Rafael had the ability to work and a natural interest in connecting with others. However, he didn’t quite know how to start the process of getting a job, and he would get extremely anxious anytime he needed to ask questions. After just a few months with AbilityFirst and job preparation training with the Supported Employment program, he is now employed at Smart & Final in Pasadena.
Before Rafael could begin applying to jobs, he needed to get comfortable with the application process. Through the AbilityFirst Supported Employment program, he received guidance in building a resume and filling out applications, as well as in valuable life skills like time management. Since Rafael enjoys being around people, his job developer Jessica helped him look for job openings that involve interacting with the public. He also worked on tools to increase his prospects, like studying math so that he would be able to use a cash register.
Next came the most challenging part of applying for a job, the interview process. When it was time to ask questions, Rafael would get very nervous, so he practiced mock interviews to prepare himself for the real interviews he would be facing. Practice involved checking off a list to be sure Rafael was properly groomed and ready. Appropriate outfit? Check! Resume in hand? Check! Good hygiene and eye contact? Check!
As he practiced interviewing with different people, Rafael became more and more comfortable. Through the job development process he increased his talents, learned how to interact well with others and gained confidence.
Rafael has now settled in at Smart & Final and is happy to be a contributing member of his community. He’s enjoying earning his own money and making new friends, and the sense of independence that these financial and social accomplishments have given him. He’s proud to be able to say, “I did this on my own!”