Disabled people struggle to find jobs

KGNS News reporter Orlando Garza tells us how a local group is helping disabled adults find a full-time job.

David's mother has a simple dream for him after David graduates from high school this week.

LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) - Finding a job can be a challenging task, but it can be more of a challenge for people who are disabled.

David Perez lives the average high school kid's life. He hangs out with friends, likes to party, and enjoys playing sports. Pretty average, except David was born with Down Syndrome.

His mother, Norma, has a simple dream for David after he graduates from high school this week.

"My hope is he finds a career he enjoys and participates in and makes a difference in his community," said Norma.

A dream for all mothers - to watch their children grow and be successful someday.

But Cesi Gutierrez knows all too well it's tough for someone with disabilities to get a job. So she's job searching for David and about a dozen more just like him.

"I believe we can learn from someone with disabilities than they ever will because we learn so many things, and we are lacking the patience, empathy, the idea that they have so much to give," said Gutierrez. "They're not someone that's missing someone, they're someone that has something."

Gutierrez says some mainstream businesses such as K-Mart, Embassy Suites, and fast food restaurants are known for accommodating people on the spectrum, but there aren't nearly enough opportunities.

But Gutierrez believes there are several businesses wanting to learn more.

"Not every employer understands the process," says Gutierrez. "That's why I'm saying I'm here June 9. I'm all yours because my goal is to employ as many individuals out in the community because I believe the work place could be so much better if we just give them an opportunity to be a part of that force."

The process is much more tedious than for an average person.

Gutierrez says she spends hours preparing the hopeful employees, and David's mother can't wait until her son lands a job. He wants to work at TAMIU.

"He's really excited about that," said Norma. "So Dr. Keck, if you're listening, we're going your way!"

The group consists of 12 other volunteers. They say they have plans of moving into an office.

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