Working to Empower People > Success Stories
BY Puget Sound Personnel
September 19, 2017

Participant Success Stories

PSP is proud of the partnerships we've forged with the people we serve and outstanding area businesses who value the contribution of a diverse workforce. The following success stories illustrate how working empowers the lives of people with disabilities while contributing to the character of our communities.



City of Bellevue 
Employed Since 2016

When you ask Joe about his new career at the City of Bellevue’s Department of Transportation, his pride is evident when he says with enthusiasm, “I love my new job!” Joe’s employment involves a committed support team made up of PSP staff and champions at the City. Joe is the first supported employee hired under a program developed by the City in partnership with Puget Sound Personnel.

After working in a hospital for many years, Joe was eager to advance his career and work in an office setting. Joe expressed to PSP that he wanted to work in an environment where his wide range of skills would be utilized and valued. In partnership with the City of Bellevue, PSP was able to customize a perfect fit for Joe. Joe’s enthusiasm in performing such tasks as cleaning conference rooms and delivering mail has provided great value to the department.

Joe truly loves his new job and is incredibly proud to be an employee of the City of Bellevue. PSP looks forward to supporting Joe throughout his exciting new career! Read more about Joe’s impact on the City of Bellevue and its embrace of diversity in the workplace. 



Starbucks and Applebee's 
Employed Since 2005

Customers at the Issaquah Gilman Starbucks know they can count on two things when Alexa is working—a spotless lobby and her engaging spirit to brighten their day. When she first met with PSP in 2004, Alexa knew that her favorite coffee shop would also be the place where she found her dream job. A family contact helped open the door for PSP to develop the ideal cafe position for Alexa where her professionalism and ability to remember names, faces and drink orders keep loyal customers coming back.

After expressing a desire for more work hours and added challenge, PSP developed a second job for Alexa as a hostess at Applebee’s in Bellevue in the fall of 2009. As the first and last face patrons see when going through the doors, Alexa makes sure that every customer's experience begins and ends in a positive manner. Her work ethic, attention to detail and love for people have helped make her a workplace success with customers and co-workers alike at both job locations. And, that's a double tall order to fill!



Eurest Dining Services/Microsoft Campus 
Employed Since 2013

There are some smooth moves going on in Café 43 on Microsoft's Redmond Campus. To find them, all you have to do is look for Holly attending to her job as a food service ambassador for Eurest. You'll know her by her warm smile and positively rocking dance moves as she buses dishes and keeps the cafeteria as sparkling as her personality.

Holly joined the Café 43 team in June of 2013. Prior to that, she held a much less demanding job working only three hours per week doing a very repetitive task. Today, Holly is challenged in an interesting and engaging environment and is thriving. Her confidence and skill set have grown along with her work shift that puts her in the heart of the lunch time action Monday through Friday in this busy cafe. With ongoing support from her PSP job coaches coupled with the encourage-ment of her co-workers and supervisors, Holly has simply blossomed in her dream job. In fact, her employment success has her dancing for joy!



City of Seattle 
Employed Since 2011

With great pride and a big smile, David will tell you, "I'm a working man, now!" Securing paid employment after building a long resume of volunteer experience was something David was adamant about when he first came to PSP. A job was developed for him in 2011 with Rite Aid where his responsibilities included restocking misplaced items, facing shelves and greeting customers. 

Seeking both more challenge and enhanced opportunity for David, PSP was able to find him work in the Personnel Department of the City of Seattle. As an Office Maintenance Aide, he performs data entry, maintains the copy machines and helps on special projects. His goal is to continue building his skills and to take on expanded work hours with the City.

Outside of work, David likes to stay busy and is involved in a variety of activities including Young Life, Boy Scouts, karate, horseback riding, downhill skiing and travel. While he spends a lot of time with his family, David is enjoying the independence of living in an apartment with a roommate.



Employed Since 1991

Ask Laila what makes her proud and she'll quickly say "having a job at Microsoft!" and she'll follow that declaration with a big grin. Laila's feeling of accomplishment is well deserved for she has built a career at the company that spans over 20 years and counting.

She began her tenure as a file clerk in the company's corporate purchasing group. When her department's responsibilities were outsourced to another state, PSP was able to customize a position for Laila in the mailing services group run by Pitney Bowes. Working in the mail/sort room, she diligently sorts the inner office memos and mail into the various bins for all the Microsoft buildings. Her knack for numbers translates into accuracy and efficiency in her work where she takes pleasure in finding and correcting errors to keep company correspondence moving along smoothly.

