With a smile on his face and energy in each move, William Vela diligently stacks the Safeway salad bags in perfect rows. When a shopper stops at the vegetables, he directs his attention to her and asks if she needs help.

These are just some of the job skills William possesses that landed him his Safeway job in 2004 after just one interview. His prior job at Blockbuster, his strong work ethic, and the application and interview skills he learned through Abilities United Employment Services ensured he was hired as a courtesy clerk.

With additional help from Abilities United Employment Services, William quickly adjusted to his new Safeway job. His job coach helped him learn to bag groceries, process go-backs, serve the customer, and maintain the floor. “My coaches helped me a lot and were very important to me to learn my job. So well, that I no longer need job coaching,” states William.
He proved to be a patient and friendly employee, providing excellent customer service to the shoppers.

Safeway store manager Michelle Sukovaty gushes with praise for William, “His biggest asset is his positive attitude and personality. He exemplifies customer service and Safeway hangs our hat on customer service.” When the store needed cashiers and produce workers, Sukovaty suggested that he take the cashier test. “He was next in line for a promotion and he was ready.” Though nervous about his possible promotion, William accepted her suggestion, took, and passed the test. Sukovaty recalled how hard he worked for the promotion, “The test is not easy, it takes a lot of memorization. He put in a lot of effort.”

In addition to his promotion to cashier, William also took on new responsibilities in the produce and dairy departments where he stocks supplies and provides customer service. He glows with pride when he remembers the steps to his promotion in 2006. “My manager saw my potential. She is very happy with my work and me. She never has to tell me to do my work; she knows I’m doing it. I never call in sick, I’m always on time.” He also understands his role on the Safeway team, “They are good guys, and they help me a lot. We’re a team, we’re fast. My team members think I do a great job.” His manager, Sukovaty, confirms William’s value to Safeway, “He helps me a lot and helps me get the employees on board to do what they are supposed to do. It’s fabulous for me, I’ll tell you that. He’s a leader in the department. He’s an excellent employee and a role model for others.”

William is an excellent example of how Employment Services helps individuals become independent, tax paying citizens. With a little help to find a job and guidance to learn the necessary job skills, individuals like William become valuable members of an employer’s team. “Abilities United helped me a lot on my job. It’s a good service. I am proud of my work, my family is proud of me. They appreciate that I help pay the mortgage, insurance, and bills.”
Although William loves his Safeway job, he has big plans for his future. He will continue his education at Canada College and has a dream to become a fireman.

For information about Abilities United Employment Services contact 650-494-0550 or employmentservices@abilitiesunited.org

Written by Wendy Kuehnl, Marketing Director