By Richard Solomon, Lead Employment Support Coordinator
Conlan holds up a finger and furrows his brow, focused on the screen in front of him. He’s working as a Problem Solver at Amazon’s Prime Now warehouse (UWA1) in Kirkland, a job he found through Northwest Center Employment Services. The warehouse is a hub for Pacific Northwest fulfillment, with a torrent of inventory that gives him plenty to do.
A coworker waits impatiently, unable to fulfill an order because an item wasn’t in the right warehouse location. Three more people wait behind her. Conlan’s fingers fly, and the first employee is sent on her way. He continues to work while we speak, only occasionally needing to give the computer his full attention.
When he came to Northwest Center, Conlan’s dream was to be a programmer for Amazon; he viewed the Kirkland job as a foot in the door. Once hired, his new goal was “to show UWA1 I was a good worker.” He quickly mastered the scanner system and asked coworkers how to improve. Meanwhile, “constant support from the managers and Northwest Center made it feel like this was clearly the best option to further my career.”
By the end of Conlan’s eighth week, he was in the top five for performance. His response? “I can do better.”
By the end of his ninth week, Conlan was first overall.
James Lewnes, an Area Manager at UWA1, was so blown away, he got Conlan an interview for a programming position. Soon Lewnes, his boss Tom Powers, and Powers’ manager Roberto Ramirez Shirasago were drilling Conlan on terminology and conducting mock interviews.
Conlan lost out on the programmer job to someone with more experience, but that was just the beginning. He soon aced a different interview and joined the UWA1 management team.
Now he says, “If given the option of moving upwards at UWA1 or somewhere else, I’d choose UWA1. I'm still amazed by UWA1. The amount of support I’ve gotten through managers, associates, and Northwest Center is something I never would have dreamed of.”
We’d wish Conlan luck for his future, but he probably won’t need it.
Learn more about Northwest Center Employment Services.
Northwest Center is passionate about equal rights, anti-ableism, and full inclusion for people with disabilities. Thank you for reading.