Collaboration Between Disability Groups Leads to Success

Nichole Redmon photo

St Petersburg, FL – Nichole Redmon will be very honest if you ask her about her job at Jabil, saying that she feels the pressure of working for such an important company. “But I do like it there,” she says. Nichole is responsible for the prep work that contributes to the circuit boards Jabil makes for the Department of Defense.

Nichole, who has autism, was one of several VR customers who attended the Disability Employment Awareness Celebration in Pinellas Park last October. The event honors local employers for their commitment to hiring people with disabilities. Last year, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) honored Ward’s Seafood Market, Postcard Inn on the Beach, Brentwood Senior Living Community and Chick-fil-A. Nichole served as one of the keynote speakers at the event, sharing her experiences in the workplace at Jabil.

“Nichole is very focused, and she wants to do well,” says Scott Peterson, Nichole’s job coach with Placement Works. Another huge part of Nichole’s accomplishment is due to the dedication of Mary Beth Pundzt, Nichole’s first job coach through Pinellas County Schools. While in school, Mary helped Nichole with employment training. After Nichole turned 22 and aged out of high school, VR took over services and introduced Nichole to VR Counselor Kate Saksefski. Kate worked with Placement Works to place Nichole at Jabil.

At Jabil, Nichole works the kit preparation on the circuit, assembling the different parts that group together. Following a visual prompt, Nichole prepares the tiny pieces that go on the server board. She keeps count, packages up the materials when she’s completed each part, and logs in and out of the different tasks when she is done. “There’s actually a bit of problem solving involved so it’s pretty complex,” says Scott.

“She’s very good at her job,” says Kate. “According to her supervisors she’s one of their best.” Since Nichole enjoyed assembling things, the job at Jabil was perfect for her. The collaboration of each group, as well as the support she has from her family, played a large role in Nichole finding gainful employment. “Her parents are wonderful and VR was wonderful,” says Scott, who added that Mary still checks in with her to make sure everything is going smoothly. “Jabil is a great employer and that also is a contributing factor in her success.”

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.