People with Disabilities

Lindsay McKean is one of the many people who has benefited from donations to the Michael Ziegler PRIDE Industries foundation, which made it possible for her to participate in PRIDE’s job training programs for adults. Because of this, she was able to start a fulfilling new career. 

Job Training Programs for Adults with Disabilities

Lindsay began her career in the hospitality industry working at the front desk of a Holiday Inn. She absolutely loved the work, but due to a disability, it was increasingly difficult for her to stay on her feet all day. 


“I needed a different type of job,” she said. “I decided I wanted to work in an office—I’d be able to work with other people, and I wouldn’t have to stand all day. But there was a problem: I’d never been good with computers.” 


Fortunately, Lindsay’s advisor at the Department of Rehabilitation put her in touch with PRIDE Industries so she could participate in our job training program for adults with disabilities


“My Job Developer, Caryl Balko, supported my goals completely,” said Lindsay “Not only did she get me into a computer skills class, but she also told me that she knew I could do it.”

Beyond Job Training to Internship Success

It made all the difference for Lindsay to have someone rooting for her. With training, she became an expert in the Office 365 programs. Not long after, Caryl recommended her for an internship program at PRIDE’s corporate office, working at The Michael Ziegler PRIDE Industries Foundation.


“When I learned that the internship involved working on the donation campaign that had helped fund my training, I knew then that I really wanted the job,” Lindsay shared. “I was thrilled when I got the call telling me I’d landed the internship.”


“I’ve been working at PRIDE for about six weeks now, and with all the practice I’ve had, my computer skills are top-notch. It turns out that I was never bad at using computers—I just needed training and practice. My Job Developer Caryl saw that, and so does my supervisor Michele Bennyhoff.”

Move forward in your career

PRIDE Industries provides internships, job coaching and training programs, work transportation, assistive technology, and so much more for people with disabilities. Find out how we can help you pursue your career goals.

“My Job Developer, Caryl Balko, supported my goals completely. Not only did she get me into a computer skills class, but she also told me that she knew I could do it.”

One of the hardest jobs is looking for a new one. Filling out applications, checking out new positions, and networking take a significant amount of time and effort. This process can be especially challenging for individuals with disabilities. PRIDE Industries offers employment services to help applicants with every step of the job search process, providing support, resources, and training for first-time job seekers and experienced workers alike.

Help with the Toughest Parts of Job Searching

Despite being an experienced janitorial professional, David Driggs had trouble finding a new position while between jobs. A local nonprofit referred him to PRIDE Industries’ Sacramento, CA Employment Services, for support.


PRIDE Industries’ Employment Services in the Sacramento Region partners with community businesses to find jobs for individuals with disabilities. During the intake process, Job Developers learn about the participant’s interests, capabilities, and challenges, and work to build their confidence. PRIDE Job Developer Caryl Balko paired with David, and they practiced interviewing and fine-tuned his resume as his job search continued.


“The hardest part of the job search was keeping up my perseverance,” said David. “I’m a positive person, but it was often hard keeping my hopes up in such a competitive job market. I have hearing loss and a learning disability; sometimes, I learn at a slightly slower speed, but this has never interfered with my ability to work.”

Job Club: For Support and Learning During the Search

A part of the program is Job Club, where participants meet weekly to learn how to make a great first impression, practice interviewing, and explore career fields. “I met a lot of friends in Job Club,” said David. “It was always interesting to learn about everyone’s career interests and to practice interview skills in a relaxing environment. It was sometimes festive, we had a Christmas party and potluck! Most importantly, we learned what it takes to get a job.”



All of David’s hard work and persistence paid off after six months when he was hired as a Janitor at Cintas Uniform Supply in February 2019, a uniform rental and delivery company in Sacramento, CA. Cintas is a partner of PRIDE’s Employment Services Program and has hired several individuals with disabilities.



“It felt so good when I got the news that I was hired; I’ve since become a morning person!” David now starts his day bright and early at 4:30 AM, cleaning the restrooms, emptying trash, cleaning the cafeteria and cleaning counters and microwaves.

Reaching Milestones with Support from PRIDE’s Employment Services​

With the help of a PRIDE Job Coach and additional training by Cintas, David has excelled in his position. “I believe that happiness spreads easily, and I love going to work,” said David. “Every day, I’m always there with a smile. Around Cintas, I’m known for my change collection, especially lucky pennies.”


