills and she only came once a week."

Challenges

When Matthew recognized he needed assistance with a challenge, he reached out for help to be successful. "At first I had a hard time putting muscle into scrubbing the pots and pans. My job coach helped me with my challenges during my start of my job."

Long-Term Goals

Matthew has long-term goals and is taking specific steps to reach those goals. "I am interested in working as a cook in the kitchen. I would like to start by doing 'food prep.' I used to do 'food prep' for the juice bar before they changed that area to salad bar. I would also like to work at the coffee bar. My long-term goal is to learn about many different positions in the kitchen. I am taking classes at West Los Angeles College in Hospitality. I plan to earn a certificate in Event Planning. I may also take some cooking classes so I can have some formal training in food preparation."

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Larissa Hunter

Larissa      Hunter

Santa Cruz Beach and BoardwalkSweeper

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Larissa Hunter's Story

Larissa Hunter

Larissa's Message for Others

"My advice to others looking for a job is you got to have responsibility; you got to be strong and independent; and you always have to be on time. It's probably hard for people still looking for a job, but they should apply to the Boardwalk because they need people and it's really fun and exciting to work there."

"You have fun, and you even get to laugh! You can't goof off because you would get in trouble, but you can have a good time working anyways. Fill out an application for the Boardwalk!"

Larissa at Work!

Position and Wage

As a sweeper at the Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk, an amusement park located in Santa Cruz, California, Larissa relayed she is currently employed 14 hours a week — with even more hours to look forward to when the Boardwalk opens full-time this summer. For the past month since Larissa began her employment making a competitive wage, she has made her rounds of the Boardwalk — ensuring the comfort of guests by removing debris, cleaning tables, and assisting guests with directions around the Boardwalk. Larissa added: "It's been fun to work with my co-workers and we always have a good time."

Employment Application and Interviewing

Larissa knew she would like this job because the "Boardwalk is my favorite place!" She independently located the position while searching for job openings on the Boardwalk's website, then completed a paper application. Further preparation included working with her Tailored Day Services (TDS) job coach to draft her resume and practice her interviewing skills. Larissa then interviewed with the hiring manager and was accepted for the position. Larissa relayed that she gained experience through her work at the Blue and Gold Mobile Home Park and Rite Aid, as well as through her "volunteer positions at my sister's elementary school and the library."

Soft Skills

Employers often say that soft skills are important to a successful work experience. Larissa reported that she has "a lot of soft skills." "I am always learning new soft skills with my TDS staff. My greatest soft skill is my ability to always be a team player."

Getting to Work

Understanding that arriving to work on time is important, Larissa receives assistance in getting to work from her family and her TDS job coach.

Doing the Job/Supports and Services

On-the-job support is provided to Larissa by her TDS job coach.

Challenges

Challenges can sometimes occur at work. To address the challenges Larissa experiences with guests who are sometimes noncompliant with the rules of the Boardwalk, Larissa reaches out to her supervisor and her TDS job coach for assistance.

Long-Term Goals

Preparation and planning are often necessary to achieve long-term goals. Larissa plans to attend college to prepare — "My long term goal for my life is to work with law enforcement, because it would be fun for me and I've never worked there before. My long term goal for working at the Boardwalk is to become a leader for other co-workers."

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Merrrell Chapman

Merrell      Chapman

California State CapitolLegislative Assistant Intern

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Merrrell Chapman's Story

Merrrell Chapman

Merrell's Message for Others

"Advocate for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be willing to try out a good job. Even though it might be a challenging job that you don't like at first, you might actually like it later. Don't give up. Get as many resources as you can. There may be bumps and bruises along the way, but try to always be responsible and respectful as you can. Because the impression you make on someone doesn't just impact you — it can impact others after you. Everybody should have a chance — because the opportunities are limited — we don't want to let the next person not have a chance to work there because of an impression someone else made. We want them all to have good jobs!"

Merrell at Work!

Position and Wage

Merrell works as a legislative assistant intern at the California State Capitol, located in Sacramento. Merrell assists the office with mail, shreds documents, organizes the newspapers, and delivers important letters to other offices in the Capitol. Merrell has worked at the Capitol since May 2013, and relayed what he likes most about the environment is "the people in the office are friendly and helpful." Not only does Merrell work at the Legislature every Friday for five hours, he also works as a temporary custodian at Sacramento City College four days a week, and as a dishwasher at Round Table restaurant two days per week washing dishes — which on buffet night — is for over 150 people in the restaurant! Merrell earns a competitive wage at each of these three positions.

Acquiring Skills

Merrell had previous work experience. At a summer job at a middle school, Merrell was a student assistant who helped children with disabilities. Merrell completed a typing class in college. He participated in multiple preparation programs — some of which were stepping stones that led to opportunities for advancement, including the Sacramento City Unified School District Internship Program. All these opportunities helped Merrell to acquire skills he uses on his jobs.

