by Jessica Patton
Senior Employment Consultant, Best Buddies Jobs
His smile was huge after he stepped off the elevator at Team One’s Corporate Offices in El Segundo. Byron Cole had just finished an interview with Amy Mackinnon, Director of Office Services at Team One, an advertising firm with big name clients such as Lexus and American-Express.
Team One was interviewing for an Office Services Coordinator, a position that requires maintaining more than half a dozen kitchens on three levels. This position became a necessity when Team One “went green” and started using sustainable materials. “This is an important role within the company, and Best Buddies Jobs was excited that Team One felt this position could be carried out by someone with a developmental disability,” Rachel Spooner, Program Supervisor of Best Buddies Jobs, explained.
We knew Byron would be a great worker and would bring valuable skills to Team One. He had proven his dedication as an intern at South Bay Project SEARCH, a rigorous work training program that is a collaboration between Harbor Regional Center, Los Angeles Unified School District, and Best Buddies Jobs. He learned a myriad of new skills, but what impressed everyone most was his work ethic and his initiative. These are things that we can’t teach – they came from inside of Byron.
As with any interview, Byron wasn’t sure what the outcome would be but he felt good about the experience. “Looking for a job is hard, but my coaches made me feel like if I did what was expected of me then I would definitely get a job,” Byron said. Because he was prepared, he was able to relax and let his personality shine. “He handled himself very well and was excited about the position. He was the best fit for Team One,” Amy explained after the interview.
Just two days after interviewing with Team One, Byron was offered the job, which comes with a comprehensive benefits package and tons of other perks. “It is extremely rewarding to give an opportunity to someone who wouldn’t otherwise have that chance,” Amy said.
Byron explains what it’s like working for Team One: “Working here is great. They make me feel like I’ve been working there for years. We are a family at Team One. They have special events and they treat their employees really well. It’s the perfect job for me.” Since joining Team One, Byron has taken part in employee yoga classes, lectures, and has volunteered to work with at risk youth as part of Team One’s Do Good Fridays.
Amy sums up the experience from the employer’s perspective: “The best part of having Byron at Team One is that he brings an energy and enthusiasm to work and he does an amazing job. He cares deeply about his performance and productivity. He’s working very independently and he’s doing a better job in this position than we could have imagined, disability or not.”
To learn more about Project SEARCH and other employment preparation opportunities, talk to your HRC Counselor.