PURSUING HIS DREAM JOB
Ever since he was a little kid, Josue loved working on cars. Luckily, he had an uncle who shared his interest in automotive repair. Many times, Josue helped his uncle repair cars, but thought he was just being a helper. Once, when Josue was about six or seven years old, he visited an automobile dealership with his uncle and was fascinated as he watched the technicians work on cars. It was then that he decided he wanted to be an automobile technician.
While in high school, Josue attended a shop program. Although he was born with a learning disability, Josue’s shop class teacher noticed how good he was at reading blueprints and building things. The teacher advised Josue to look into working with a construction company. However, Josue’s heart was still in auto mechanics. Despite his struggle with school, Josue managed to obtain his high school diploma and attend Lorain County Joint Vocational School in Ohio for automotive technicians. Unfortunately, because of personal reasons, Josue was unable to complete the program and began working in the food industry. Although Josue had this setback, he never forgot his true passion.
Josue relocated to Brevard County, FL and got married. He had difficulty finding employment in this new location. His wife helped him by searching online for jobs and found information on Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). It was here that Josue began his journey back to his passion. Florida Vocational Rehabilitation (FLVR) assisted Josue in obtaining suitable employment. He began working at Walmart as a Lot Attendant Associate and proved himself an exceptional employee. While this helped Josue get back to work and successfully complete the VR program, this job was not his passion.
After case closure, FLVR then reached out to Josue to offer free ongoing employment support services through Social Security’s Ticket to Work (TTW) program. Florida VR and American Dream Employment Network (ADEN) worked together under an agreement called Partnership Plus, which allows SSA beneficiaries to have ongoing employment supports through the Ticket to Work program. These services can include job placement, SSA work incentive advisement, career counseling and ongoing supports for a number of years, even after starting work.
Josue still wanted to become a full-time automotive technician so VR referred Josue to ADEN in February of 2017. Through ADEN, Josue was introduced to employU, an ADEN Member, to support his continued work goals. Josue assigned his Ticket to Work to ADEN/employU and then they worked together to move in the direction of his dream to become an automotive technician. Josue and employU spoke with Walmart’s HR manager, Kathy, about being transferred to their automotive department where tires were sold and installed. They approached Rosemary, the manager of this department and Josue’s transfer was approved! Josue immediately began earning enough so that he performed over substantial gainful activity.
Once Josue gained some experience, he decided he wanted to learn more than just tire services so he, with the help of employU, applied at several auto service and tire stores. employU and Josue worked together to create his resume and practice interviewing skills. On September 29, 2017, Josue began a full-time General Service Technician position at Pep Boys in Titusville, FL. One of the goals of the Ticket to Work program is to assist SSA disability beneficiaries in reducing reliance on disability benefits. Josue had been relying on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and, because of his new work; Josue began earning enough so that he no longer needed to rely on this cash benefit. Josue fulfilled his goal of becoming self-sufficient, which is also the goal of the Ticket to Work program.
At Pep Boys, Josue performs tire services, oil changes and began training in maintenance services. The General Service Manager, Dave, continues to be supportive of Josue as he completes his training process. employU continues to work closely with Dave and Josue to ensure that Josue is learning and performing his job to the company’s expectations. Josue, Pep Boys and employU also continue to work together to ensure Josue’s stability and success, as well as providing guidance to him on how to reach the next step in his career as an automobile technician.
Josue’s dream came true because of his passion and unrelenting desire not to give up. The support of FLVR, Partnership Plus and Social Security’s Ticket to Work program, American Dream Employment Network and employU staff provided much needed support in guiding Josue on his journey. Josue followed his dream and continues to have a promising future as an automotive technician.
Congratulations to Josue for pursuing his career choice and moving towards self-sufficiency, which is the goal of the Ticket to Work program! ADEN acknowledges the partnership of Florida VR and the shared vision to provide long-term employment supports. Josue’s story is a perfect example of how State VR and an ADEN can support a Ticket holder by creating an effective service delivery model together. To learn about the eight state VR agencies who have a formal relationship with ADEN go to https://americandreamen.org/employment-service-providers/state-vocational-rehabilitation-partnerships. All state VR agencies where ADEN Members are located are invited to contact ADEN to discuss a partnership.
The American Dream Employment Network is available to support other individuals, like Josue, receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. For more information on how you can assign your Ticket to Work to the American Dream Employment Network, please contact ADEN at info@AmericanDreamEN.org or call 844-687-2336. Employment service providers across the country are invited to discuss the possibility of becoming an Employment Network under the American Dream Employment Network. For more information visit www.AmericanDreamEN.org.