Employment Application and Interviewing

Merrell learned about the legislative assistant intern job opening at the Legislature from an Internship Program instructor. For this position, Merrell completed a paper application with some technical assistance from the supervisors. Merrell had previously practiced "mock" interviewing during his Internship Program and other employment preparation programs. Previous interviewing opportunities that resulted in his being hired were also beneficial to honing this skill, including his summer jobs.

Soft Skills

Merrell described his greatest "soft skill" as being an outgoing person. "I am also courteous, a good communicator, and dependable." "I have a lot of motivation." "I am willing to overcome obstacles." Merrell understands that these attributes are important to achieving success.

Getting to Work

Merrell ensures he has reliable transportation to and from all three of his jobs. Merrell utilizes two different transportation methods — the bus and the train — to arrive at work on time.

Doing the Job / Supports and Services

Merrell does his job independently. If Merrell has a question about his job, "I work with my coworkers and my supervisors, who are very helpful."

Challenges

If Merrell experiences a challenge at work, he addresses this challenge by talking to his supervisor or other coworkers "to get a better understanding of it." Merrell reaches out for clarification.

Long-Term Goals

Merrell's long-term career goal is to be "successful". "I want a full-time job as a custodian. I already work as a temporary custodian at Sacramento City College. But, a requirement for a permanent position there is to have a driver's license. I do not have my license. So, I recently began getting services at the Department of Rehabilitation to help me with my goal."

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Celestine Glover

Celestine      Glover

Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk Guest Services Sweeper

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Celestine Glover's Story

Celestine Glover

Celestine's Message for Others

"Put your mind to something big and you're going to reach it. Never be afraid to go into a business and ask if they're hiring."

Celestine at Work!

Position and Wage

Celestine works as a guest services sweeper at the Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk — "I sweep and help guests with any questions. I always keep an eye out for suspicious activity to keep the park safe for everyone." Celestine earns a competitive wage and has worked at the Boardwalk since February 2016. Working anywhere from eight hours per week to more hours as needed during the summer months when the park is open additional days, Celestine relayed: "I like working at the Beach Boardwalk because it's a different atmosphere than my other jobs. I like how my job always keeps me working. There is never a time when I have to ask — What do I have to do next? I knew it was going to be different than working at my old job in food service. I also love going to the Boardwalk and thought I would enjoy working there."

Employment Preparation, Applying, and Interviewing

Celestine learned of the job opportunity at the Boardwalk from an independent living service staff person and Celestine, with the assistance of staff, submitted an application and resume. Preparation for the interview included participating in interview role playing — even using sample interview questions relating to the job — learning how to dress professionally, and attending multiple orientations to become familiar with the job. In addition, Celestine provided: "My other jobs helped me prepare for the job I have now. The postsecondary program at Cabrillo College also helped me be ready for the job. I held various jobs while I was attending the postsecondary program at Cabrillo College and was also taught job skills there."

Soft Skills

Celestine learned from the independent living service — and already possessed — soft skills, with Celestine's greatest soft skill as being a team player!

Getting to Work

Reliable transportation to and from work is provided by the local public transportation system.

Doing the Job / Supports and Services

Celestine relayed: "For the first day, I had an experienced employee team up with me to teach me my job. I also have a job coach who watches me work for about two-to-three hours every day that I work."

Challenges

Sometimes people have challenges at work and may need assistance. Celestine experiences "anxiety when parents come up to me saying they lost their child. I begin to worry about the kid and forget to calmly call it in to the supervisor." Celestine's supervisor and independent living service helps with challenges.

Long-Term Goals

Celestine would like to become a ride operator at the Boardwalk. Also, "I would love to be an American Sign Language interpreter." If needed, Celestine will take training classes or college classes help reach these long-term goals.

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Candice Calone

Candice      Calone

Sprouts Family MarketCourtesy Clerk Associate

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Candice Calone's Story

Candice Calone

Candice's Message for Others -

"I knew I wanted to be productive by working and going to college, but I was not sure who would hire me because of my disability. I would encourage everyone to discover what you enjoy doing and pursue it!"

Position and Wage

Candice began working as a Courtesy Clerk Associate at her neighborhood Sprouts Family Market in September 2015. Candice's duties include bagging groceries, returning items to shelves, sweeping the store's aisles, retrieving shopping carts, and more. Candice earns a competitive wage and works between 16 to 20 hours per week. Candice relayed: "I love the people who work at Sprouts and all of my customers. They are very friendly and make me feel part of the team -- the Sprouts family," when asked what she likes most about her job.

