~ Cody Overcomes Challenges and Pursues Independence
“It’s going to happen,” says Cody Rubio. “I get looks from people, and negative attitudes. But you can’t let it get you down. You won’t find the right job if you let it get to you.”
Cody’s challenges have included several physical disabilities, which interrupted his transition from high school to higher education and employment. After breaking his ankle when he was 19 years old, Cody’s doctors discovered he had a more severe problem. For the next seven years, Cody underwent multiple bone extension surgeries to correct his medical condition. These surgeries came at a time when other kids his age were working part time jobs and planning for their futures. Instead, Cody was rehabilitating.
Cody was his own champion. He lead his physical therapy, and has made great progress healing from the surgeries. However, he still has physical impairments and sometimes experiences difficulties when standing for long periods of time without supports. These issues did not deter him from setting some goals for his future.
Ready to catch up for lost time, Cody went to Arizona’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program for services to help him with his employment goals. Cody had enrolled in FullSail University to study design and computer animation. Choosing an online school accommodated his disability well and gave him the additional benefit of a flexible schedule. This was important to Cody because he was interested in gaining some job experience so he could be more independent and take care of himself.
Cody was referred by VR to Beacon Group where he received help with resume development, interview skills, and soft skills training. Because he had spent nearly a decade in and out of the hospital, Cody had zero job experience, and no idea how to navigate the job search process. But he was smart and determined. Working with Beacon employment specialists Jessica Winchester and Frances Miller, Cody landed a part time job at Walmart working as a cashier. He aced his training and orientation and was “on the floor” in just a few days working with customers.
Frances remarks that Cody’s journey was unique in that “he is very mature for his age and is self-aware. He has been able to increase his stamina by making adjustments that allow him to work more hours.”
Cody and Frances appreciate the supervisors at Walmart who have helped make accommodations for Cody to succeed at his work. And Cody is quick to offer praise about several of his coworkers, who in one instance, rushed to provide a chair to assist him to prevent a case of nausea caused by his condition. Even some early skeptics at the store have come around as they’ve observed his quick progress and determination.
Cody’s supervisors were so impressed with his initiative that he was First Shift Associate of the Month his first month there. And just a short time into the job he is being cross-trained in another area, in advance of some of his more veteran peers. He says that “This job boosts my confidence. I’ve had issues with self-doubt. People aren’t supposed to judge, but it does happen, and you can’t help notice it. But doing well on the job allows me to put that aside.”
“It’s such an inspiration to see how Cody does such a good job at representing himself. He just lets go of the “dumb things’ and keeps pursuing his goal,” says Frances.
It’s clear that Cody’s ambition and positive attitude have helped overcome his lack of experience and self-doubts. He is hopeful about his future plans to work in computer design, and grateful to be less dependent on others. His advice to people with disabilities who want to work is to “Move on. Don’t let your struggles or judgement from others get in your way. Prove to others, but most importantly, prove to yourself, you can do it. You can work and be just like everyone else. Your disabilities make you special so shine!”