Laila's positive attitude and winning smile are real assets to her department. Her coworkers appreciate her hard work, dedication and willingness to help out with special projects. Laila, in return, gets great satisfaction from "being a professional" and working hard every day to do her very best and make her teammates proud.



MAC Business Unit, Microsoft
Employed Since 2011

Wil proudly wears the coveted "blue badge" of a Microsoft employee with benefits. As a computer Lab Assistant, Wil is working his dream job and feeling "as light as a feather" as he puts it, thinking about what he has accomplished. And that is much.

Wil's pathway to employment involved a committed support system made up of his parents, teachers at the Issaquah School-to-Work program and, most recently, PSP. In his last year of transition, Wil and his parents faced a critical decision. They needed to find an employment vendor willing to "think outside the box" to ensure Wil's aptitude for computers and his artistic capabilities would be put to work to grow his potential.

After interviewing several vendors, the family selected PSP because they felt, "PSP had the professional presence and forward thinking to partner with the kind of companies that could provide Wil with the work environment he desired." Read more about their endorsement of our services. 

Given Wil's interest in computers, Microsoft seemed like a great fit. Working creatively, we developed a position for him as a contract employee. One year later in 2012, Wil was given a raise and asked to join Microsoft as a permanent employee. Wil's job placement made him PSP's 29th supported employee working on the Microsoft campus.



Bellevue High School 
Employed Since 2007

Bellevue High is familiar territory to Steve who has worked a two hour shift four days a week at his alma mater since 2007. While some may view him as having significant barriers to employment, a circle of caring and support keeps him on the job—working in the cafeteria, collecting recycling and dusting in the library.

Getting paid for his hard work was a source of pride for Steve. However, when financial cuts in 2009 eliminated his wages, Steve stayed on as a volunteer. Being productive and interacting with people were things he just wasn't willing to give up. In an effort to build Steve's independence and strengthen his natural supports at the school, Steve's PSP job coach, Maggie, worked with BHS to enlist the help of Student Aides. Each semester a new student will be selected and trained by PSP to provide Steve with the job supports he needs while increasing his integration and socialization into the school environment.

It was a great solution that provided benefits for all concerned. But, Steve still didn't have a paycheck. Again, a coalition of caring people came to the rescue. Led by Maggie, BHS students, parents and friends, a fund raising campaign quickly raised donations to cover Steve's wages for more than two years! With the value of his work clearly reinforced, Steve is enjoying his job and expanded social interactions to the fullest.



City of Seattle 
Employed Since 2004

April had been working as an Office Maintenance Aide in the City of Seattle’s Department of Information Technology (DoIt) since PSP developed her supported employment position in early 2004. During her seven year tenure at DoIt, April provided valuable assistance with delivering mail, filling all printers, fax machines and copiers with paper, maintaining the cleanliness of the conference rooms, shredding confidential documents, and most importantly, labeling and filing all billing documents.

However, in 2010, the filing system for billing changed to a paperless model—eliminating the majority of her workload. Despite PSP's efforts to identify other projects or job tasks within the department, it became evident that April was in grave danger of being laid off.

PSP began to work proactively within the City to develop a more stable position in another department. After extensive marketing, PSP was able to secure a job placement for April in the Personnel Department, working for the Claims Division. In her new position, April is responsible for making copies of massive case files and alphabetizing and filing documents. Her new job tasks are a perfect match for her skill set and have given her a renewed sense of pride and accomplishment.



Pitney Bowes/Microsoft Campus
Employed Since 2003

How has working changed Adam's life? For starters, he's building a satisfying and challenging career with a decade of employment experience at Pitney Bowes. Working in the mail room at Microsoft has also given him the stability to move into his own apartment and become self sufficient in so many ways.

Before Microsoft, Adam worked only four hours a week at a movie theater where his skills were underutilized. PSP knew that Adam's next placement had to tap into his talents, including his exceptional computer skills, great memory and attention to detail. The job developed for him within Pitney Bowes has allowed him to stretch his abilities and take on new challenges over the years. In 2012, Adam's duties expanded to include processing packages in the receiving department. The quality and accuracy of his processing abilities are outstanding which comes as no surprise to those who know Adam is an avid game show enthusiast who has a talent for facts and figures.

Adam's co-workers, managers and PSP all recognize the value he brings to his team. His determination to always give 100% is just how he approaches what he considers a "fantastic" job—a job that has been a true life changer.



