SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- For sixteen years, Michael Robledo has worked for Goodwill Southern California in San Bernardino. He started out as a janitor and is now a sales associate.
"It gives me a chance to, like, talk to people ... see what they want to find," he said. "If they need some help, I am there to help them."
Robledo has an intellectual disability, but through Goodwill's disability services, he was able to learn how to put his abilities to use from operating heavy machinery to interacting with customers.
"It's been fun [and] exciting knowing a couple of different and new people," he said.
As we continue honoring National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which looks to showcase the contributions of employees in the workplace and community.
Through Goodwill programs, participants gain entry-level experience with on-the-job training.
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"Initially, we bring them on to our base program, we asses them to see if they are ready for next part of the program, which is supported, employment program," said Fetineiai Tafeaga with Goodwill Program Manager Disability Services.
In Robledo's case, he worked with a job coach who helped him navigate his environment and day.
"I am not there with him 24/7, but I check on him throughout the day to make sure things are getting done the way they are supposed to be," said job coach Frances Flores.
Flores has working with Robledo for years, helping him understand the workflow while being an advocate when he needs one.
"They motivate me to do the job correctly," said Robledo.
By eliminating some of the barriers Robledo has faced, he has been able to gain full access to employment and purpose.