Job interviews can be intimidating even for talkative people. For someone who is very quiet, like Gonzalo, they present an even bigger challenge. Gonzalo may not have had a whole lot to say when he first began job training with PossAbility, but after several months working on his communication skills, he has gained a new sense of confidence.
Gonzalo started with PossAbility’s Los Angeles program in September of 2019, 10 years after coming to AbilityFirst. With a community-oriented focus, the goal has been to help Gonzalo become comfortable with interpersonal dealings and hands-on experience. Part of his training included job preparation, which eventually helped Gonzalo secure an interview with Food 4 Less. However, not one to speak up, he was preparing to go to the interview on the scheduled morning, when staff discovered Gonzalo’s father had passed away the night before. They reached out to let Gonzalo know that under such circumstances he was not expected to keep the engagement and could stay home, but he chose to keep his commitment.
Gonzalo’s job coach saw that he had the determination needed, but that his social skills could be improved. He just needed more experience. Together, they began role playing to help Gonzalo become accustomed to interacting with his coach, and subsequently with prospective employers. With practice, he did become more comfortable with the interview process and he learned about the expectations that an employer might have. He even gained the confidence to follow up with the manager from Food 4 Less and was invited to tour the facility.
The process of working with the job coach as well as his case manager, job developer and community coach helped Gonzalo improve several areas of his life. He has become proficient in searching for jobs and has learned to use public transportation to and from home to program. His health has also benefited, as he realized that his weight effects his blood pressure, so he has been working on losing some pounds. Training with his PossAbility team has helped develop his confidence, communication skills and has brought him a new degree of independence.
Since enrolling in PossAbility, Gonzalo volunteers five days a week. Volunteering helps him learn new skills, make new friends, and even feel happier. Today, he is focus in improving his job prospects and actively searching for employment, as he continues to volunteer.