Mary Kate always wanted to work with students with disabilities, to help them lead a full life like the one she has made for herself. She has worked as a bus monitor for over eight years, at two different companies.
She worked with a job coach and received unemployment services prior to finding a job with a bus company outside of Worcester, MA, where she worked for six years. After hearing about a new job listing, Mary Kate applied for a position as a bus monitor with a different bus company in the same area.
Thomas, an assistant transportation coordinator, interviewed Mary Kate. At first he was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to complete all the responsibilities of the position. However, he soon found that Mary Kate was more adept than he imagined.
I have to say that she has crossed all those barriers and exceeded beyond them. She doesn’t have any barriers when it comes to the job and I’m very happy about that.
As a bus monitor, Mary Kate ensures that all students get safely onto the bus, buckle up properly, and leave the bus safely at their stops. She works with special education students between the ages of 3 and 22, and enjoys it immensely.
Mary Kate describes working with the whole team as her favorite part of her job:
"When we go to work, we work like a team. We share ideas and that’s why I like it down here. People know what ideas that I have and they want to hear it. They look at me like I’m a same person as everybody else they not shut the door and put me down."
Her co-workers value her role and describe the progress she’s made in her time with the company. They highlight her dedication to her job by pointing out that she takes a taxi to and from work every day (her solution to the transportation challenges she faced). Many of the drivers at the company say she always has a smile on her face, and that she is great with the students.
She has a good rapport with them and very conscientious on the bus. She’s no different to working with anybody else. She’s awesome.
A job coach still works with Mary Kate on occasion, visiting her at work once a month to see how she’s doing. When asked about the process for getting off benefits and finding a job, Mary Kate said:
Getting off benefits and going to work is not that hard. Don’t give up. Follow the dreams and your dreams can do it.
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The SGA Project is funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education Grant # H235L100004