Thursday, February 23, 2012

DSB Success Stories: 3 clients find permanent full-time employment through On-The-Job-Training

The 5 Paws Hotel & Salon in Kissimmee, Fla. might be known as a state-of-the-art pet facility, but it is the loving, caring staff that make the dog grooming studio a great place for both people and pets. That staff includes Astrid Goubault, Damaris Santiago and Hector Cabrera, all of whom have disabilities, and with help from Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), they are sharing their love of animals while working full time at the salon.

When Astrid, Damaris and Hector first came to VR, the one thing they had in common was their desire to work with animals. So their VR counselors provided guidance and counseling to help them reach their career goals. Astrid and Damaris attended the Florida Institute for
Animal Arts, where they completed the Pet Grooming Program. VR paid for their tuition and provided the grooming supplies needed to begin their new careers.

Through the urging of Job Coach Kirsten Barrett, with the Deaf Service Bureau of West Central Florida, Salon owners Luis and Elba Santi decided to try VR’s On-the-Job Training Program, and they were not disappointed. After each one completed his/her training, the owners were so happy with their work that they hired them permanently, Hector and Damaris as kennel assistants, and
Astrid as a pet groomer. “Damaris, Astrid and Hector are great assets to the pet hotel,” say Luis and Elba. “Their loving care is already making the hotel a great place to work.”

“They’re definitely hard workers and committed to their job,” says their supervisor Andrew German. Andrew says that the three make a difference to the business because of their hard work and dedication. He says, most importantly, their passion shows in their work. “When
you’re dealing with animals, it’s mainly about passion,” he says. “From what I see, their passion has them on course right now.”

Hector’s counselor, Iris Ortiz, is thrilled with his progress and credits the manager and staff for providing him with such good training. “Hector has not only been placed in a full-time job, hisself-esteem has improved,” she says. “He’s a new person, more secure about himself.”

Astrid and Hector say they hope to continue on a long career. “I’m going to be a breeder and a personal groomer,” Astrid says proudly. Hector is learning to be a groomer and hopes to go back to school to become a veterinary assistant.

Iris says that Hector, as well as Astrid and Damaris, show how successful VR’s On-the-Job Training program can be. “Their determination to succeed led to full-time employment,” she says. Hector Cabrera, with his VR Counselor Iris Ortiz, was hired permanently as a kennel assistant at 5 Paws Hotel & Salon after he participated in On-the-Job Training.

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