Mohamed came to the United States as a young child. However, because of a hearing impairment, he wasn’t sure what would be possible for him to accomplish when he grew up. Mohamed learned American Sign Language (ASL) and was able to finish high school.
He received SSDI benefits rather than a paycheck, but he didn’t want to remain dependent on his benefits.
I wasn’t working, but I wanted to be independent. And so I contacted VR and they said they could help me find a job.
Mohamed’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency met with him one-on-one to give him some guidance and help him fill out some job applications. Because he didn’t have an employment history, his VR agency gave him experience working in a production environment so that he could gain skills. His VR team provided him with benefits and financial counseling, communication training, and job placement services.
Mohamed and his VR counselor sent a letter to Pitney Bowes, a mail and shipping company. After a few months, the company contacted Mohamed about a job opening in their mailroom. They gave me a tour and I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what to expect, but when they gave me a tour here, I thought: This is really neat.
During his training, Mohamed learned to work with the machines that sort the mail, checking barcodes to ensure top quality. After the 3- to 4-month probation period, he accepted a full-time position with Pitney Bowes, after weighing the pros and cons of moving from benefits to employment. “I looked at the difference between the benefits, the SSDI benefits and full-time work. And I decided that I wanted to do full-time work. I thought that benefits would outweigh the benefit of the SSDI benefits I was getting.”
During a job site visit, Mohamed’s VR counselor spoke with his supervisor Rachel. After more than a year with Pitney Bowes, she said that he is succeeding. “He has a great attitude. He’s always happy and smiling and friendly, gets along with his coworkers. He’s dependable, so it’s a pleasure working with him.”
Mohamed comes to work smiling every day. While getting training through VR, he learned that finding a job can be difficult. But his dedication and determination led to a successful job match made during a time of economic difficulty.
Through his job, Mohamed has found the independence that he was seeking.
Now that I’m working at Pitney Bowes, my life has changed drastically. I have health benefits. I am working full-time. My life is … just very different. I plan to keep this job forever.
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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