One of the best things about working at Jewel is that he's not alone. DeJaun, 23, who graduated from Al Raby High School last year, works together with his former classmate, Anthony, 19. Urban Autism Solutions helped both young men get their jobs, but Anthony had an assist from DeJuan who was such a dependable employee, his manager asked UAS for another job-ready student to join the team.
Before working at Jewel, DeJuan already had some paid employment on his resume. He worked at the Christy Webber Farm & Garden Center where he assisted with maintaining plants and helping with Christmas trees, and UAS helped get him a job at UCP Seguin where he worked in landscaping using the skills he acquired at UAS' Growing Solutions Farm.
ABOVE: Anthony and DeJuan at Jewel
As much as Dejuan enjoyed his landscaping job, he wanted to find full-time employment, so the UAS team helped him secure a job at a Jewel grocery store in January 2020. “I’ve found that groceries stores are very receptive to hiring people with learning differences,” says Mike Tracy, co-founder and community outreach manager at UAS. DeJuan bags groceries, makes sure the carts are brought in from the parking lot and does some stocking.
A seasoned employee, DeJuan pays it forward by training his former Al Raby classmate Anthony, who also participated in programming at the UAS West Side Transition Academy and worked at Growing Solutions Farm. He was hired on at Jewel in February 2021.
“I really like teaching him how to get things done here, and he’s been doing really well here at Jewel,” DeJuan said of Anthony.