Alexandru Amrhein had a long journey to his current job at Waremart.
Alexandru, 27, experiences a developmental disability and is Deaf. He started his employment journey more than three years ago.
“It took me three years to find this job," Alexandru said, through American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter BriAnn Shipley. “It was really slow. I had a hard time finding a job. But I didn't give up."
Alexandru went through the Discovery process with his provider, Partnerships in Community Living
. That led to an interest in working in retail. He had multiple seasonal retail jobs, including one that included a lengthy commute to Salem. None of those turned into a permanent position, which is what Alexandru wanted.
About 16 months ago, Alexandru was offered a position at Waremart, in Independence,
Ore. Now he works 25 hours per week as a stocking associate. Alexandru cleans and stocks shelves at night to prep the store for the morning opening. He walks to work.
“I am very friendly and like to help people," he said. “I like the people I work with. I really enjoy working with my team. I really like my boss. She is really supportive."
Alexandru's job coaches are Christopher Mortensen and BriAnn Shipley. Christopher is also Deaf and supports Alexandru directly, while BriAnn provides ASL interpretation and supports. He has been at his job long enough now that the team primarily checks in weekly.
“Alexandru had a tough time finding a good job fit," Christopher said, with BriAnn interpreting. “He demanded to work. He really wanted to work. We knew it was going to take some time, so we continued to support him and encourage him through the process."
Christopher added: “Waremart has been a great employer. We at PCL have been able to support him and see him be successful. He got employee of the year recently. It's been amazing journey."
When he is not working, Alexandru said he enjoys building Legos on his computer. Most years, he would travel to see his family for the holidays but this year, Alexandru has put his travel plans on hold.
“I was going to go out of town for Christmas, but I decided to postpone that and stay home," he said. “I'm very happy to be working so I'm going to stay home, stay safe and work."
Alexandru's employment team includes: BriAnn Shipley and Christopher Mortensen, job coaches with Partnerships in Community Living; Services Coordinator Jennifer Kelly with Polk County Developmental Disabilities Services; and Vocational Rehabilitation counselor Phil Matthews.