After being struck by a car in 2017 and sustaining multiple fractures and a traumatic brain injury, this saying provided inspiration during Sherryl Kubel’s long recovery. As a result of the accident, Sherryl’s speech, memory, and movement were all affected, making it necessary for her to re-learn how to complete many basic life skills. This advice—slow before fast—gave her the room to do so.
Sherryl would also soon apply this to another milestone; after more than a year of physical rehabilitation and three months of brain rehabilitation, she was medically released for work. She wanted to embark upon the second pillar of her recovery: employment.
Upon conducting some initial research, Sherryl quickly discovered that finding a job wouldn’t be easy. Only about 20 percent of people with disabilities are employed. When it comes to getting hired, they find themselves up against myths and stigma—which is unfortunate not only for people eager and skilled to work, but also for potential employers who miss out on the benefits this workforce boasts: high retention rates, low turnover, and low absenteeism—to name a few.
Creating a Path to Employment
Fortunately, Sherryl’s search led her to the California Department of Rehabilitation which, in turn, referred her to PRIDE Industries. There, she was linked to our job developers who helped her with every step in the job-hunting process.
“They showed me how to write a resume, how to write a cover letter, how to fill out applications, and how to interview,” says Sherryl. “I learned how to seek accommodations and ask for them if needed, and then they worked with me on skill-development toward my employment goal of office assistant.
Sherry’s job coaches also trained her in various office skills, including data entry, phone etiquette, software, and even Zoom-meeting practice.
“At each level, my job coaches gave me the space to ‘go slow before I went fast’—a strategy that proved, as it had during my rehabilitation, fruitful.”
From there, Sherryl underwent one of the most helpful parts her PRIDE Industries’ program: a simulated work environment. For three weeks, she went to the Natomas branch every day as if going to a full-time job.
“While I did this, they tested me on around 50 different tasks, providing feedback on my strengths and weaknesses. This helped me to clearly understand what I needed to work on going forward.”
After that, PRIDE Industries offered Sherryl a five-month internship in the proposal department as a Proposal Development Assistant. From there, she was offered a full-time position in the same department. That’s where she is today, and her coworkers couldn’t be more pleased. Of course, they are.
Not only does Sherryl bring her own unique qualities and skills to the position, but she also underscores an employment truth: The presence of people with varied abilities in an organization, at large, boosts inclusivity and drives innovation. Moreover, people with disabilities boast higher retention rates and lower absenteeism than their counterparts.
“I’m on my way to building my career as a proposal writer,” said Sherryl. “It’s like a dream come true!”