Nhat Do Keeps the Homewood Suites Clean

Nhat Do photo

Tampa/Brandon, FL – When Nhat Do, who has a depressive disorder and a mild intellectual disability, came to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) for help finding a job, he didn’t have any idea of the type of job he wanted to do. His only job experience had been working seasonally at his uncle’s fish farm. VR Counselor Shamaila Khan worked with Nhat to discover his interests and skills and sent him for mental health treatment.

When Nhat was ready, she referred him to job coach Lee Garcia for help finding that elusive job. Nhat and Lee filled out paperwork and job applications, looking for a place that would be a good fit for him. Within three days of starting his job search, he landed a job with the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Tampa/Brandon, and Nhat couldn’t be happier. “I love it so far,” he says.

Nhat works in housekeeping, cleaning the rooms, and as a houseman, cleaning the lobby, the pool, and taking out the trash. Lee went with Nhat to the hotel to check out where he would be working, learn what his job duties would be, and to talk to his bosses.

“We hired him because, although he was shy and you could tell it was his first interview, he had all the right answers, and he was definitely willing to work,” says Assistant General Manager Hunter Hardt. With Lee there to support him and teach him the intricacies of the working world by showing him what to do and how to behave appropriately, Nhat trained for two weeks with the hotel. After training, he tried it on his own, and after a slow start, his managers are now very pleased with his work. “He’s really improved and become one of our most productive housekeepers,” Hunter says.

Nhat started out working part-time but quickly moved to full-time. He’s punctual, respectful, hardworking, and has received high marks on his job site evaluations. “He’s right there with all our other employees,” says Hunter. “We treat him exactly the same as everyone else. He’s a great a part of the team.”

“My bosses have been great to me. They’re very patient with me,” says Nhat. And while he is glad to be working, he’s even more excited to share that he finally has health insurance. “My mother is happy because I can now go to the doctor if I need to.”

He’s grateful to Shamaila and VR for helping him find his new job. “Shamaila is a very kind and very nice person,” he says. “She helped me with a lot of things and is one of the best counselors. She helped guide me to get a full-time job.” Shamaila is proud of Nhat and how far he’s come. “To have already moved from part-time to full-time says a lot. I think having the support from his job coach and me really made a difference. And, of course, his employer is very understanding and helpful too.”

Hunter encourages other employers not to shy away from hiring someone who has a disability. “I would say, honestly, if it’s the right person give them a shot. Don’t think their disability is going to be extra time or a burden, because, in reality, it hasn’t put any extra burden on us at all.”

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 7,214 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.