I graduated from San Jose State University in 2015 with a degree in journalism. I wanted to pursue my dream of finding a job as a journalist. I searched and I searched for a job in journalism. After about a year, I received a package in the mail from East Bay Innovations (EBI), a non-profit organization in San Leandro, California that provides support to people with disabilities who are searching for housing or jobs.
EBI invited me to participate in Project SEARCH at the County of Alameda, where interns with disabilities from cerebral palsy to autism were learning how to work in the workforce. After graduating Project SEARCH at the end of January 2017, I did not have a job for about six months. I spent my days going to bed late and sleeping in late, having breakfast late and lunch at a later time, going for coffee close to where I live in Berkeley, and snacking on fruit or chips while watching movies. Finally, after not having a job for several months, I was contacted by EBI about a possible job. I was excited and happy to come in and discuss what I would be doing for this job and arranging a trial run.
I was hired to work at EBI on July 5, 2017 as a Program Aide. What does my job consist of you may ask? Well, I work on posting jobs on recruitment sites and post advertisements about upcoming EBI projects on the computer. I do many different tasks and routinely check morning emails for new assignments, refresh and post job listings on multiple recruitment sites, and prepare for upcoming fundraisers. This job suits me well. My co-workers and supervisors routinely say “hello,” or “good morning,” to me, which is always good. As I got comfortable and more experienced with the job tasks, I began working on a special computer program where I described a new Project SEARCH program at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley in an email, with photos, that would reach more than 1,000 people. I also emailed a bunch of theater/comedy clubs for an auction that EBI was going to have.
I have been working here at EBI for about nine months. In July, I would be working here for a year! Is this my dream job? Overall, I like this job experience, although I don’t like waking up early and commuting back and forth. That is what people do every day though. However, I am getting used to it. I like to listen to music in the car or get some coffee along the way. I know that I like working with friendly staff, learning new tasks, and being in a fun environment with people who are patient and respect me. Would I like to one day work closer to where I am living in Berkeley? I would love to work closer to home but for now, I am one of 3.7 million Bay Area residents commuting back and forth to work. And, I’m glad the work I do contributes to this innovative and growing non-profit agency!
by Talia Geliebter