“David comes to work happy every day,” said Cintas HR Manager Jessica Armijo. “His energy gets the rest of the team motivated as well.” Due to his excellent work record, David received the Golden Broom Award, which involved recognition from management, along with a reward and polo shirt.


After receiving a performance raise in June, David was able to reach a significant milestone by moving into his own apartment. “With the paycheck from my job, I finally got to move out of my mom’s place and have earned more independence. I now look forward to continuing my career at Cintas, I feel like a valued member of their team.”


Find out how PRIDE Industries Employment Services can provide you with job search help and support, or apply for a job with PRIDE Industries today. 

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David Driggs
David Driggs

“With the paycheck from my job, I finally got to move out of my mom’s place and have earned more independence. I now look forward to continuing my career at Cintas, I feel like a valued member of their team.”

Roughly half a million Americans use American Sign Language, or ASL. However, applicants who are deaf often face barriers to employment due to a lack of understanding of ASL translation resources. Despite their qualifications, these individuals struggle to secure positions in their chosen industry. 


PRIDE Industries provides employment services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to help bridge the communication gap between employers and applicants. Employment services include assistive technology, on-site video translation, ASL interpreters, and ASL-trained job coaches.  

Sezne Hernandez, Deaf Interpreter

Meet Sezne Hernandez, Deaf Interpreter

Generous donors make it possible for PRIDE Industries to offer the PRIDE Ascend program, a training initiative that empowers people with disabilities to gain technical skills and attain industry-based certifications in El Paso, TX, and Sacramento, CA. 


Participants receive an assessment and meet with PRIDE’s dedicated staff to explore career interests and job placement. Accommodations and instruction are tailored to each individual while they receive the training needed for the workplace to ensure success.


Job Developer Sezne Hernandez has been with PRIDE Ascend since 2016. She has worked with several businesses in the El Paso region to place people with disabilities.


“I started learning American Sign Language in 2014, after finishing my general education courses at El Paso Community College (EPCC). I was enrolled in classes at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to study speech therapy. My college advisor suggested I return to EPCC to complete a few ASL classes to accommodate any potential clients who are deaf or hard of hearing.


I signed up for one class and became hooked. Observing my professor who is deaf working together with his interpreter interested me so much that I decided to continue studying ASL. I earned an Associates of Applied Science in Sign Language / Interpreter Preparation with a Certificate of Completion in American Sign Language-Deaf Studies.


I completed state-required courses through the University of North Texas’ Workplace Inclusion & Sustainable Employment (UNTWISE). I am Texas-certified as a Job Coach and Job Developer and provide sign language interpretation. In July 2016, I was hired as a Job Coach/ASL Interpreter at PRIDE Ascend in El Paso, TX, and promoted to Job Developer in 2018. I am expanding my skillset with Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT) to support clients in other programs that PRIDE Ascend provides.”E

Full Range of Employment Services for the Deaf

Sezne works with 15 to 20 individuals at a time to prepare and place them in employment. Like many of PRIDE Ascend’s members, her services include:  

  • conducting employment training
  • tailoring resumes
  • practicing interviewing 
  • supporting pre-employment training for individuals referred to PRIDE 
  • assisting clients with job applications and with navigating through the interview process.

While meeting with different employers to establish partnerships, Sezne passionately explains how PRIDE partners with businesses to meet their needs by providing qualified candidates. She also shares PRIDE’s range of services, such as on the job support and trial internship opportunities (funded by PRIDE’s generous donors). 


“Some employers are intrigued by our unique services and mission; however, some are skeptical,” she says. “Often, I serve as an educator to help change the common stereotype that an individual’s disability will affect their performance.”

Once clients are hired, Sezne facilitates job coaching to provide support and guidance during the initial job transition and to check on their progress throughout their employment. She also ensures that both the employer and employee continually overcome obstacles to communication, such as properly using video relay services. 


“My most memorable moment was job coaching a client on a construction site last year. Initially, the owner was skeptical if the client could do their required job or drive a vehicle. However, after hiring the client, the ‘bridge’ to success was created. The client began conversing with his team, introduced Deaf culture to them, and we worked together to teach his colleague’s sign language and gestures. His team opened up, and the client began to thrive. He became a manager only after three months!

Need employment placement support?

Contact our I AM ABLE Helpline to discuss your options.

“It’s always the best feeling when my clients get a job, especially if they have been searching for a long time. It encourages me to be a part of someone’s life success.”

