Perseverance Lands Jessica Juncal a Job with Walgreens

Jessica Juncal photo

Brandon, FL – They say every journey begins with a first step. But what if you need someone’s help to start that journey? That was the case for Jessica Juncal, who has a developmental disability, but still wanted to make her mark in the workplace. She was on the job hunt for nearly three years, when Walgreens gave her a chance.

Jessica attributes some of her success to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). Her VR Counselor, Rockne Lee, provided career counseling and guidance to Jessica. He then placed her with a new job coach, Christine LaPace, who shared a passion for finding Jessica employment. It wasn’t long after meeting Christine that Jessica landed the job. “Although Walgreens didn’t have any openings, they decided to create a position, just to be able to hire her,” Rockne says. “She was hired to change signs and the displays within the store.”

The position turned out to be just what Jessica was looking for. “It’s good to have a job,” she says. Jessica’s mother, Lisa, is very grateful to Walgreens for giving her daughter the chance. “They created this position just for Jessica,” she says. “We’re hoping she’ll remain an employee of Walgreens for the next 15 to 20 years.” That’s common for people with disabilities. They tend to be loyal to their employer, work hard, and show up to work with a smile.

Walgreens Store Manager Gil Bouchard helped make Jessica’s hire possible. He’s committed to offering opportunities to those who want to work. “People with disabilities deserve and need a chance to prove they can do it,” he says. “Most of the people with disabilities I’ve worked with have a positive disposition and that spreads to our customers and other employees.” Gil says he will definitely consider a person with a disability for future job openings.

Lisa will never forget the kindness Walgreens has shown her daughter. She encourages other people with disabilities to remain persistent and not to give up on their career goals. “It’s been a real blessing for Jessica to get the job,” she says. “Anybody with a disability seeking help with the job search should reach out to VR. They don’t give up on you and will go the extra mile to get what’s needed. It’s been a long search, but to see her out and interacting with others is just a great accomplishment for Jessica.”

Walgreens on Brandon Boulevard was one of five businesses recently honored with the Florida Outstanding Employer Award. The store is committed to reaching out to the community. Walgreens stands by the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to work.

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 80 offices across Florida, and last year helped 6,071 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.