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Things are looking up for Justin Igama; he is earning his kinesiology degree while working as an associate at Amazon, Inc to achieve his dream of becoming a physical therapist. 


“Navigating my mobility issues inspired this career path, along with the desire to help others. I can relate to patients since I have experienced many challenges and breakthroughs myself.”


Justin has cerebral palsy (CP), a neurological disorder that affects muscle coordination and mobility. Individuals with cerebral palsy experience symptoms differently, including paralysis, inability to walk, and communication limitations. According to the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, one in three people affected cannot walk, and one in five cannot talk.


“I was three years old when I was diagnosed with CP,” said Justin. “It feels like my brain doesn’t communicate well with my muscles. My disability made me insecure and doubt my abilities; however, it made me develop resilience and determination. My involvement in sports such as wrestling and boxing helped me to realize that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.”


In 2016, while starting college, Justin attempted to find work to support himself. After several months of struggling to find a position, he was referred to PRIDE Industries’ Inclusive Talent Solutions in Sacramento, CA. With help from Job Coach John Edwards, he practiced interviewing and fine-tuned his resume.


“I learned that a positive first impression is key to engaging employers,” says Justin. “I made an effort to speak properly and to dress well. However, after multiple interviews, I noticed that my disability and use of a cane might have convinced many that I could not do a job involving lifting and walking. It was very frustrating.”


In less than a year, PRIDE placed Justin into an associate trainee position at Amazon’s Sacramento Fulfillment Center. He was responsible for sorting items to be delivered to PRIME Now customers. “There were many challenges at first, including learning a variety of new instructions and rules,” said Justin. “I had to work hard to prove myself.”


Applying skills that he learned from his PRIDE training, Justin reached out to his supervisor to identify areas to improve. He took the advice given and continued to receive consistent positive ratings. His Job Coach John Edwards was always there, providing Justin with encouragement and advice.


As Justin’s skills improved and he gained confidence, management took notice; Amazon offered him a permanent position in November 2017.


“It felt great to prove that I am capable of working in competitive employment with people without disabilities,” said Justin. “They treat me as an important part of the team. With this job, I have earned independence and can support myself financially while I complete my studies.”


“I hope that my story helps others with cerebral palsy to realize that they can achieve successful employment. There will be challenges along the way, but with hard work, perseverance, and a support team, they can accomplish their dreams.”

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Did You Know?

According to the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, one in three people affected cannot walk, and one in five cannot talk

“I hope that my story helps others with cerebral palsy to realize that they can achieve successful employment.”

The Sacramento Bee – About 120 disabled employees working at a state prison will be able to keep their jobs despite an outsourcing complaint from state government’s largest union that threatened their company’s contract.


PRIDE Industries, the contractor that employs the disabled workers, struck a compromise in the state budget that allows about half of its 217 employees at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton to continue working there. The rest of the janitorial jobs at the prison will become available as civil service positions.


The deal undoes part of an agreement that Service Employees International Union Local 1000 had reached with Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration to gradually phase out the PRIDE contract and hire state workers to provide janitorial services at the prison.


SEIU 1000 did not oppose finding civil service jobs for the PRIDE workers at the prison, but neither the union nor the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation could guarantee that the disabled employees would be hired.


PRIDE visited the Capitol several times over the past month, where they met with lawmakers and talked with reporters about how they struggled to find work until they joined the Roseville-based organization that provides job opportunities to disabled people. “I would like to thank all of you at the state Capitol for helping us keep our jobs here at CHCF,” PRIDE employee Anthony Grandon wrote in a message to The Sacramento Bee. “My coworkers and I are grateful that we still have our jobs here.”


PRIDE went to work at the Stockton prison in 2016 after an audit concluded that sanitation was an urgent problem at a facility that houses ill inmates. SEIU 1000, which represents state custodians, successfully contested the contract, arguing that it violated protections against government outsourcing.


Republican lawmakers repeatedly spoke up for PRIDE in recent weeks. One of them, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley of Rocklin, tried to void the compromise in the waning moments of a four-hour budget conference committee hearing Friday night.


“It’s quite shocking that we’d entertain the idea of replacing these folks with a politically favored interest group,” he said. His measure to keep all of the jobs with PRIDE failed.


The new agreement in the budget is meant to ensure that PRIDE’s disabled employees can keep their jobs, according to Brown’s Department of Finance.


“We are happy the budget committee took into consideration the certain loss of jobs for people with disabilities if PRIDE were to be let go completely,” PRIDE Vice President Don Nelson said, adding that the company would look for opportunities to work with state government.

Media Contact
Kat Maudru

PRIDE Industries is a social enterprise delivering business excellence to public and private organizations nationwide.