award_maria_conde(West Palm Beach, FL) On Tuesday, March 28th Maria Conde, a Career Resource Specialist in our Palm Beach market, was awarded a Success-at-Work Award at a team meeting. The award was presented following a nice description of Maria’s placement successes by Susan Abel, the Palm Beach director, who nominated her. Steve Wood also noted that while Maria is currently in sixth place companywide with 22 placements, she has done this working part-time. Her placements would be 35 if she worked full-time, which would put her nearly in first place. In making her nomination, Susan highlighted Maria’s commitment to the individuals we serve and especially the work she did with Ramon. Here is what Susan wrote about how Maria delivered on Ramon’s placement:
“Ramon is one individual Maria helped who stands out as a true success story. Maria and I first met Ramon and his mom at a transition conference while he was still in High School. Ramon and his mom approached the table looking for information about employment. Suzanne asked questions, picked up a brochure and spoke calmly to us as she redirected 6 foot 6 inch Ramon from taking all the brochures, all the business cards and all the Pay Day bars from our booth. Ramon walked over to the trash can and started to pick out pieces of trash, stuffing every little piece of paper into his pockets. His mom told us Ramon has autism and doesn’t speak but understands. A year later, when he graduated, he was referred to us through VR for a Vocational Evaluation. Often, a Vocational Evaluation is a step a VR counselor uses when he/she isn’t sure whether community employment is a realistic outcome. Ramon couldn’t sit still through the intake process. He constantly got up, dug through the wastebasket, picked up papers from the tables, put them in his pockets, picked up pieces of lint from the carpet and stuffed them into his pockets. The VR counselor, Ramon and his mom decided on a job goal of picking up trash. They really didn’t know what he could or couldn’t do for work.

Maria stated she was challenged by assisting Ramon find a job site for a Vocational Evaluation. She jumped in to the task enthusiastically and used her great relationship with Chris Tina at TJMaxx to secure a site. She approached Chris Tina to allow Ramon to work in the stock room taking plastic wrap off the clothes and unpacking boxes. Chris Tina said yes! Maria coordinated the Vocational Evaluation and then after the 3 days of starting out for a 1 hour at a shift and increasing to 2 hours at a time, TJMaxx wanted to hire him! Maria took what one person might look at as impossible and saw the abilities in Ramon. She truly believes everyone can work. He works 2 days a week 2 hours at a time. Right before Christmas he was asked to increase a day to 4 hours. He was able to work 3 hours that day! Thank you Maria for helping Ramon secure employment, changing the way he sees himself and how others see him in the community.”

In making the presentation Steve Wood presented Maria a certificate which read: Work Opportunities Unlimited, Inc. honors Maria Conde for bringing all our core values to life. Maria’s friendly and enthusiastic approach infects everyone with a “let’s try and can do” attitude and leads to being always on our Top-10 placement list while working part-time. Of special note is her work with Ramon and his success at TJ Maxx. Maria’s wonderful attitude and helpful spirit makes her a great teammate and a Success at Work!

The “Success-at-Work” award, which began in 2000, periodically honors and recognizes team members who have delivered outstanding service to our clients that is consistent with the Company’s core values. Congratulations, Maria!