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Stephanie Montoya

Stephanie Montoya is a 27 year old from Espanola, NM and has mild to moderate congenital hearing loss that has progressed to moderate to severe hearing loss.  She began to use hearing aids at an early age.  "By the 3rd grade, I used a FM and speaker system for the teacher and I.  Teachers were not used to this technology so there was always a learning curve."

"At first there was some concern that I wouldn't be able to keep up with my classmates, but I was determined to do so and succeeded.  I would sit in the front of the class and I was usually treated just like any other person.  The only time I got points marked off was during oral presentations when my voice was often too low."

"I had a lot of speech therapy up through high school, and it was there that I found out about NMDVR.  I started at NMDVR after high school."

Stephanie began to work with NMDVR and knew that she wanted to pursue something in the medical related field.  "By my freshman year, I had decided to become a pharmacist.  At first, I was unsure of what to expect from NMDVR, but this became more clear as I worked with my counselor.  My counselor helped me with new hearing aids, and assistance to attend the University of New Mexico.  She helped me with a note taker and technology that would allow me to hear my classmates in addition to my teachers.  Finally, I was provided things for the activities of daily living, like an alarm clock, a phone, and a doorbell flasher."

"I had high expectations for school, and first became a pharmacy technician where I gained valuable experience.  Pharmacy school is very competitive and the experience was a definite advantage.  In addition to taking the P-Cat entrance exam, my experience, GPA, essay, and an interview were necessary for admission.  I am happy to say that I passed on my first attempt."

"Pharmacy school is very competitive and takes an additional 4 years to graduate, but I am very happy with my career.  I would recommend anyone with a disability that presents a barrier to employment to apply for NMDVR.  They have made a difference in my life."

 

Miguel Chavez

Miguel Chavez is 34 and was referred to NMDVR by his caseworker.  He was unsure exactly what to expect and thought that he would "... most likely get a list of employers that might hire me."  He is currently working as a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning trainee (HVAC) in Albuquerque, NM.

Miguel proved to have excellent mechanical and eye-hand coordination skills, and a strong visual learner.  "My boss recognized by ability to learn.  I'm a problem solver.  I'm given a job and I get the job done.  I work with a journeyman HVAC foreman and I'm learning real good."

"My counselor was very helpful and getting things done.  It seemed right away after I was found eligible for the program.  NMDVR helped me with clothes and tools, and made me feel good about myself.  In fact, I have more tools than a lot of people on the job, and they come to me to borrow tools.  It makes me feel real good.  It's part of my job to show-up on time with my tools and ready to go to work.  I take pride in that."  "Miguel has proved to be an excellent worker, is never late, and always ready to learn something new," say his boss Aaron Soriano.

"My job is awesome and after two years I can study and take the test for a journeyman HVAC worker and earn "tons" of money.  I work some overtime when it is needed.  I would say that there are tons of ways that NMDVR can help people.  I refer people to go and apply sometimes.  It is awesome, they know my name and even introduce me to other people, and I feel like a part of NMDVR.  Also, my family and my boss are real proud of me."

 

Aaron Soriano

Aaron Soriano, who hired Miguel Chavez is the owner of A & D Heating and Air Conditioning, faith-based company with 25 years of experience. "We perform HVAC, using our A & D Signature Series equipment in the greater Albuquerque area.  We have phenomenal pricing, during these economic times, with the belief that comfort is not a luxury and we make it affordable."

"A & D practices disability hiring practices for either physical, emotional - whatever; because we believe that everybody deserves the chance to have a job.  We are a community partner not just a business.  We have a program where we provide backpacks to the homeless, as anyone can be in a tough situation and warrant the help to succeed to whatever degree possible."

"I believe that a person with a disability appreciates a job more, and they have proved to be an asset to my company.  Other companies would be surprised how much a disabled employee can be a good investment.  I believe that many companies do not understand people with disabilities.  It has been my experience that a company gets a bigger return on your hiring dollar.  Hiring should be based on the person and not any societal thoughts.  Companies should no worry about liability because the person is more 'there' and is looking to do a job.  It's not a risk but a benefit and is a wise business decision.  Miguel has been the best employee that I have, hands-down!  I am extremely happy with him."

"Miguel never has an excuse.  He learns quickly and appreciates his work.  Miguel is a 'safety guy'; he is safety conscious for other people that do not take safety as seriously.  This is a definite plus for me.  I would definitely recommend that other employers use NMDVR for hiring; it has been a definite positive experience for me."

 

Guy Surdi

"I owned a roofing business in Colorado, fell off a roof, and was injured.  Prior to that, the good thing about being a boss was that my dyslexia was less of a problem.  Because of my injuries, I was on SSDI, and there just came a time to make a new life for myself.  I had attempted to work and it was too physically demanding for me."

