Man Doesn’t Let Disability Keep Him from Flying High at New Job

Emil Rodriguez, who has disabilities, enjoys his job as a ramp service agent at Spirit Airlines

He was always very polite,” April says. “He makes up for any limitations he has with effort.

Emil Rodriguez has always had a fascination with things that move. That’s why he had his sights set on a career in the automotive or aircraft industry. Emil had depression with learning disabilities, so he knew securing a job might be difficult – but he wasn’t going to give up on his dream. A school counselor suggested Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), a federal-state agency that helps people with disabilities get or keep a job, and he jumped at the opportunity.

Emil met with VR Counselor April Rosenblatt to go over his career goals and make a plan. “He was always very polite,” April says. “He makes up for any limitations he has with effort.”

Emil’s original goal was to work at an automotive company, and VR paid for his training at Atlantic Technical College. Unfortunately, he had trouble with the certification exam, so he decided to give another industry a try. Switching gears, Emil accepted a job as a ramp service agent at Spirit Airlines.

“I mostly park aircraft and move luggage from place to place – from the belt to the aircraft, and then from the aircraft to the belt,” Emil says. “I like being around the aircraft. It’s really fun.”

Though it wasn’t the plan Emil had originally envisioned, the training he received though VR helped him in his new job. It turns out this was the right position for Emil after all. “It was a good opportunity, and I wanted to try it,” he says. “I ended up liking it and being good at it.”

Even though Emil had found the perfect job, there were a few roadblocks…

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