Meet William R.
William R., 27
Be consistent when applying for employment and never give up on [your] dreams until they come to fruition. We are some of the best workers in any industry.
As a young entrepreneur, my goal is to continue to work as a self-employed author, writing children’s books, designing logos for companies and creating personalized emojis for individuals. My dream job would be to work as an Apple specialist at my local Apple store.
When I’m not writing and creating, I serve on the Junior Board of Directors at Unicorn Children’s Foundation—a nonprofit dedicated to creating cradle-to-career pathways for kids and young adults with developmental or learning disabilities and helping their families navigate the complex journey.
I’ve also been a member of Toastmasters International at Palm Beach State College District 47, Division D, Area 45, Club 5616466 since graduating from college in 2019. I meet every Wednesday evening with fellow Toastmasters to time the Table Topics speakers, formal speeches and the evaluations. On some occasions, I even speak before the members.
What does National Disability Employment Awareness Month mean to you?
It means spotlighting businesses, companies and corporations that hire and provide unique teaching methods to employees with disabilities. It’s also an opportunity to shine a light on some of the areas that need to be improved for people with autism and other disabilities.
What message would you like to convey to people with autism and other disabilities who are currently looking for the right career path or job opportunity?
I would tell them to be consistent when applying for employment and to never give up on their dreams until they come to fruition. We are some of the best workers in any industry.
What are you most proud of as it relates to your career?
I am appreciative for the opportunity I had as an intern at my home church, Christ Fellowship. It was a rewarding experience to be able to collaborate on various projects and provide assistance in their graphic design department.
What are some struggles you’ve faced during your employment journey?
The owner of a fast-food chain did not want to hire me because I was disabled, even though his employees wanted to hire me. I would ask weekly if they were going to hire me but they never did, even though I continuously worked hard and volunteered to stay late and come in when they were short staffed. Eventually, I was hired at a different location where I worked the front counter but was later placed in the back even though I had a full year experience working on the frontline taking orders.
I struggled with stuttering at a young age but overcame it by taking my time when I talked. I sometimes used instructions/scripts printed on a small, laminated piece of paper if I needed it when a customer was ordering, which was created for me by one of the managers at the previous fast food chain location. He was a kind, caring and compassionate individual.
What are some improvements that can make the workplace more inclusive for people on the spectrum?
I would like business managers to rethink and innovate their teaching strategies so they are simple enough for employees to understand and overcome the complexities.