"I was not sure how I found out about NMDVR.  I really had no expectations of what kind of services or resources were available; I just took it as it unfolded, trying to figure out where to go with my life.  I was very open and focused on getting a job."

"My biggest first impression was how very positive it was to receive services; that there was support and a serious attitude toward assisting me in getting a job.  It was comforting to get that support.  In working with NMDVR skills training was a big plus to put on my resume.  However, the real difference was on-the-job training (OJT), where I become a more desirable candidate.  I was performing my job well and in the last week of my OJT, I was offered a job!"

"After some time I was able to return to school and earn a masters' degree in social work, becoming more interested in the elderly and the disabled and wanted to make more of a difference.  School was an important part of my life."

“With a lot of disability work experience, I began to work at the Governor’s Commission on the Disabilities. NMDVR gave me the opportunity to have a life – I could not have done this without the support I received. It was far better than I could have imagined.”

“I constantly recommend people to NMDVR as there are not services like these available. I don’t know anywhere where such are available, especially in one package. I was lucky enough to have a caseworker who was more interested in making a difference in my life than just doing their job, and that really comes through. There is no way of thanking my caseworker enough that has helped me on my life path.”

 

Joshua Read

Joshua Read is a former School-to-Work participant who had the need to succeed.  While in school he earned a black belt in karate and played soccer.  He now works for a supermarket ensuring his customers get fresh and appealing produce and fruits.  Joshua enjoys his job, and the customers and employees enjoy his kind and warm heart.  He treats them all with respect.

"I'm never sick," says Josh, "and I never miss work."  In addition to his work, Josh finds time to volunteer and give back to his community.

"They (NMDVR) have been real helpful to me.  They help you to get and keep a job."  His employer is well pleased with Josh's work and says, "Josh brings value to my business and fits in fine with the thought that we do not have employees, but teammates."  "I really like this," says Josh, "but I have been thinking about going to school sometime in the future."  One expects he will choose well and succeed again.  For a person who has but one other work experience, Josh appears to have a mature outlook on life that will stand him in good stead for years to come.

 

Alex Martinez

Alex Martinez has worked 28 years in the retail business, 19 of those with the family-owned Lowes.  The simple motto Alex gives is, "We bring value to out customers, not as employees, but as teammates.  We are a family who knows our customers.  Our employees bring value to the business because they are good people.

Alex talks about hiring NMDVR clients, which is something that he knows much about over the past years.  "Each person who has worked for me from NMDVR has helped make me a better person.  I have worked with them closely at times, and it gives me a chance to get close to my customers and employees.  That is a win-win situation."

"I realize that each persons wants to succeed at their own level.  Sometimes its going on to college, and sometimes it is their first entry-level job.  Josh has been a good worker.  Both customers and employees reach out to say something.  That's just good business practice.  I have enjoyed my relationship with NMDVR and I will continue to look to them for employees," replied Alex.  As Albert Einstein once said , "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value."  Alex Martinez represents Lowes quite well.  He is an asset to his community and a friend to NMDVR.

 

Meko Concho

Meko Concho needed assistance to continue his artwork.  With the help of the Native American Liaison Program and NMDVR, a plan was put into place for his business.

Meko is a talented artist and micaceous clay potter from the south-side of the village.  While he makes decorative items and beautiful cookware, most notably Meko is known for his signature bears.  Meko was served in a collaborative effort between two NMDVR programs.

 

 

 

Jennifer Reynolds

Jennifer Reynolds came to NMDVR as the result of an injury that left her with multiple challenges.  She now operates her own business a "Piece of Cake".  Located on Highway 180 in the Arenas Valley near Silver City, her shop is filled with delicious delights.  She had always to open a bakery, but an injury put that on hold.  Customers are now greeted with a cheerful smile and delightful odors.

She needed extensive professional equipment and NMDVR made that happen, with her participation.  "Working in here is my own physical therapy.  If you have a dream you have to go to NMDVR and they will help you!"

 

Benadillo Carillo

Benadillo Carillo has experienced challenges with his disability since 1997.  He came to NMDVR and began to work at "Gotcha Covered" as an upholsterer.  "I never dreamed that I would have a job like this."  His employer Billy Cisneros is very happy with Bernadillo's work.  "He is a self-starter, faster learner and does anything I ask."  With 30 years of experience, Billy knows business.  "I would tell other employers to give NMDVR clients a change to work and develop new skills."

 

 

 

 

Bobby Holroyd

Bobby Holroyd has a degree in Art, but his work experience was in the construction field.  With injuries and the wear and tear of hard physical work, Bobby needed help.  He wanted a career change.

Bobby came to NMDVR and considered engineering, but there was no local program so he earned a degree in Special Education.  "I was unsure at first," said Bobby.  "NMDVR was there for me, both emotionally and with the services I needed to earn my degree in a short two and a half years."

Bobby looks forward to his new career and to give back to his community.