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October 28, 2010
Melanie Mowry Etters
Providing excellent customer service makes Jonathan White happy. After more than five years as a front-end service worker for the Publix supermarket at Lake Ella, his co-workers are still impressed with his job dedication.
"He is more than happy to volunteer to assist with any project," says assistant manager Ashley Rivera. "Customers love him here. They recognize and know him by name. For certain customers, he will take over the bagging because he considers them his customers."
White has a disability and receives services from Florida's Agency for Persons with Disabilities. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time when APD highlights the contributions of people with disabilities to the work force.
White got his start at another large grocery store chain, and was spotted by a Publix manager who offered him a job due to his outstanding work ethic.
"I like to make all the customers happy. I try to be nice and help them outside with their groceries. The kids like me, too, because I get them cookies and balloons," White says.
White is a full-time employee vested with the company. He drives a scooter to and from work. For safety reasons, his shifts always begin and end while it is still daylight.
Rivera beams when describing White. "Jonathan is one happy camper. We definitely love him around here. He has a huge heart and likes to share it with everyone."
White receives job-coaching services funded by APD and provided by the Leon Advocacy and Resource Center. His job coach assists, as needed, with training in new skills, completing any in-service training required by the store, and making sure his excellent customer service skills stay honed.
This series of profiles continues throughout October, Disability Employment Awareness Month. APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities. The agency annually serves about 35,000 Floridians. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit APDcares.org or call toll-free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).