City of Seattle 
Employed Since 2009

Jo wanted to work in a team environment where her strong work ethic, excellent people skills and enthusiasm would not only be valued, but would make a difference. PSP met with the Seattle Department of Transportation to develop and customize a position for Jo that would match her skills and interests and provide essential services to the department.

In September of 2009, she joined the City's Policy & Planning Division as an Office Maintenance Aide and has enthusiastically taken to her new career ever since. Jo is responsible for collecting and delivering the mail, copying and scanning documents, maintaining office paper supplies, cleaning the conference rooms and lunch room, and handling special projects. In addition to offering continued job coaching to Jo, PSP helps her coworkers provide the supports needed to ensure her continued workplace success.

Jo truly loves her job and says she wants to work in Policy & Planning for a long, long time. Given PSP's commitment and Jo's strong work ethic, it looks like she is in for a sustained and satisfying career.



Overlake Hospital 
Employed Since 2010

PSP has worked with Joe since 1996 when he was first employed as a courtesy clerk at Safeway. After nine years on the job, Joe expressed an interest in pursuing a career in a hospital setting.  Because of our long standing relationship with Overlake Hospital, PSP was able to customize a position for him that matched his skills and abilities. With PSP’s support and intensive training, Joe became an Environmental Services Attendant at Overlake in 2010. Joe is responsible for a range a tasks including gathering recycling throughout the hospital as well as cleaning the elevators and lounge areas.

His attention to detail and thoroughness is noticed by hospital staff as well as visitors. His supervisor states, “Joe is an incredibly dependable and hard working employee. His positive attitude and desire to do the best he can is evident to his co-workers and everyone he encounters. Overlake Hospital is lucky to have him as part of our team!”

Joe takes great pride in his job and is pleased that his hard work and dedication is appreciated and admired. He has outstanding customer service skills and greets everyone who comes in his work areas with a smile. With a job he loves, Joe, enjoys going to work each day and is looking forward to continuing his career at Overlake for many years to come.



Kirkland Reporter and Glassybaby 
Employed Since 2008

David began working with Puget Sound Personnel through the School-to-Work Program in 2008. In the past 4 years, David has made tremendous strides both professionally and socially.

During his last year of Transition, David expressed interest in performing warehouse work—including lifting, recycling and cleaning tasks. Together, PSP and the Kirkland Reporter customized a paid position for David that benefits the Reporter by fulfilling unmet needs, and allows David to develop professional skills and increase his independence. Currently, David works in the warehouse every Monday, conducting general cleaning and recycling tasks. His efforts keep the warehouse in good shape for when distributers arrive later in the week.

In 2011, PSP presented David with the opportunity to work at Glassybaby. Here, David has also demonstrated professional growth. He does general cleaning, assembles boxes and packages candles for the Glassybaby votives. In addition to working to improve his productivity, PSP is also helping David to increase both his verbal and non-verbal communication. He has made great strides in this area. 

David learns best with gesturing, prompting, cueing and demonstrations, as well as using visual resources that help him grow in independence. PSP has a strong partnership with both of David’s employers and his family to ensure his ongoing success. Working two jobs he loves in the community makes David a really busy and happy individual.



Pitney Bowes/Microsoft Campus
Employed Since 2007

Cassie came to PSP during her last year in high school. By participating in our school to work program, we learned that Cassie was interested in working in an office and wanted to answer phones. Her dream job was to be a receptionist where she could interact with customers. With PSP’s support, Cassie is now working full time on the Microsoft campus and is receiving full benefits. Cassie has received “rave” reviews from her managers, customers and co-workers for her positive attitude, warm smile and strong work ethic. 



Pitney Bowes/Microsoft Campus
Employed Since 1992

Tim has been delivering packages, mail and outstanding customer service across the Microsoft campus for over 20 years. Working with Puget Sound Personnel as his supported employment vendor, Tim got his career started in 1992 with a job in the Microsoft mailroom. When mail services were outsourced to Pitney Bowes in 1996, Tim continued on his career path as a customer service associate with the organization.

Over the years, PSP has helped train and transition Tim as the demands of his job have expanded with the growth of Microsoft. He's successfully handled new buildings and delivery routes, increased mail and package volumes, as well as learning to use new technologies such as bar code scanners and intelligent lockers.

