Work Opportunities Unlimited (WOU) relies on successful partnerships with employers to provide meaningful jobs and job training for people with barriers to employment. In recognition of their excellent example of this partnership, WOU has awarded Regal Cinemas in Coral Springs, Florida a plaque for their continued support and employment of people with disabilities. Regal’s General Manager Taylor Kron accepted the plaque along with Assistant Manager Rahanna Ali, VR Counselor Dorian Hutchins, and Regal Ticket-Taker Justin Wrobel. WOU Career Resource Specialist Tommaso Fattovich has successfully placed three clients at this location: Justin, Sheldon, and Shawn. Tommaso says, “Each one of these wonderful individuals has been facing their own challenges to get a job and keep it, but they have never given up on trying to do the best they can.”
The WOU and Regal Cinemas Coral Springs partnership all started about a year ago when Tommaso first accompanied Justin and Shawn to interview with Taylor for job openings. Honed by years of hiring experience, Taylor’s philosophy is to give everyone a chance. She says, “If you can give them a little bit of an example of what the job is during the interview, that’s a good way to see if they would be a good fit for whatever job you’re hiring for.” When Justin and Shawn mentioned that they weren’t comfortable working on a register, she asked them to try other tasks like reading the theatre’s complex movie schedule and using a scanner. They aced these tasks, so Taylor knew right away that they were great candidates and hired both Justin and Shawn at the same time! She can count on them to notify management via radio if there are any issues in the building, for instance if persons are trying to sneak into a movie, or if patrons require assistive technology. Taylor says, “Shawn is very good at communicating and he really takes charge. He frequently works weekends because we know that he’s able to control the lobby.” Justin is a ray of sunshine for theatre goers; Taylor shares, “Justin always has a positive attitude. I wish everyone had that… He’s always happy to be here.”
Sheldon was hired several months ago and is another fantastic addition to the Regal Cinemas team. Taylor says he is a well-rounded employee and willing to help wherever he’s needed, “…so he works in pretty much every position. For example, if someone calls out in concessions, but Sheldon is supposed to be cleaning theatres that day, he’s very good about being where we need him. Plus, he’s great with customers when he’s on a register, and he picked it up really quickly.” Justin, Shawn, and Sheldon are all beloved by their fellow employees, who seek them out for high-fives and ask about them when they’re not on the clock.
Regal Cinemas has given Justin, Shawn, and Sheldon the opportunity to build skills and independence, while fostering an atmosphere of inclusion. Taylor says the business is dedicated to “making sure all people are respected and treated well while they’re here, whether it’s an employee or a customer.” She emphasizes that employers shouldn’t underestimate the value that supported employees add to their workforce, because the workers are enthusiastic and job coaches like Tommaso are an asset: “I feel that everyone should be open-minded. As long as the employee can do what you need them to do, even if they need a little bit more help, I think it’s definitely a great thing for sure.”
Taylor admits she was a little shocked when Tommaso informed the Regal Cinemas team that they would be receiving the plaque. “In my mind, I was just doing what I feel is right by [Justin, Sheldon, and Shawn] and by the other employees. It was unexpected, but I thought it was really cool that he and his team thought about us that way.” Taylor is grateful for the WOU team’s support of her employees on the job, saying that one of the best things about working with WOU is the stellar communication and cooperation. She says Tommaso “is just wonderful. He’s very good about keeping everyone informed.”
Tommaso credits his clients’ success in part to the support provided by Taylor and her staff. He says, “Taylor cares so much about her staff and has gone above and beyond to make sure everyone’s voice is heard and all obstacles have been eliminated. She lives by the ‘Try another way’ motto even without being part of WOU.” The recognition that Taylor and the staff of Regal Cinemas have received with this plaque is well-deserved!