Perseverance Lands Steven Romano a Job with Home Depot

Steven Romano photo

Brandon, FL – There’s nothing like a friendly smile and greeting to get you in the mood to shop. And that’s exactly what Steven Romano provides guests at the Home Depot in Valrico. “It’s a great place to work,” he says. “Everyone is friendly to each other.”

Looking at Steven, you’d never know the difficult road he’s traveled so he could take his place on the other side of those sliding glass doors, to welcome you to the store. You see, Steven has multiple disabilities that nearly kept him from achieving his goal of becoming employed. Home Depot was equally determined not to let Steven’s medical issues keep him from earning a paycheck. Supervisor Kellisha McNeill with Home Depot was committed to finding a place for Steven at the store. “You have to give everyone a chance,” she says. “You never know what kind of a difference you can make in their lives just by helping them get out of the house and work.”

Steven’s family is grateful for the accommodations that were made for Steven. “Home Depot created the greeter position for him,” Steven’s mom, Lisa, says. “They have gone above and beyond what I thought they would do to help him. They’ve been so gracious and so good to him.” Steven’s dad, Sam, feels the same. “In today’s economy, they have the ability to hire people with more experience and better qualifications,” he says. “And yet, they were willing to take a chance on my son.” What many employers don’t realize is that most accommodations for persons with disabilities cost less than $500, with many being free. In fact, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) may help employers cover those costs to get customers back to work.

While Steven has stepped up and is excelling as a greeter, Home Depot says they now see even more potential in him. “I want to get him to the next level,” Kellisha says. “Right now he goes above and beyond as a greeter, but I want to see him active on the sales floor. My goal now is to get him there.” Steven couldn’t be happier about the potential for growth on the job. “It’s a great opportunity for me,” he says. “They’re thinking about putting me as a cashier, which is step one for me to move up in the company.”

“Steven is determined to keep his job and overcome the obstacles that have been placed before him,” says Jeannette Samuels, Steven’s VR counselor. Jeannette said she was blown away by Steven’s determination to find employment and never letting the economy or his physical limitations discourage him from his goal. VR provided counseling and guidance, as well as a job coach and placement services. “Steven has a great personality, a great sense of humor, and he’s determined to work,” says Jeannette. “He was an ideal customer.”

While his perseverance is just one of the qualities that make Steven a great employee, a strong work ethic and pride in his job are some of the many traits an employer can expect from a person with a disability. This is a resource Home Depot of Valrico has realized, and they have a rich history of embracing people with disabilities.

Home Depot of Valrico was one of five businesses recently honored with the Florida Outstanding Employer Award. The store has hired several people with disabilities and is committed to reaching out to the community. Home Depot 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.