VIABILITY’s Better Together story of the week. Zoraida Gonzalez (Z) has worked for the company for 29 years as a job coach in our Holyoke office. Dick recently interviewed her about her work at VIABILITY.
Dick, “When did you become a job coach with the company?”
Zoraida, “July 1988.”
Dick, “What was your first experience like?”
Zoraida, “I was a bit nervous because I hadn’t had much exposure to individuals with disabilities prior to starting here. It was the 1980’s and the schools still separated special needs students from the other kids. I was 20 years old and my first worksite was a mobile crew of seven cleaning Vanguard Banks. After the first day I knew this was the work for me.”
Dick, “What was your favorite worksite during the past 29 years?”
Zoraida, “ The training program we had at the Springfield Marriott, we helped dozens of individuals secure jobs there and the company was very supportive of our program.”
Dick, “Tell me a story of how you helped an individual.”
Zoraida, “Part of my job includes transporting workers to the site. One person we serve named Esteban would ride in the front seat. Esteban had an imaginary friend who he would have very animated discussions with in the van and at the worksite. I told him that it was very distracting and that he should talk to me if he wanted the front seat. He did, and from that day forward he always talked to me in the van and while at work.”
Dick, “You’ve done this job for 29 years, why?”
Zoraida, “Because everyone counts on me, the people we serve, their parents, the employers and the staff from the state who refer to our program. I am lucky to have found a job and a company that I love to work for! “
Dick, “What do you think about the merger?”
Zoraida, “While some staff we nervous I knew that the merger of Community Enterprises and Human Resources Unlimited would make us a stronger company. Dick, I know you count on me to do a good job and make good decisions, I also count on you to do the same.
Zoraida is a Job Coach 2 and oversees four coaches in our DDS employment services. She helped form Club 25 for staff who have worked here for 25 years or more!