October 28 – Paul Pace (NDEAM Success Story)

Celebrating Our Successes!

Reflecting the important role that different perspectives play in workforce success, this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.” Observed each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.

The Philadelphia “Employment 1st, Employment NOW!” Steering Committee is celebrating this year’s event with a month of employment success stories. Each day you will be receiving an email containing a new story about someone who is contributing to their community through employment. We invite you to join us as we celebrate their successes!

If You Believe It, You Can Achieve It!

Paul Pace is a life-long learner. Paul is a determined man who seeks knowledge and the opportunity to learn new skills in every area of his life. As a man who is proud of his reading abilities and self-advocacy, Paul has spent his adult years advocating for his independence in his daily life and employment. Paul is not afraid to speak up when he has a question or is in need of accommodations. As a boy, Paul needed a tutor to assist him with his reading. The lessons that he learned during his tutoring years have stayed with Paul his entire life. Paul is a firm believer in working hard for what you want.

Paul has held various jobs over the years working in retail settings. Paul always took on new jobs with an enthusiasm for learning and optimism about his responsibilities. Most recently, Paul spent several years working for a local supermarket as a Customer Service Assistant. While he enjoyed re-stocking the shelves and helping customers find items in the massive store, Paul was frustrated that his manager didn’t recognize his full potential as an employee. When Paul first started at the grocery store, he was determined to learn where all of the products were located. He took home a store aisle guide and memorized it to ensure he would be an efficient re-stocker and customer service resource. Paul’s manager failed to see Paul’s potential and continued to require a job coach to remain with Paul throughout the workday. Paul thrives on independence and felt strongly that he could do more with less support from his SPIN Employment Specialist.

Paul Pace on the job
Paul Pace on the job

Paul has switched careers, and is now a proud employee at Wal-Mart, where he has amazing co-workers led by manager Diane Johnson. Paul loves that his managers see his true talents, believe in him, and allow him to work independently. Paul still receives some support from his Employment Specialist, but no longer requires constant support. This change was helped along by Paul’s determination and hard work. Paul knew that he would be able to do his job independently, but needed to make some changes in order to make this happen. He evaluated the set-up of the janitor’s closet, and which products were needed to complete certain tasks. He developed a new organization system that would allow him to easily identify and access the supplies he needed most. Paul advocated for this change to his manager who was happy to assist Paul in re-designing the closet. Wal-Mart quickly realized that Paul’s simple request would have a profound impact on the other employees as well. They has seen a decrease in the time it takes to clean up a spill and this has led to increased customer satisfaction.

Paul exemplifies the sentiment, if you believe it, you can achieve it. From his early years until today, Paul has believed in himself and proven to others that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible!

~ Submitted by SPIN