Tim enjoys the independence his position offers him. He takes great pride in assuring each package or mail delivery is handled with care and delivered in a timely manner. Cheerful, efficient and one of the nicest people you will ever meet, Tim is a true advocate for helping enhance the "employee experience" to all he encounters during his day.



Pediatric Associates
Employed Since 2007

Eric came to PSP in 2007 looking for new employment with a strong desire to work in an office environment. Because of a long standing and successful partnership with Pediatric Associates, PSP was able to develop a job for Eric in the Medical Records Department. Eric was initially hired to work at one location in a group of seven pediatric offices and his tasks included pulling charts for patient appointments, returning charts from completed appointments, creating new patient charts and other administrative projects.

As the clinics began transitioning to electronic files under a new paperless system, Eric’s responsibilities changed. He truly rose to the occasion and showed that he could be adaptable, flexible and accommodating to meet the clinic’s ever-changing needs. Eric is now part of a traveling Scan Team and works in various clinics throughout the region preparing files for archiving.

Eric continues to be extremely thorough and detailed in his work and takes great pride in being an Archivist. His coworkers appreciate his positive and willing attitude and say that he is a valuable asset to their workplace. Eric has gone above and beyond the role of a “team player” and is highly regarded by all who have the pleasure of working with him.



Eurest Dining Services/Microsoft Campus
Employed Since 1997

Gunnar is a professional, outgoing and motivated individual. He has been working on the Microsoft campus since 1997. He began working with Eurest as a dishwasher at the Sammamish campus. As a result of Gunnar’s hard work, his dedication to the company and PSP’s support, he received a promotion in April of 2010 and moved to the Bellevue City Center location. At this new café, Gunnar is able to do his dream job and has moved from the dishwashing position to a food prep assistant.

PSP has worked with Gunnar to create appropriate checklists and has encouraged him to use a timer so that he can be as successful as possible. Recently, Gunnar had his debut as a chef when he was able to develop a recipe for a featured entree served at the café. Working with his team to prepare and serve "Gunnar's Sesame Roasted Chicken" was a pivotal moment for Gunnar, his co-workers and the Microsoft regulars who frequent the dining facility. Another career hallmark occurred in February of 2012, when Gunnar was invited to an honorary celebration for his 15 years of service. In every way imaginable, Gunnar is the picture of success.



LSG Sky Chefs 
Employed Since 1987

Ray came to PSP with the dream of having a stable job where he could work for many years to come. PSP worked to develop a customized position as a utility worker at LSG Sky Chefs, where he has been successfully employed for over 25 years. PSP utilized Ray’s strengths to help define his job tasks that include sorting silverware, loading dishes into an automated washer, cleaning trays and pulling carts from trucks.

It is evident that Ray has gained a greater confidence through working and enjoys the independence and freedom that employment brings. Ray lives across the street from his parents in his own home and enjoys the self sufficiency his income provides. Ray’s upbeat personality and warm friendly smile have helped him build relationships with his coworkers and supervisors. Ray arrives at work early every day, just so he can spend extra time at his favorite place—LSG Sky Chefs. Ray’s everyday life truly revolves around his employment at LSG. His parents say that his life has meaning because he has been able to work and contribute to his community for many years in a job that gives him so much joy and fulfillment.



City of Seattle 
Employed Since 1995

Jenny is professional, friendly and motivated. She began working for the City of Seattle in 1995. Puget Sound Personnel worked with Jenny and her co-workers to develop her job responsibilities and provide support around appropriate social interactions. PSP modeled effective communication and encouraged Jenny’s support team to be as direct as possible with her in communicating instructions and job expectations.

Jenny performs a variety of office tasks including making copies, assembling folders, collating papers and stuffing envelopes for mailing. PSP regularly meets with Jenny and her supervisors to ensure the quality and consistency of her work. A variety of checklists have been developed to help Jenny stay on task to meet all of her responsibilities. Written personal and professional guidelines also help remind her of her goals.

Jenny has grown and matured as a City employee and is often complimented on her professional manner. When asked what she likes best about her job, Jenny is quick to respond, “I like my co-workers and I like to stay busy. I take a lot of pride in my work.”



City of Seattle

Employed Since 2009

After Tristan was referred to PSP from the Northshore Transition Academy, we worked with him in our School-to-Work Program to discover his interests, experiences and employment goals. With that information in mind, we looked to our well-established partnership with the City of Seattle to explore customizing a position for him. We arranged an informal interview with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) where Tristan was able to meet the employer and preview the tasks of the job. We negotiated a position for him that matched all his criteria and met the employment needs of SDOT.

