Working at Publix is a Pleasure for Young Man with a Disability

Jonier Burgos photo

Coral Springs, FL – Jonier (JB) Burgos, who has a learning disability, is an important member of the Publix team. “I help our customers and do carry out service, where I take groceries to their car, and get carts from outside and take them inside the store,” he says. “I also get baskets from underneath the registers, and get change for the cashier or customer.”

JB enjoys working at Publix, though searching for a job wasn’t easy. “I looked for a job all over the place with no luck,” he says. JB first learned about Vocational Rehabilitation, a federal-state agency that helps people with disabilities get or keep a job, from a classmate in high school. He decided it was the perfect time in his life to give it a shot, and started meeting with VR Counselor April Rosenblatt.

“I was very firm with him, and said if you’re going to come here, I want to work with someone who is motivated and ready to work,” April says. “He loved that I was strict with him. He said he really wanted to work, so we started the process of finding him a job that day.”

April knew JB was going to be successful right from the start. “He had that eagerness and all that effort,” she says. VR supplied clothing, bus passes and important professional training to make interviewing, and ultimately employment, a reality. April explains, “One of the biggest issues we faced was timeliness, and I met with his mom and coached her on it as well. I wanted to make sure he was getting places on time.”

JB also met with Job Coach Madeline Scaduto. After discussing career choices, JB decided to apply for a position at Publix. He was ecstatic when he received a phone call asking him to come in for an interview, and it went great. “The interviewer asked which word describes you, and I said ‘Me.’ She told me she really liked me, and when I heard that, I thought ‘Oh snap, that’s a good sign!’” JB was offered the job, and has been working there ever since.

When JB isn’t working, he enjoys going to the movies, hanging out with friends, and playing his PS4. He is using his hard-earned wages to fund another one of his favorite pastimes. “When we first started, we talked about what the goal was and why, and one of the goals he set for himself was to buy the latest version of Xbox,” April says. “He was able to get it!”

Working at Publix was just the job JB needed, and he is exceling in his career. “He is doing great,” April says. Thanks to some hard work, a little help from VR, he now has a profession he can be proud of. “I really like it,” he says. “I plan to stay there for a while.”

Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federal-state program committed to helping people with disabilities become part of America’s workforce. The employer-focused website, https://abilitieswork.employflorida.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 90 offices across Florida, and last year helped 5,194 Floridians with significant disabilities get or keep a job. For more information about VR and its services, call (800) 451-4327 or visit http://www.Rehabworks.org.