“Brandon is a hard worker and a quick learner. When there are any changes to his tasks, he can adjust on the fly. He’s very flexible,” says Andrew Field, Brandon’s job coach at Northwest Center.
Each day, Brandon makes the rounds through the complex, wiping down handles and railings, cleaning tables and sweeping the entrance and parking lot areas. It’s work he loves and takes pride in, gaining skills and experience during his eight years on the job.
“I think what fits Brandon best about this job is the structure of it: from day to day, he is able to carry out roughly the same routine and is surrounded by a very supportive group of fellow employees,” says Field.
Known for generally being a quiet guy, Brandon surprised the entire employment team with his excitement and enthusiasm when he discovered a job opportunity that fit his goals had opened up at Starbucks.
“He went through several other interviews, but this is the one that he just came out and said to us, ‘I want this one,’ and he got it. So it’s pretty much a perfect fit,” says Field.
Working at Starbucks and being a coffee drinker is one perk of the job for Brandon. But being able to have independence and earn his own paycheck are the major rewards of being employed.
“I like making the money,” he says simply.
For his coworkers, though, having Brandon on the team is much more than having someone to take care of the building and the grounds; it’s about strengthening the group as a whole.
“If I could give advice to an employer interested in hiring one of our guys, it would be that hiring individuals with disabilities has more of an impact than simply the work they complete,” Field says. “It can increase the social cohesion within the workplace. What I’ve observed in my time as a coach is that when you have people of all abilities working side-by-side, a special bond is formed between the members of the team, a bond that has as its core the people we support.”