Oscar’s Success at Handz-On Inc!


Oscar is a 57 year-old Opportunity Services client in Springfield, Massachusetts who has found success with his employer: Handz-On Inc. Oscar is originally from Puerto-Rico and moved to the US following a near-fatal accident while working in the construction industry. Oscar had a 20-year career in construction but would not let his accident hold him back. Instead he started looking for a new career path in Springfield, Massachusetts.

After completing an Associate’s Degree in Massage Therapy Oscar, whose native language is Spanish, started working with Sheryl Cruz, a Bilingual Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission in March of this year. Sheryl had already collaborated with Opportunity Services earlier in the year, so when Oscar mentioned he was looking for an opportunity to work with others in a community setting, Sheryl knew where to look for help! “Oscar has a great attitude and is extremely motivated, so I knew it wouldn’t be difficult to find a good employment fit for him,” said Sheryl. Kat Mangiafico, Supervisor of Supported Employment with Opportunity Services, already knew that Handz-On Inc. was searching for a bilingual employee, so it was a natural fit! “It was fate,” said Kat. “Oscar was looking for a new opportunity, while I knew Handz-On Inc. was looking for a qualified individual like him.” The entire process moved very quickly and Oscar was employed only 3 weeks after starting to work with Massachusetts Rehabilitation Services and Opportunity Services.

Oscar impressed Brenda Williams, New Business Developer with Handz-On Inc. the second he walked in for his interview: “Oscar came to the interview prepared and ready to go. He demonstrated great pride for himself and in Handz-On Inc. during our first conversation,” said Brenda. “He has made a great addition to our team.” Handz-On Inc. has been in existence for over 10 years, providing assistance to people with disabilities in their homes. They do not shy away from hiring people with disabilities in their own organization and considered Oscar’s disabilities as strengths.

Madeline Laboy, Peer Support Manager with Handz-On Inc. is Oscar’s direct supervisor. Madeline speaks fluent Spanish so any language barrier with Oscar has been easy to overcome! “It has been amazing to see the clients flourish with the help of Oscar,” said Madeline. “His positive and can-do attitude rubs off on our clients.” In particular, one Handz-On Inc. client is known to be challenging has found great success with Oscar. This client actually requests to work with Oscar because of his patience and encouraging energy!

Oscar is quick to thank his entire team for the role they played in his newfound employment. He is grateful to everyone for their support and is looking forward to his employment journey with Handz-On Inc. Oscar’s success at Handz-On Inc. is a great example of the Americans with Disabilities Act in motion! By looking beyond the disability, Oscar and Handz-On Inc. have forged a great relationship benefiting both parties and creating lasting relationships in the community!