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“Whatever you do, make sure you show up on time.” That’s Diego’s best piece of advice for friends going through the DiscoverAbility program, which helped him secure a job at Ready Pac, a fresh food product company in Irwindale, CA. After working in the AbilityFirst Pasadena Work Center for two years, Diego joined the DiscoverAbility program in fall of 2016. This process was perfect for a participant like Diego, who needed a step between high school and working in the community. He met with an AbilityFirst case manager, Amanda, to discuss what kind of work he was interested in and explore the openings available in his area.

After meeting with Diego, Amanda helped coordinate an internship for him which began in April 2017 at ReadyPac. Diego shared that he was “really nervous and scared to start a new job and start something new”, but his job coach, Yadira, knew he could succeed and helped him work through his fears. When Diego first started his internship at Ready Pac, she was with him every step of the way, providing him moral support and assistance during the transition. The internship was a resounding success and, in June of 2017, ReadyPac offered Diego a permanent Team Member position.

When interviewed, Diego gushes, “I love my new job!” and it’s clear he means it. He has taken to the work naturally and loves to sweep. He’s excited that his hours (2:30PM-12:30AM) allow him to stay up late and he’s proud he’s become a worker that his boss can rely on. It’s not just the hours or responsibilities that Diego appreciates, though. He shares that his job has helped him build up more confidence and given him new opportunities to make friends.

Another aspect of the job Diego doesn’t mind? The paychecks. With his first paycheck, he bought an Apple Watch. “It felt good to buy my own,” he says, “…and I bought my own Xbox One.” Each payday, Diego brings his paycheck home and accompanies his mother to the bank, where they deposit it. And just like everyone else, he’s learning that “it goes quickly!”

Less than a year after joining the DiscoverAbility program, Diego’s been extremely successful. ReadyPac has gained a valuable assetan employee who cares about his coworkers and the quality of his workand Diego’s gained a job he genuinely enjoys going to. Sounds like a job match made in heaven.

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