In recent years, technology improvements have made translation easier between those who use ASL and those who speak. However, more than 50% of Deaf Americans do not work due to obstacles to obtaining employment, despite their qualifications. PRIDE Industries offers job training and placement services to help applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing to overcome employment barriers and progress in their careers.


Monica Salazar was one such individual. “I was working at a job manufacturing garments, but was laid off when business slowed down. Looking for a new job is a struggle since I am Deaf and communicate via American Sign Language (ASL). Communication was a barrier – even in getting an interview, I was out of work for half a year and began struggling financially.”


To overcome these challenges, Monica sought help from the Texas Workforce Commission’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services; her counselor suggested that she enroll at PRIDE Ascend in El Paso, TX.

Job Training and Placement for People with Disabilities

PRIDE Ascend was created to meet the growing demand for skilled labor and help people with disabilities overcome employment barriers. The program helps people with disabilities gain technical skills and earn industry-based certifications in El Paso, TX, and Sacramento, CA.


Participants receive an assessment and meet with PRIDE’s dedicated staff to explore career interests and job placement and training opportunities. Each individual receives accommodations, training, and instruction tailored to their needs to ensure workplace success.


Monica graduated the program with an NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) certificate in Construction Technology. She also earned an OSHA 10 Safety Card. Once she obtained the certificate, Ascend’s Employment Services staff placed Monica into a paid internship at the Hampton Inn, which was made possible by generous donors to PRIDE Industries Development and Donor Services.


“After making the connection and sharing information about PRIDE’s job training and placement services, Hampton Inn’s General Manager Gabe Ayoub was very enthusiastic about having Monica as an intern,” said Sezne Hernandez, Employment Placement Specialist.

Ongoing Training and Support after Placement

During her internship, Monica vacuumed the halls, cleaned restrooms, maintained the swimming pool area and gym, did laundry, and more. She excelled in this welcoming environment, and after her 90-day internship, Monica was hired on the spot as a Houseman. In addition to her internship tasks, she uses her construction skills performing maintenance in guest rooms, painting, and caulking.


Along the way, PRIDE Ascend’s job training and placement services were available to Monica. She received resources and encouragement as she transitioned into her full-time position from her internship.


“PRIDE Ascend’s support helped me be successful in my classes, allowing me to obtain a certificate and to gain the skills that I use today in my job,” said Monica. “Through the internship, I was able to learn a lot, and my job coach helped me transition into my new position, which eventually led me to getting hired permanently!


From the support of PRIDE Ascend and my co-workers, I have found success. Through overcoming the challenges of entering a new career field, I have become more motivated and will continue working hard to achieve my goals, including obtaining my driver’s license and buying a vehicle, as I currently take public transportation. I am working to become a supervisor in my department and saving to buy a house.”

Need employment placement support?

Contact our I AM ABLE Helpline to discuss your options.
Monica Salazar and Hampton Inn’s General Manager Gabe Ayoub

“To facilitate communication, he posted a chart with signs for the ASL alphabet, and immediately had all the staff learn how to sign Monica’s name in ASL, as well as 'good morning' and 'good evening' so she would feel welcomed and as a part of the team.”

For more than 20 years, Robert Teaff owned a swimming pool cleaning business. He first left his business to care for his three children. Unfortunately, he then encountered personal hardship and found himself facing homelessness. With a learning disability and limited resources, he sought assistance from PRIDE Industries’ career coaching services in the hopes of re-entering the workforce with a long-term career.  

Comprehensive Career Coaching Services

“I learned about PRIDE Industries while job searching on my own,” said Robert. “The mission to create jobs for people with disabilities and the opportunities for advancement all convinced me that it was a great company to work for. Through my Department of Rehabilitation Counselor, I was referred to PRIDE Industries’ Employment Services Office in Woodland, CA, in Spring 2019.”


At PRIDE Industries Robert connected with job coach Alissa Villegas to shape the skills needed to re-enter the job market, starting with building his resume from scratch.“When I first came to PRIDE, I didn’t even have a resume, since I had never needed one,” Robert shared. With help from Alissa, he built his resume, honed his computer skills, and showcased his abilities to potential employers.


To help Robert reach his goal of working for PRIDE Industries, Alissa contacted PRIDE’s Recruiter at the Sacramento International Airport to recommend a job interview. In June 2019, Robert aced the interview and the recruiter hired him as a Custodian. “I felt so happy when I heard that I got the job; it was the best feeling in the world,” said Robert.

