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Student Hopes to Work in Criminal Justice

News for 10.01.14
10.01.14
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First Job

Bobby describes himself as a social person, so after graduating from Capuchino High School in San Bruno, he looked forward to working. His first job was during the 2008 presidential election, setting up a polling place, handing voters forms, and directing them to voting machines.

It turned out he was overly enthusiastic – due more to the excitement of his first job than his mild autism and ADHD. He recalls, “I annoyed a lot of people, so they asked me to leave early. I thought it was funny that I was fired for being too enthusiastic. I didn’t know you could get fired for that!”

Although Bobby admits he was “bummed” about that job, he soon enrolled in general education courses at Skyline College. During that time, Bobby said “I was a bit affected by mass media and the cop shows on TV. Cops are the good guys, and I decided I would like to be a good guy, too.”

Employment Services and Support

He put his enthusiasm to work and began classes toward an AA in Administration of Justice. While Bobby was still in college, he was referred to Community Gatepath for help finding a job. “I kept trying and trying on my own, but I couldn’t get through the interviews,” explained Bobby.

Thanks to a weekly job club at Gatepath, he was able to hone his job-readiness skills, learn how to fill out an application and dress for an interview. “I found the job support very helpful,” said Bobby.

“It gave me some relief because it took some of the burden off my shoulders and reduced my worry about failing another interview, and disappointing my parents and myself,” he said. “I really wanted the opportunity to earn money.” Bobby’s hard work paid off, and he was hired as a Courtesy Clerk at Safeway. He spent the next year bagging and loading groceries, collecting carts in the parking lot, and cleaning up bathrooms and spills in the aisles. “It was great because I had a job coach when I first started…. If I was having problems during work, I could call Gatepath to help me sort it out,” said Bobby.

When the store closed for remodeling, Bobby lost his job. He picked himself up and transferred to San Francisco State University (SFSU) to resume his studies in Criminal Justice. Bobby also sought Gatepath’s help finding another job. He got a job at Lowe’s and has already been promoted to a customer service position.

“This was great,” Bobby said. “Having my job closer to home and BART was really convenient. It helped me get back and forth between school and work.” But, Bobby shared the best part about working at Lowe’s is his co-workers. “They are just great people. They have really accepted me for who I am.”

Live your Dream

After graduation from SFSU, he intends to join a police academy where he sees his autism as an asset to the community because of his unique perspective.

“I don’t care how other people see me. I’m comfortable with myself. I can always prove them otherwise,” he says. A skill he will no doubt put to good use in his next profession.