October 21 – Success at Sodexo

America’s Workforce – Empowering All

Reflecting a commitment to a robust and competitive American labor force, the 2018 National Disability Employment Awareness Month  (NDEAM) theme is “America’s Workforce – Empowering All!” 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 once again celebrating this event with a month of employment success stories. Each day we will be posting another success story about someone who is contributing to their community through employment. For those who have requested to receive our employment announcements, you will receive the link to the story in your mailbox. We invite you to join us as we celebrate the successes of people with disabilities working in our communities!

Success at Sodexo

October 21 – Radojka S.

Radojka and Hank
Radojka & Hank

Radojka S. is about to celebrate her six-month anniversary as an employee of Sodexo. Seems simple enough, but it’s an extraordinary accomplishment for her as she came to USA from Bosnia to escape the turmoil of ethnic conflict and war conditions during the 1990s.Radojka has a disability, and an additional challenge for her employment search was that she does not speak English, only Bosnian. Through the use of an interpreter, Radojka expressed to SpArc Philadelphia where she could use her enjoyment of cooking, meal prep or cleaning.SpArc reached out to Sodexo by directly contacting their Director of Global Diversity, Ms. Puentes. She was receptive to arranging a web-meeting with the local Philadelphia-based hiring managers to introduce SpArc and explain SpArc’s employment services and goals.After a positive interview, Radojka was hired and slated to start work in March as a part-time food prep worker. Her start day was delayed slightly since Radojka formally became a U.S. Citizen on the day she was to begin her job!  Radojka has worked Monday, Wednesday and Friday since then in the Sodexo cafeteria.

Picture of Radojka preparing cheese with grapes
Radojka preparing cheese cubes and grapes

Sodexo has made some small accommodations for Radojka including posting of laminated labels and safety signs that include both English and Bosnian words with symbols and pictures for clarity.  Cue cards were also prepared by SpArc in both languages to assist Radojka during the training process.  Radojka’s coworkers are very supportive and help her to feel she is a full part of the team. Over the summer, the entire crew at Sodexo surprised Radojka with a birthday cake, flowers, and a birthday card signed by everyone.Radojka is VERY happy working for Sodexo and hopes to continue there for a long time.

~Submitted by SpARC Philadelphia