Job Coaches Dedicated to Post-Search Success

Once an applicant successfully searches for and lands a job, PRIDE Industries’ career services team provides ongoing support. This support ensures lasting success and satisfaction for the employee. 


HR Representative and Case Manager Tameka Rich and Job Coach John Edwards arranged job coaching sessions. These sessions checked in on Roberts progress at his new job. After only a month, Robert was already receiving comments through PRIDE’s First-Class Customer Service Program regarding his excellent work. 


“I feel appreciated and enjoy getting praised for what I do,” said Robert. “I am often thanked by people for cleaning the bathrooms so well and told that they are the cleanest they’ve ever seen.”


The following comment in particular called out Robert’s thoughtfulness:


“I have a temporary disability and needed to use the restroom, which was closed for cleaning. I asked through the taped-off section if the custodian could come to the entrance. After Robert saw I had a disability, he opened it up for me to use. This courtesy demonstrated Robert going above and beyond to accommodate me.”


Robert loves his job and is enthusiastic about his bright future. “I am proud to represent PRIDE Industries at the Sacramento Airport,” he said. “Without their help, I’d still be looking for a job today! My new goal is to work my way up to a custodial lead or supervisor, or possibly a job coach to help others with disabilities succeed in their jobs. With the earnings from this new job, I am also saving up money for a new apartment for my family and cat.”

“My job means everything to me. It’s the heart of my life. I feel worthy and confident.”

We can help you achieve your goals

PRIDE’s Job Developers assess each client’s strengths, abilities, and career interests to help make job placements through community employer connections.

“Despite my learning disability and being out of the formal job market for so long, I found that getting back in was an easy experience!”

With motivation and drive, as well as the support of on-the-job training programs, John Miller Madrid rapidly built his career. Soon after graduating from high school, he started working as an Associate at Amazon’s Sort Center in San Bernardino, CA. “Before starting my job, I worked with my uncle in his mechanic shop, helping fix cars and cleaning the shop,” said John. “I enjoyed working with cars and started considering commercial driving as a career field.”


John desired to grow in his role at Amazon while working toward his goal of earning a CDL. To this end, John sought on-the-job training and support from PRIDE Industries. Ultimately, the support helped him succeed while making the workplace accessible in light of his learning disability.

After the Hire: On-the-Job Training Programs for Long-Term Success

As an Alternative Workforce Supplier for Amazon, PRIDE Industries partners with the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR). In this role, PRIDE places referred candidates with disabilities into warehouse associate positions across California. To ensure success, PRIDE’s team of job coaches provides training, encouragement, and career advice.


John began working at the Amazon Sort Center in San Bernardino, CA. There, he categorized customer orders by their destination in the Southern California region. Next, he consolidated the orders onto trucks for rapid delivery. This incredibly fast-paced job requires accuracy and attention to detail.


“From the beginning, PRIDE’s staff provided beneficial training, and their on-site assistance gave me reassurance that someone was always there to help me,” said John. “I have auditory processing disorder (a learning disability that impacts the brain’s ability to filter and interpret sounds), which can make listening difficult. With their help, I learned quickly, and soon my managers knew that they could rely on me.”


John quickly proved his skills and earned a promotion. He then began to work with inbound and outbound delivery. Notably, his manager nominated him for the Top Performer Award in 2018 for hard work and willingness to help his team.

From Training to Moving Ahead

Meanwhile, John didn’t forget about his love of cars and his ultimate career goal.


“John had originally expressed an interest in working with vehicles, and we encouraged him to work towards a commercial driving position,” said PRIDE Employment Relationship Coordinator Mayra De Alba-Cajas. “The perfect opportunity appeared in 2019 when John applied and was hired for a Yard Hostler position due to his excellent performance record.” (A yard hostler directs vehicles at parking or docking areas to move, position, or park trucks or trailers.) 


During hostler training, John worked in the yard shack to supervise night shift trucks. After completing his training, he took responsibility for organizing semi-trailers in the yard. 


In 2019, funded by Amazon, John earned his CDL and began working as a truck driver with C.R. England. He thanked Amazon and PRIDE Industries for helping him reach his career goals. 

Need employment placement support?

Contact our I AM ABLE Helpline to discuss your options.
John Miller Madrid
John Miller Madrid

”Working at Amazon has changed my life. I have developed a career track and improved my communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills.”