Man with Disabilities Has Never Missed a Day on the Job

Krystian Morales photo

Tampa, FL – As an employer, how would you like to have an employee who’s never missed a day of work in more than a year? That’s the type of dedication that Krystian Morales, who has autism and ADHD, brings to the job. “I love my job,” says Krystian, a custodial worker at Amalie Arena and #53 Rest Area on I-75.

After graduating high school, Krystian knew exactly what career he wanted, so he enrolled in a custodial maintenance program at a local technical school. As he was finishing the program, he realized he might need help finding a job. That’s when he turned to Vocational Rehabilitation, a federal-state agency that helps people with disabilities get or keep a job.

“Krystian came to our program wanting help with employment,” says his VR counselor, Carol Manalo. “He applied to VR pretty close to graduation, and we were fortunate to have a job lead for him.” He had the training, but needed help finding a permanent job.

Krystian was training at Amalie Arena and applied for a part-time position there. The venue hosts over 150 events a year and has more than 670,000 square feet of space, so he knew the job would keep him on his toes. He got the job, but since it was on an “as needed” basis for events, he also applied for a custodial job with the Brevard Achievement Center (BAC).

BAC is a non-profit agency based in Rockledge, FL that provides persons with disabilities work opportunities through a number of federal and commercial contracts. BAC has a contract through the Department of Transportation to provide custodial services at the rest areas in Hillsborough, Pasco, Sumter, and Marion counties. He got that job too and has been working there for more than a year now. And he hasn’t missed a day of work.

His supervisors from both jobs know just how valuable he is to their businesses, and they work with him to find a schedule that fits his needs. “My boss [with BAC] is really great about making sure my schedule works with my job at the Amalie Arena,” Krystian says.

Krystian is a valuable team member at Amalie Arena, and he’s been recognized several times as employee of the month. BAC also nominated him for the RESPECT of Florida Employee of the Year award. This is quite a change from his first visit to VR. He explains, “VR helped me so much because I was too shy and inside myself to talk much to others before.” Carol has enjoyed seeing him come out of his shell. “In the beginning he was more bashful,” she says. “He has shown increased confidence since he began the program.”

Krystian is grateful for the time with his counselor. “I love Miss Carol because she has a lot of patience with me.” Carol is proud of everything Krystian has accomplished. “He has become a very independent young man, and I am very happy for him,” she says. “We close cases all the time, but it’s nice when you hear from someone after they’ve successfully graduated from the program and are doing well.”

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.