NDEAM Success- Walter in Rochester, MN


Did you know October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month? The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. Opportunity Services is a local nonprofit that assists adults with disabilities in finding employment in the community. All throughout the month of October and beyond, Opportunity Services will be sharing client success stories.

Walter, a 20-year-old Opportunity Services client in the Rochester, Minnesota area is working at a job he loves! Walter started collaborating with Opportunity Services in June 2015 during a Work Evaluation. The Work Evaluation Program with Opportunity Services is a one-on-one community-based work trial. The participant typically works at 2-4 different businesses in various job roles to figure out strengths and weaknesses and what type of job would be the best fit! Walter worked at The Dollar Tree, stocking shelves and at a nursing home called Cottagewoods Senior Communities. Walter really enjoyed working at Cottagewoods Senior Communities because he had the opportunity to get to know the residents. “I’m very quiet at first when you meet me,” said Walter. “But I really liked working at Cottagewoods because the residents got to know me and I came out of my shell!”

Following his Work Evaluation with Opportunity Services, Walter graduated from Byron High School and requested to work with Opportunity Services again to find permanent employment. Currently Walter’s been working at Walmart as a cashier. He loves the fast pace and getting to talk with customers! And he’s good at his job- in just 3 months time he has received the “Cashier of the Day” Award 3 times! This means Walter had the most scans per hour of any cashier on the floor that day.

“I cherish working with Walter,” says Opportunity Services Employment Specialist, Lori Callahan. “From the moment I met him, he impressed me with his positive energy and can-do attitude. He is very attentive to the Walmart customers and his smile can brighten up anyone’s day.”

Eventually Walter would like to go to college and continue in a career where he is helping other people- something he has learned from the staff at Opportunity Services: “I always knew I wanted to work with Opportunity Services. From the moment I met the staff, I knew they cared about me as a whole person. They have helped me find a job and care about my wellbeing. They are great people!”

Congratulations on your employment success, Walter- your story is why Opportunity Services continues to help adults with disabilities find employment in the community. Stay tuned for more success stories during National Disability Employment Awareness Month and beyond!