Best Buddies Jobs & Brightstar Corporation Forge Partnership for Success


Written by Andrea Schonenberg
Edited by Lazara Ballester

At City Hall in Hialeah, Florida, a special program known as Project SEARCH is helping individuals with intellectual disabilities transition from school to competitive employment.  Project SEARCH, a partnership between the City of Hialeah, Best Buddies Jobs, and Miami-Dade County Public Schools, provides strategically designed internships in a business-led environment to a dozen young men and women each school year.

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Jose Gonzalez, Logistics Accounting Assistant at Brightstar Corporation.

Jose is a graduate of Project SEARCH Hialeah, where his eagerness to work and positive attitude made him the ideal candidate for integrated and gainful employment.  As an intern at the City Clerk’s office, Jose worked on clerical tasks and data input.  The real-world work experience and marketable skills Jose gained as an intern set him on a path to achieving his employment goals.

The next step for Jose would be finding an employer match within the community.    Best Buddies Jobs staff approached the Brightstar Corporation, who were eager to fill a clerical position within their offices.  As the world’s largest specialized wireless distributor and the largest Hispanic-owned business in the United States, Brightstar would be the perfect fit for Jose.  Best Buddies Jobs brought Jose and Brightstar together and made an employment match.

Jose has not only humanized the work place environment, his solid work and excellent attitude demonstrates he has become a valued member of my logistics team. – Abraao Torquez, Director of Demand Planning, Latin America at Brightstar Corporation

On May 6th, 2013 Jose became Brightstar’s newest Demand Accounting Assistant. In this role, Jose compiles vital data for field staff to review and utilize for daily projects. This data is essential, affecting sales and manufacturing decisions by Brightstar’s management and field staff.

Abraao Torquez, Director of Demand Planning, Latin America, realized just how vital Jose’s role is while on a recent business trip to Mexico.  Mr. Torquez, Jose’s supervisor, had questions about a spreadsheet that Jose had prepared.  Without hesitation, Jose picked up his phone and returned Mr. Torquez’s call.  With a smile in his voice, Mr. Torquez stated, “Jose, you just made your first international call from your business phone.”  Jose was able to assist Mr. Torquez, and both men gained confidence in Jose’s business abilities.

“Jose has helped me look at myself objectively as a person, a manager and most importantly, how I interact with my fellow employees,” said Mr. Torquez.  “Jose has not only humanized the work place environment, his solid work and excellent attitude demonstrates he has become a valued member of my logistics team.”

Today, Jose is grateful for Project SEARCH and the partnerships that helped prepare him for his job at Brightstar.  He and Mr. Torquez continue to work together as partners in Brightstar’s success.

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Best Buddies Jobs continues the integration of people with development disabilities (IDD) into the community through supported employment. This program assists individuals to locate and maintain jobs of their own choosing by providing ongoing support and training. Our focus is on developing competitive, integrated jobs, which allow individuals to earn an income, pay taxes, and work in an environment alongside others in the community.

To learn more about the Best Buddies Jobs program in Florida, visit www.bestbuddiesflorida.org/jobs or contact Andrea Schonenberg at AndreaSchonenberg@bestbuddies.org

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About Andrea Schonenberg

Jobs Program Supervisor for Best Buddies Florida. Proudly creating job opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in the South Florida area.

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