Employment Application and Interviewing

Candice's vocational specialist sought out employers matching Candice's abilities. Candice and her vocational specialist learned of the job opening by visiting several of the nearby Sprout's stores to ask if any open positions were available. Candice is highly appreciative of the assistance she received from her vocational specialist in the application and resume processes, as well as in mock interviewing, interview scheduling, and narrowing "employment choices based on desires and strengths." By writing out and reading -- and re-reading -- answers to questions that might be asked during her interview, Candice prepared for her interview.

Soft Skills

Candice described herself as someone who was already in possession of soft skills -- she is a very friendly person who is "on time, dependable, and a team player" with a "great smile." Candice relayed her manager told her he was very impressed by her smile. Candice is also a "flexible" person who is "nice to people" – "I like people!"

Getting to Work

Reliable transportation to and from work is provided by the Orange County Transportation Authority and Candice's family member. Candice prepared herself to have reliable transportation to work by taking part in mobility training at college where she learned how to ride the bus to many different places.

Doing the Job/Supports and Services

Candice receives the support she needs at work from her job coach and her coworkers. Her vocational specialist also follows up with her to ensure Candice understands her responsibilities.

Challenges

Candice relayed: "I have a job coach, but when the coach isn't there, if I need help, the other coworkers help me out. One of the hardest things was learning where everything was in the store. My job coach helped a lot with that." When Candice has a challenge, she asks for assistance.

Long-Term Goals

Candice enjoys helping people and her teacher agrees she is very adept at helping people. However, a culinary arts class taken over the summer exposed Candice to a new possibility – she discovered she would also like to "go into the culinary field." Candice is currently enrolled at a community college and enjoys what she is learning.

Acquiring Skills

Candice knew she wanted to work in a food store. She had observed courtesy clerks working and believed she would be able to do the job. Previous participation in five different types of interesting volunteer experiences helped her to prepare.

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John Riva

John      Riva

Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill Maintenance Worker

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John Riva's Story

John Riva

John's Message for Others

"One thing I recommend ... I'm being honest and clear. If you are ready to get a regular job, talk to your service coordinator or worker to get the help you need. When I first started at Tres Hombres, I was nervous and did not know what I was going to be doing. I would be happy to help people out to not be afraid about getting a job."

John at Work at Tres Hombres!

Position and Wage

John works for Tres Hombres Long Bar & Grill in Chico, California as a maintenance worker. Tres Hombres is a lunch and dinner restaurant housed in the oldest existing structure in downtown Chico, completed in 1861 by Chico's founder, John Bidwell. Bidwell made the first major overland trek to California by wagon train and became an American pioneer and agriculturist instrumental in the settlement of California. The restaurant houses a "Long Bar" that was transported from the Red Garter Saloon in Virginia City, Nevada.

In this historical setting, working three hours per day, six days per week, John ensures the restaurant is clean, performs maintenance, and makes deliveries. John earns a competitive wage and has worked, as of April 1, 2016, for sixteen years at Tres Hombres. John relayed he enjoys working at the restaurant because he "can get things done."

Acquiring Skills

John worked on a lawn crew and in a wood shop — both through a work rehabilitation training center. John made the decision to "get a regular job." His experience includes work at a laundromat, and at Red Lobster. John also washed dishes at the Dogtown Inn, another historical site, during his high school years.

Employment Application and Interviewing

John wanted to make sure that he would like the job at Tres Hombres. "I went and checked it out first. I went to the restaurant to see if I would like it. I asked the bar manager if there was an opening. Then I applied. I gave them my name and phone number." John received job coaching and support over the years that helped to prepare him. He did not interview for this job but had "practiced what to say over and over again." "I used to do them myself at home and it was what I learned over the years." John learned of the job — and was hired for the job — without assistance. "I talked to my worker about this. He said I looked like I was in shock. I got a regular job on my own! I asked him if he knew anyone else who did this without help!" John relayed: "I know how to get help if I need it, but I did it myself." John was proactive, prepared, and determined in reaching his goal.

Soft Skills

John described himself as someone who "always gets to work early." "I come to work every day." John is reliable, with a long employment tenure — "I have worked at my job 16 years."

Getting to Work

To ensure that he arrives at work on time, John will walk to work, or ride the bus. He also has a driver's license if needed.

Doing the Job / Supports and Services

John works independently at Tres Hombres. In the past when he worked at the Red Lobster, John worked with a job coach — "I am on my own at Tres Hombres."

Challenges

To resolve a challenge he may experience at work, John reaches out to the owner of the restaurant to address the challenge.

Long-Term Goals

"I would like to retire," John relayed, with his long-term goal as going on "vacation and doing my own thing." Yet, John is also considering taking classes to improve his reading skills, and may pursue classes to become a massage therapist.

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Nicole Lambert

Nicole      Lambert

Mohnacky Animal HospitalVet. Asst., Tech. Asst., Kennel Asst.

