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Mastering the Office Setting at a Young Age: a Florida Success Story

by Kevin Devine, Best Buddies International, Miami, FL

Pelayo is a young man in his mid-twenties with an intellectual disability, residing in southwest Miami-Dade County, Florida. Pelayo lives at the home of his parents, who have been very supportive of his working in an office setting. His parents own and operate an accounting firm in Miami and have exposed Pelayo to the general duties and responsibilities of working in a professional office setting. Pelayo learned basic skills such as making copies, routing faxes, shredding documents, as well as pulling and returning client files.

They had prepared Pelayo for working in an office setting to the best of their ability, yet they knew his real test would come once he was placed in a paid job, with real responsibilities and timed deadlines.

Though Pelayo graduated from Southwest Miami High School in June 2002 with a special education diploma, and had gained some skills in his parent's company, he was unable to secure employment even with the help of family and friends.

Best Buddies Jobs
Best Buddies Jobs met with Pelayo and his parents to map out a plan for helping Pelayo obtain employment in a professional office setting. His was assigned an employment consultant, Ms. Loaidyn Gomez. She and Pelayo spent time getting to know each other, constructing a resume and in the process, identified his strengths and weaknesses.

Coached preparation for interviews
Then came time to conduct the actual job development for his placement in a professional office setting, something Pelayo and his family had worked toward since high school. Best Buddies had a good job lead with a company named Jobs to Career. This company specializes in matching qualified nurses from India with available hospital positions here in the United States.

Best Buddies Jobs arranged for Pelayo to interview for an office aid position, set for November 11, 2005. Pelayo was quite anxious to do well, so prior to the actual interview his employment consultant Loaidyn Gomez coached and prepared Pelayo so he would make a good impression. They did several mock interviews which helped Pelayo feel more at ease. They worked on tailoring his resume to showcase his office skills, and meet the job requirements. She also had him complete the job application on his own.

On the day of the interview, Loaidyn reassured him that everything would go well as they had prepared properly. Though Pelayo is somewhat shy and does not talk much until he gets to know someone, he put his hand out and properly introduced himself to Chris Block, Vice President of Jobs to Career.

In short, the interview went very well and soon Pelayo and Chris Block were getting along like old friends. On his way home from the interview, Pelayo could not stop talking about how well things went. At home, his mother was thrilled and could not believe her son had landed a good job with ideal hours, 10am to 4pm weekdays.

Pelayo started his first day with Jobs to Career on November 28, 2005, along with the support of Gomez, his employment consultant. He spent the next month learning and mastering the duties and responsibilities he was expected to perform. According to Block, Pelayo is doing great at Jobs to Career. "He is meeting all my expectations and more," said Block. Gomez reports that Pelayo has mastered skills which some of his co-workers have trouble with, such as a new, complex fax machine.

Pelayo himself is thrilled as he works along side other young professionals, and is even learning about global issues pertaining to India and the United States. Best Buddies Jobs is pleased with this job match and will continue to support Pelayo in his growth and development with Jobs to Career.