DSC_7493 edited c small

Checking In with Our Decade Club: Andrew Celebrates 13 Years on the Job

Many consider the number 13 to be bad luck, but for Andrew Reyes it is great luck, and an impressive milestone.

“I’m in a good mood,” Andrew Reyes declares as he walks into work at La Montañita Co-op in Nob Hill, which he’s been doing for 13 years through EmployAbility, Adelante’s supported employment program. “He’s proud that he works. He’s proud that he has a job. He’s confident,” says Mary, Andrew’s mom. “But most of all he’s happy—I mean he really looks forward to going to work.”

DSC_7545 edited small

With a preference and priority for competitive employment in the community, Adelante has the largest and most successful supported-employment program in New Mexico for people with disabilities, matching skills and interests with employment opportunities at local businesses.

Mary says Adelante “walks the walk” and makes sure people with disabilities are working in the community. “They have really good job coaches that know Andrew inside and out,” she says. “Long-term consistent job coaching has been very beneficial.”

The skills gained through the direct support provided by Adelante’s job coaches extend beyond the limits of the store. “He’s bloomed all over the place,” Mary says, citing an increase in Andrew’s maturity level, problem-solving skills, and awareness of his surroundings in public.

When Andrew gets to work, he dives right in after a few sips of coffee. “He knows what to do,” says Frank, one of Andrew’s job coaches. Frank adds that Andrew stays on task pretty well, needing only occasional redirection. On the rare occasion Andrew makes a small mistake, he takes it pretty hard, Frank says.

DSC_7495 edited small

Andrew’s work ethic runs deep, and outside La Montañita’s walls he has to make a conscious effort to keep from jumping in to help at other grocery stores when he sees the need.

“La Montañita staff…they’re really committed to making sure this works for Andrew, too,” Mary says. Andrew has a great rapport with his co-workers and managers, who can be heard calling out words of encouragement throughout the day as he goes about his duties. When asked about Andrew, his co-workers respond with “He’s a lot of fun,” and “a pleasure to have around.”

DSC_7542 edited small

Outside of work, Andrew enjoys volunteering with Meals on Wheels, taking piano lessons, singing, and watching game shows.

Adelante has been working on reducing the unemployment rates for people with disabilities for nearly 40 years, yet more than 70% of people with disabilities are not participating in the workforce in our country. We presume that people want to work, and Adelante believes there should be a full range of options available to ensure that everyone has opportunities to enter the workforce in the manner they choose.

If you’d like to hire a person with a disability, or would like Adelante’s support in finding a job in the community, please contact Melinda Garcia at MGarcia@GoAdelante.org or (505) 341-7124.

If you’d like a rewarding role in the community as one of Adelante’s job coaches, click here to view Adelante’s job openings. The link to apply is at the bottom right of every job description.

DSC_7561 edited small