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Nicole Lambert's Story

Nicole Lambert

Nicole's Message for Others -

"Never give up. Have a good support system. Keep applying at places. I worked as a foal watcher for a year but it was very seasonal. I got the job at Shadalane Kennels with my vocational specialist's assistance while still working as a foal watcher at San Luis Rey Equine. I continued to apply with vet hospitals and continued to work on my interview skills. My vocational specialist gave me weekly assignments to keep me confident and ready with interviews!"

Position and Wage

At Mohnacky Animal Hospital, Nicole provides animal care services in three functions – as Veterinarian Assistant, Technician Assistant, and Kennel Assistant. Nicole feeds and walks the animals at the hospital. Nicole prepares the animals for surgeries, and after surgeries Nicole cares for and monitors their recovery, including those who are in critical condition. When the animals are ready to go home, Nicole brings them to their waiting owners for their reunion.

Nicole has worked at her job for eight months, as of February 2016. Receiving a competitive wage higher than minimum wage, Nicole works 40 hours per week, and sometimes more. Prior to this position, Nicole was employed at Shadalane Kennels.

When asked what Nicole likes most about her job, she responded – "I get paid to do what I am passionate about!" Nicole likes animals and people, so she knew she would enjoy this position and trusts the facility: "I also bring my own dog to this place and I love their service." Nicole learned of this job by signing up on the company's "job site". Nicole's mother learned of the vacant position during a "job search" and advised Nicole of the opening.

Acquiring Skills

Nicole attended MiraCosta College's veterinary assistance program, which was an important step to prepare for this position. Shadalane Kennels and San Luis Rey Equine Hospital – both facilities serving animals – provided Nicole on-the-job experience. Nicole relayed: "I worked my way up to a veterinary clinic." The employment services agency from which Nicole receives services was also instrumental in assisting Nicole.

Employment Application and Interviewing

Nicole completed an on-line application with her family's help. Nicole referenced and utilized notes that she had taken during consultations with her vocational specialist during the application process. Having participated in "mock" interviews at school and with her vocational specialist, Nicole then participated in the formal interview process for the position and was hired.

Soft Skills

Employers say being friendly, courteous, dependable, and punctual are some of many soft skills that are important to a successful job experience. Recognizing that there were certain soft skills she wanted to improve, Nicole sought out the help of her vocational specialist. Nicole improved her communication skills – speaking up and making eye contact – and now describes her greatest soft skills as "interviewing and speaking up!"

Getting to Work

Understanding reliable transportation is important to success, Nicole drives herself to and from work. She purchased her new car after four months of work.

Doing the Job/Supports and Services

Sometimes an experienced employee or a job coach provide assistance when needed. Nicole does not receive additional support and relayed: "We all work together!"

Challenges

Nicole reaches out for assistance when needed – "Sometimes I don't understand a client's request or question." When this occurs, Nicole's coworkers help her overcome challenges.

Long-Term Goals

Nicole's goal is to be a "vet tech." To achieve her goal, Nicole plans to return to college and then "work for years in the veterinary field".

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Karla Yeung

Karla      Yeung

Bi-RITEPacker

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Karla Yeung's Story

Karla Yeung

Karla's Message for Others -

"Ask for help if you need it and do everything step-by-step!"

Position and Wage

Karla works as a "packer" at BiRITE Market located on Divisardero Street in San Francisco, California.

Karla packs dried goods and produce, and labels and "prices" food items nine hours per week at BiRITE. She receives a competitive wage higher than minimum wage and has worked at her job for two years as of January 2016. Karla enjoys meeting people and making friends– "Everyone I work with is nice!" – she said when asked what she enjoys most about her job.

Acquiring Skills

Karla was seeking employment. The employment agency's staff with whom she was working advised her of this job. Karla first participated in a trial shift to determine if she would like this job. Previous volunteer experience at the employment agency and at a food bank helped her prepare and solidify her skills.

Employment Application and Interviewing

With the help of the employment agency's staff, Karla completed a paper job application and submitted her resume. She practiced interviewing techniques with the employment agency's staff, and after the trial shift at BiRITE, was hired. Karla took the necessary steps to be prepared.

Soft Skills

When asked about her "soft skills" that are necessary for success on the job, Karla described herself as a "friendly and thoughtful" person who likes people!

Getting to Work

Reliable transportation to and from work is important to being successful, so Karla takes the "Muni," a San Francisco Municipal Transportation bus to work, as well as a streetcar!

Challenges

Karla, if she needs help on the job, will reach out and ask for assistance from her job coach. Challenges can happen at work. When Karla has a challenge, such as learning the names of people on her first day at work, she reached out to her job coach for assistance. Karla asked for and received help to overcome a challenge.

Long-Term Goals

Karla's long-term goal is to work more hours, as well as to work at BiRITE's Creamery ice cream scoop shop within the BiRITE grocery store.

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Last Updated: 11/8/2016