MISSION: UCP WORK, Inc. is dedicated to providing services to residents of the Tri-Counties with mental and/or physical disabilities, so that they may work and live independently as contributing citizens within the community of their choice.

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October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month: 13 Years of Employment Success for Jesse Nave

By Rae van Seenus on Oct 01, 2019 at 02:15 PM in UCP Work Inc Blog

Jesse Nave is employed at the UCP WORK, Inc. Harbor Crew, part of the agency’s Group Supported Employment Program, a contract with the City of Santa Barbara Waterfront Department.  He is responsible for maintaining all janitorial, trash and recycling for marinas 1-4, including all sidewalks and commercial areas of the Santa Barbara waterfront.  Jesse works approximately 36 hours per week, including Saturdays.  He also volunteers at his church group and at New Directions Travel in Goleta, a business that provides high-quality local, national, and international travel vacations and holiday programs for people with disabilities. Additionally, Jesse competes on the Special Olympics teams in track and field, tennis, and swimming, in his spare time.  

When asked what are the top reasons for keeping his job of 13 years at the Harbor Crew, Jesse explained that it’s because of his punctuality, reliability, doing the job he’s assigned, helping others when they need assistance, and training new crew members on cleaning bathrooms.  In 2018, Jesse had almost perfect attendance and is working towards maintaining that goal for this year.  In addition, Jesse is known for his outgoing and personable disposition, and takes pride in saying “good morning” to patrons walking along the waterfront each day.  

What Jesse likes most about his current job is the people he works with, primarily because of their positivity and for inspiring him to get up in the morning and get to work.  He is especially grateful to Kathy Webb, UCP WORK, Inc. Executive Director, for the job opportunity, and stated that the agency provides him much better support and references to prospective employers, than other programs he’s participated in.  Jesse also shared that Mike Gurney, his best friend of 25 years, “makes me feel complete”, as well as, Alex, who is his motivation and role model in working together in a team.  Additionally, he looks up to Brian, his new Job Coach, whom Jesse said, “Brian is a mentor and shows that someone with a disability can be a successful leader.”   

In the past, there have been barriers for Jesse in finding a job in the community and he believes it’s solely because of the lack of awareness about people with disabilities in the workplace. When asked what would he tell a business that is unwilling to hire individuals with disabilities, Jesse replied, “Give them a chance, because all people have abilities…you’ll see that they will prove something big and will succeed.” 

Looking into the future, Jesse is working towards becoming a Job Coach or Supervisor at the Harbor Crew, as well as, his dream to launch a career as a singer songwriter, focused on his love for Elvis 70’s covers. Also, Jesse has a vision as an entrepreneur and opening up his own business, calling it, “Happiness with Music”, and offering music programs that accept people of all abilities.  

“UCP Work, Inc. has provided essential services to the Waterfront for decades. Their Harbor Crew demonstrates how people with disabilities can contribute to our society in many ways.  They inspire everyone with their incredible work ethic and excellent attitude.  They brighten my day every time I see them hard at work ”, said Karl Treiberg, Waterfront Facility Manager from the City of Santa Barbara Waterfront Department.

For more information about UCP WORK, Inc. Employment Services, visit http://www.ucpworkinc.org/explore-our-programs

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month: Employment Success Story of Jesse Nave

About National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)
NDEAM dates back to 1945 when President Harry S. Truman enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year, “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week”, and coordinated publicity campaigns to convince the public that it is good business to hire people with disabilities. In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting www.dol.gov/NDEAM.