Determination Lands Gary Muniz a Job with Hyatt

Gary Muniz photo

Orlando, FL – Gary Muniz, who has a disability, starts his day early in order to get to his job at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress on time. He rides his bike for miles until he reaches the nearest bus station. After a couple of transfers, he travels again on his bike until he reaches his destination. It’s a journey that takes Gary almost three hours, but one he proudly makes. “Working at the Hyatt is amazing,” he says. “I’m so happy here.”

He began his career at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress as part of the Hands On Education program. Through Hands On Educational Services, Gary received training in food service at the hotel. When he finished his training, unfortunately, there were no openings in the kitchen, so Gary moved to the Public Areas Department for further training, and later he was hired as a permanent employee.

Gary is responsible for greeting guests and making sure the lobby, ballroom and pool areas of the hotel are kept clean. “They showed me how to be a really good employee,” Gary says.

He proudly talks about his first day at work, when he was asked to dump the trash, which gave him the chance to show how strong he is. “I showed my true strength,” he says. Gary loved his first day so much he called his parents on the way home and told them he couldn’t wait to come back to work the next day. “It was pretty awesome,” says Gary.

“Gary’s determination makes him a success,” says Angelica Lugo, Gary’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor. Angelica said she was blown away by Gary’s dedication to find employment. For two years, Gary never let the economy or the lack of jobs discourage him from his goal of finding employment. VR provided counseling and guidance, as well as a job coach and placement services. “Other people would give up if they had to ride a bicycle in the rain, but not Gary,” says Angelica.

Whenever he can, Gary says thank you to VR for helping him find a job he loves. “VR was really great,” he says. “Thanks for everything.” Angelica says working with Gary was just one of the many highlights of her job. “I love to see someone get a job and become independent,” she says. She will never forget how hard Gary worked to find employment. “I really admire him,” she says.

While his loyalty is just one of the qualities that make Gary a great employee, a strong work ethic and pride in their job are some of the many traits an employer can expect from a person with a disability. This is a resource that the Hyatt Hotels of Florida has realized, and they have a rich history of embracing people with disabilities.

Hyatt Hotels of Florida was one of nine businesses recently honored as a statewide recipient of the Florida Exceptional Employer Award. As a longtime partner with Hands On Educational Services, they have allowed 1,200 individuals with disabilities to train in their hotels during the past 14 years. In addition, Hyatt has hired more than 120 people with disabilities.

Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation program is committed to helping people with disabilities become part of America’s workforce. Our employer-focused website, FLJobConnections.com, allows businesses to search at no charge for employees who are ready to go to work, as well as to post available jobs. VR has 111 offices across Florida, and last year helped 5,018 Floridians with significant disabilities find or keep a job. For more information about VR and its services, call (800) 451-4327 or visit Rehabworks.org.