7 Amazing Young People with Disabilities That Beat the Odds and Got the Job
Looking for a job can be a difficult and arduous task at the best of times. For those with a disability, finding a job can be even more difficult because of the physical and intellectual challenges they face. However, with some perseverance and determination it is possible for anyone to find a rewarding and fulfilling job.
To help you find some inspiration, here are 7 amazing success stories of people with disabilities who beat the odds and got a job!
Cheryl Ollis — Instructor
Cheryl was born deaf at birth and had to have surgery at the age of five to obtain some hearing. Later in life she was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease. He employer at the time fired Cheryl because of her degenerating eye sight. She was devastated and wasn’t sure if she could ever work again.
A few years later, Cheryl only had 10% of her eyesight remaining. With the help of an employment agency, she decided to obtain some training to help her make the most of the eyesight and hearing that remained.
Cheryl decided that her dream job involved helping others. She decided to obtain more training and become an instructor for other disabled people, teaching them valuable life skills. She now works every day, sharing her experiences and knowledge.
Francesca — Teacher’s Aid
Francesca had a goal of finding a job that helped children. Unfortunately, her intellectual disability and hearing problems prevented her from obtaining work very easily. Inspired by another relative with a disability, she didn’t give up and enrolled in training to improve her cognitive skills. Eventually she found an unpaid internship as a teacher’s aid, which allowed her to help teach young children. The internship led to a job and she is now working part-time. She had many ups and downs before she obtained the position including bad job interviews, people suggesting she couldn’t perform her dream job and difficulties learning new things. Her story shows that dedication and hard work help people achieve their goals.
Jeanne — Office Administrator
Jeanne was always a fan of Broadway musicals and her dream job involved working in the arts. Having Down Syndrome, she found it difficult to express herself well and she thought that her communication skills might prevent her obtaining a job.
She decided to undertake some training and worked on obtaining skills that might help her find a job which was related to the theatre. Eventually her hard work and dedication paid off with an internship at the Tennessee Performing Arts Centre (TPAC). Jeanne excelled so much in the position that she was eventually hired!
Phil — Environmental Consultant
In 1999, Phil became paralysed from the chest down after he accidentally fell from a ladder. Despite the extent of his injuries, he was keen to get back to work as soon as possible. Initially Phil suffered a number of setbacks and couldn’t find a position locally. He decided to obtain more training in the environmental field.
A government agency called the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) also gave Phil a wheelchair, laptop and camera to help him get started. He began a consulting company and 11 years later he is successfully working and designing ADA hiking trails for people with disabilities.
Alexa — Customer Service
Alexa’s dream job was something that involved customer service because she loved meeting new people and having conversations. However, having Down Syndrome made it more difficult to perform certain tasks in the workplace. A local employment organisation identified a role where Alexa could excel — an order taker at Starbucks. She could chat with customers and take their coffee order. The fast-paced environment at a Starbucks is challenging, but Alexa’s dedication to the role has seen her flourish.
Alexa loved the job so much that she eventually took on a second job at an Applebee’s as a customer greeter. Her work ethic, dedication and attention to detail has seen her flourish at two jobs!
Aaron — Food Service Industry
Aaron was always a team player, with a love of sports and woking with other people. He considered Down Syndrome a minor hurdle to obtaining employment and refused to give up after some setbacks. Thanks to the help of a government program, he was able to improve his communication skill and learn more about doing well in a workplace environment.
Eventually he began a work experience program for a local pizza shop and had a number of responsibilities — cleaning tables, greeting customers, clearing plates and helping run the dishwasher. It was a massive challenge but thanks to hard work and perseverance he was able to learn all of the necessary skills. He now works there 3 days a week in a paid position and is a valuable member of staff. He is using the money he earns to save for his birthday celebration.
Holly — Catering Industry
Holly entered the work force at a very young age, but in a very basic and repetitive role which was only three hours per week. Holly knew that she had more potential so decided to apply for more challenging roles. After a number of failed job interviews, she managed to land a job working for a catering company that cooks food for an IT company. The environment is fast-paced and high pressure at times but she loves it. Her experience demonstrates that even if you are knocked back for a job many times, eventually you will succeed.