Disability Employment Awareness Month – Shaun McDonald
October is Disability Employment Awareness Month. We are celebrating by highlighting a different member of our community each week of October.
What is your job and how did you get started?
I am a baker at Clyde’s in Chevy Chase.
Photos by Shaun McDonald
I graduated from Sunflower Bakery on Ziggy Lane. My TLC Outcomes counselors helped me apply for Sunflower’s internship program. I trained there to work on getting a job in baking.
Sunflower connected me with Clyde’s for an 11 week internship. And then after that internship finished I asked if they’d want to hire me. They said they’d talk about it. I had to keep in touch with them a couple of times. Then they called me back, gave me my hours and I started working with them.
What’s a typical day at your job?
I drive to Shady Grove Metro, then take the metro up to Friendship Heights.
Each morning I have to make 50 pounds of house bread. On Tuesdays I make 25 pounds cause it’s not as busy. Chef Marian taught me how to mix the ingredients so I can do it myself. After I finish the bread mixes, [my coworker Manuel and I] lift the mixer bowl and dump the bread dough on top of the table thats already greased with Pam spray. Then we cover it and let it rise.
While that’s rising, I have to take all of the desserts that Chef Marian and I made up to the dessert station.
Then, I go back downstairs. I have some recipes I have to do before the bread rises. Then, when it’s done, I roll out the bread.
There’s a lot of time managment skills in the bakery. Not much down time.
Who supports you at your job?
Chef Marian taught me a lot of the recipes. And my coworker Manuel watches over me. We get along well, he’s nice. He’s from El Salvador.
What is your favorite part of your job?
It gives me something to do. I don’t have much to do when I get home. I mean, I have friends, but you can’t always just hang out. Work is kind of like a hobby…it’s my something-to-do job.
My dream job would be to maybe work at Clyde’s for awhile, then open up something – maybe a pancake house. We make pancake batter on Sundays and I’m really good at that.
I love cooking as well. I do that as a hobby at home. I also bake desserts for Thanksgiving. I make apple pie and pumpkin pie from the Sunflower curriculum book. I’m good at both cooking and baking.
What would you say to other people with disabilities who are currently seeking a job?
Keep applying and try anything. When I was at TLC Outcomes, I applied for like 20 jobs. I got two interviews at Harris Teeter, but I didn’t get a job. There’s so much competition out there. I applied for 20, maybe other people could apply for 100 jobs and get more than just two interviews.
TLC Outcomes and DORS helped me out a lot, plus I did a lot of research about internships on the company websites.
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