As an office maintenance aide Tristan does a variety of tasks. He is responsible for scanning and copying projects, restocking copy machines and printers, delivering and distributing mail, making deliveries and anything else that his co-workers need assistance with throughout the day. He is also responsible for implementing a new file and inventory system for maps. 

As part of our ongoing support services, we have worked with Tristan and his co-workers to develop and add to his job responsibilities. PSP assists with training and builds communication skills to help Tristan and his co-workers work successfully together. As a flexible, hardworking employee, he is a tremendous asset to his department. In return, Tristan says he really likes his desk and getting a paycheck.



Employed Since 2009

Mohamud is a Courtesy Clerk at the Safeway store near his home in Rainier Valley. He speaks Ethiopia's second language, Oromo, and is currently enrolled in English language classes. Despite the cognitive challenges and the language barrier that he faces each day, Mohamud offers the brightest smile in Seattle. Customers at his Safeway ask for him by name to assist them to their cars after he is done bagging their groceries. He escorts the elderly and disabled to their vehicles and returns their motorized carts to the store when finished. When Mohamud hears a request for a clean-up over the intercom, he quickly responds with a mop, broom and slippery floor warning signs. His supervisors and his company rely on him to keep the customers safe and the aisles free of dangerous debris.

Puget Sound Personnel and Mohamud have been working together since 2006 when we met him in our School to Work program. PSP helps him learn new tasks, coordinates on- and off-site training with his supervisors, facilitates communication between his family and Safeway, as well as performs weekly assessments of his work. Mohamud is reliable, punctual and driven. His steady employment has made a positive difference in his life and he continues to learn work and language skills through his job. Mohamud loves his position at Safeway and is excited to continue working there for many years to come.



Eurest Dining Services/Microsoft Campus
Employed since 2010

After moving to Bellevue from California, Marco and his family knew that he would need help in finding paid employment due to his limited English language skills and a learning disability. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) had him investigate local employment vendors to determine which agency would most closely meet his needs. PSP was his first choice.

In our discussions, we learned that Marco wanted to work in food service with a supportive team of co-workers with the hope that some would speak his native Spanish language. After a community based assessment of his skills and abilities, we found that he was very likable, friendly and had an incredible work ethic. PSP used this information to market Marco’s skills in his target area of restaurant utility work.

PSP placed Marco in a part time position on the Microsoft campus with Eurest Dining Services doing what he loves to do. As a utility worker in the kitchen, Marco is part of a wonderful team of co-workers, many of whom speak Spanish. PSP conducted intensive training so that Marco would meet his employer's expectations and be successful in his new position. Since the day he was hired, Marco has not missed one day of work! He says his job is exactly what he was looking for and the Eurest staff are equally pleased to have Marco on their team.



City of Seattle 
Employed Since 1998

PSP worked with the City of Seattle’s Department of Information Technology (DOIT) to develop a job specifically for Steve. PSP brought in an occupational therapist to assist Steve in finding appropriate assistive technology needed to complete tasks. Steve has been working with Seattle Public Utilities as an IT assistant, conducting data entry and document management. With PSP's support, he has worked on various projects over the years, including proofreading SPU's website for the web team, digitizing old paper documents as part of the City's commitment to be as 'paperless' as possible and helping to maintain the City's Help Desk system.

Steve has continually been praised by his coworkers for his help in keeping the employee directory updated and maintaining the City website by posting notices of any server outages and fixing broken or missing links. Steve continues to be an important team member of DOIT and is excited to be celebrating his twelfth year as a City staff member.



Eurest Dining Services/Microsoft Campus
Employed Since January 2010

Chris has had the opportunity to gain different experiences and build on his skill sets throughout his employment history. Chris was employed with Calzone Company for over 8 years where he was responsible for cleaning trays. He earned the additional responsibility of helping on the packaging line, where he excelled.

In January of 2010, Chris was hired at a new cafeteria on the Microsoft campus just a few miles from his home. He is using his skills in packaging and utility work to help in the sushi department. Chris has been able to transfer his skills learned at Calzone & Co to learn his tasks quickly with intensive training from PSP. His previous work experience and interpersonal skills have been a benefit to his new employer.

Chris is thriving in an environment where respect, professionalism, consistency and an outstanding work ethic are valued.


Puget Sound Personnel Inc. 2014-2017

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