Abel’s Journey to Independence
Abel Dullinger is widely known throughout Beacon Group as a dedicated and hard-working employee who loves his custodial job on the night shift at the Sandra Day O’Connor United States Courthouse in Phoenix. Abel grew up in Wittmann, Arizona, just northwest of Phoenix. His employment journey began at age 17 doing painting and landscaping work to help his mom with rent. In 2017, Abel was referred to Beacon Group by the Division of Developmental Disabilities.
Abel spent his first two and a half years at Beacon Group working in the custodial division in group supported employment. Beacon Group supported employment offers a work environment where an individual with a disability is supported by a job coach. The job coach, trains, teaches, and reinforces good work habits with an individual in a one-on-one or group employment setting.
His job coaches and supervisors have recognized Abel as a model worker who shows up on time and works well on his own.
Beacon Group Job Coach Adriene Gentile worked with Abel for 3 months in supported employment at the Sandra Day O’Connor United States Courthouse. “When I became Abel’s job coach, he approached me on multiple occasions with the desire to transition to a staff position,” says Gentile. “He was an independent worker who was focused on his tasks and I coached him to be an advocate for himself and work towards a staff position.”
A year and a half ago, Abel was hired as a staff member for Beacon Group at the courthouse. The contract there is through the AbilityOne Program. AbilityOne is the largest source of employment for people with significant disabilities, by providing products and services for the Federal government.
Now that he is a staff member, Abel no longer requires the support of a job coach and works independently on the night shift at the Sandra Day O’Connor United States Courthouse. In fact, Abel’s favorite part of the job is, “that it’s in the evening, nighttime.”
He continues, “You get used to it. Your whole schedule changes around. I used to be a morning person and now I’m like an evening person. Like stay up most of the night and go to sleep most of the day.”
Each evening, his primary focus is cleaning his entire area, which includes jail cells, conference rooms, and all the staff restrooms. “Cells probably take the longest, its big”, says Abel. “Restrooms don’t take as long as the cells.”
In each jail cell, Abel mops the floors, disinfects surfaces, and cleans the toilet/sink area. He follows a similar work pattern throughout his shift and finds comfort in his daily routine. Abel says his developmental disability doesn’t slow him down at work and while he says “it takes longer to think”, he has done an outstanding job perfecting his daily routine with the support of supervisor Greg Teske.
Teske states, “I make sure everyone’s got a routine and he has the same routine every day.”
Abel has worked with Teske for the past 7 months. During that time, Teske has helped Abel find his stride as a Beacon Group custodial staff member. Abel enjoys working for Greg and says “I kinda knew him for awhile. You kinda get like a bond or something. He’s making it easier for my job.”
Teske lauds his hard work and describes Abel as a shy person who listens and takes direction well. “He is willing to do whatever you ask him”, says Teske. “It may not always be perfect because occasionally it’s something he doesn’t know, but he’s always willing to just get in there and take care of things.”
In December 2020, Abel’s work effort was recognized during the Beacon Group Holiday Festivity when he received an Outstanding Achievement Award. The award was in recognition of the exceptional progress he has made in pursuit of his goals. This recognition was well-deserved and highlights Abel’s dedication and passion for his work.
As Abel looks to the future, he sees himself staying at Beacon Group and improving his daily routine. He appreciates the opportunity he’s earned at Beacon Group and offers this advice to others who are looking to move from supported employment to staff, “work hard and listen to your job coaches when they show you what to do.”