(Dis)abilities + Work + Beaverton = No Problem! Do you remember your first job?

By Dirkse CC Team

Do you remember your first job, how scared you were, how nervous it made you to put yourself out there and talk about yourself? Imagine interviewing when you experience a disability that affects your ability to process questions and communicate quickly and effectively; job interviews would certainly be a nightmare! This was the challenge that 22-year-old Chelsea Cumez-Chali of Beaverton faced when job hunting.

Chelsea graduated from Beaverton High School in 2015 and attended The Beaverton School District’s Community Transition Program who worked collaboratively with State Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Eric Stone and Sr. Employment Specialist Glenn Bishop of Dirkse CC. As a friendly, reliable and motivated individual, Chelsea and her team determined she would like to work with the public using her bi-lingual and organizational skills. Mr. Bishop helped connect Chelsea to the local Fred Meyer store in Raleigh Hills where Assistant Manager Sharon Person already had the mindset of inclusive hiring practices. After an informal interview supported by Mr. Bishop, Chelsea was hired as a Courtesy Clerk.

Ms. Person previously had the opportunity to attend the Amplify Success event in October of 2017 that inspired her to see the ability in people first and to recognize the value of each person. Her attitude matches the Fred Meyer philosophy of inclusive work culture that values and appreciates individual differences and provides equal opportunity to all; reflecting their customers and community.  Sharon stated “attending Amplify Success brought awareness of how I could help out and I felt more comfortable having resources.” “It is important to engage with people, to get to know them and what their abilities are.”

As a result, Ms. Person also hired Bailen Loop, a 22-year-old kind, helpful and motivated young man who likewise required assistance finding his first job due to his disability. He followed the same route as Chelsea for job development and was hired as a Courtesy Clerk for the store as well. Both have the attitude and ability to do the job and both embody the Fred Meyer customer service motto. Bailen said “I work with friendly and helpful people…. I enjoy taking care of customers”.  Chelsea shared, “I am meeting new people… I get to interact with people all day.”

Both Chelsea and Bailen enjoy some of the same benefits you and I enjoyed as we experienced our first jobs; earning a paycheck, helping our families and working as part of a team. But without someone like Ms. Person at Fred Meyer to see their ability and the value they bring, they may not have the same opportunities as you and I.

For more information on inclusive hiring contact Cindy Bahl, Dirkse Counseling & Consulting, Inc. & Amplify Success Rock Stars Event Coordinator (503) 258-7715 info @ amplifysuccess.org.