Adelante supported employment services, also known as EmployAbility, helps find competitive jobs for people with disabilities through local businesses. Adelante started supported employment services way back in 1987 and it has been our preference to help people with disabilities to find and maintain jobs in the community since that first job placement in September of 1987. Thirty four years later the program is still among the most successful in New Mexico. As part of our celebration of National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month, which occurs every November in the United States, Adelante wants to recognize the success of one of our clients. Jacob, an employee at Whole Foods, has been supported through Adelante for several years and now is successfully working completely independently. You might say he’s graduated from Adelante and our job coaching.

Jacob’s Start and How Adelante Helps Find Jobs for People With Disabilities

Jacob first came to Adelante in 2005 for job development services. For those unfamiliar with that term, job development means support in discovering skills, creating a resume, coming up with ideas for potential employers, help with applications and interviews and more. It also includes exploring the working world and potential jobs leads. Basically, it’s nearly everything we can do to support someone with a disability applying for a job.

With Adelante’s help, Jacob secured his first job. It was a seasonal position with Mervyn’s that same year. Because of his success in that role, Jacob found the retail industry was a good fit. Thanks to his seasonal experience, Jacob was able to get an interview with Sears. Sears hired him as a permanent employee. When there was talk of Sears closing, Jacob wanted to start looking elsewhere. Adelante then helped him with an interview at Whole Foods grocery store. Soon after, Whole Foods offered Jacob a job. Jacob worked at both Sears and Whole Foods for a period of time.

Jacob Finds Success at Whole Foods

Sears closed and Jacob kept working at Whole Foods. Jacob has been an outstanding employee of Whole Foods since May 2017.  He works as a food preparer, making a variety of foods such as deviled eggs and salads for the Whole Foods deli. Jacob also prints labels and packages food items.

Adelante job coaches are part of successful employment for people with disabilities in businesses all over town. For many people that may mean full-time job coaches working alongside that individual for training and ongoing work. For Jacob, Adelante provided what is known as follow along support. A job coach would visit the worksite for one hour a week while Jacob was working, rather than spend the entire shift with him.

Jacob receives his first Whole Foods paycheck. A woman is handing him the paycheck, and they are both smiling for the camera.
Jacob earning his first paycheck at his Whole Foods job!

Today Jacob is Employed Completely Independently!

Jacob smiles for the camera outside of Whole Foods Market. Adelante helps find jobs for people with disabilities.

Over the years, Adelante continued to support Jacob at work. He got stronger and stronger as an employee. During the pandemic, Jacob worked with job coaches only virtually over the phone and via text. He could ask questions and get advice on how to handle various work situations. Jacob also took pictures of the food he made and shared it with his coaches.

Jacob has gained a lot of confidence over the years. Not to mention, all of the job skills required in his role at Whole Foods. Late summer of 2021, we all agreed that he no longer needed our support to be successful. Jacob is still working, independently and successfully at Whole Foods. The entire team at Adelante is proud of him and wishes him continued success. Congratulations Jacob on a job well done.

Hire People With Disabilities for Jobs Today!

Did you know 70% of people with developmental disabilities of working age do not have a job? People with disabilities still face a lot of barriers to employment. That’s a shame because so many employers find people with disabilities to be ideal employees. If you would like to hire a people with disabilities for jobs at your company, remember to look at their work ethic and skills first and foremost. And know that Adelante can often provide job coaches to help people connect to and maintain their employment. Truly, the biggest barrier people have is finding employers willing to give them a chance. Maybe National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month (November) is just the time for you to consider giving someone that chance.

If you know people with disabilities looking for jobs, please call us at (505) 341-2000 or email ExplorePrograms@GoAdelante.org. You can also visit the EmployAbility section of our website for more information.