Advanced jobs skills lead to independence at MacDonald

TAMPA - "There you go. You got this."

It happens under hair nets and rubber gloves in a dust free workplace at MacDonald Training Center in Tampa.

"You got to put the net on. Then you gotta wash your hands," said Tewanda Nance, MTC Client.

Trainees with disabilities are packaging a product called refresh-a-baby but really they are sealing their own independence.

"Once they get to a certain level, we expect them to get out, get jobs in the community," said Jim Freyvogel, CEO MacDonald Training Center.

Daniel Aboud, a Gaither High School graduate, is one of them.

"I have a lot of friends over there," he said.

The 30-year-old wants a job outside these walls. MTC is getting him ready.

"Resume-- because they put my name, my address, my phone numbers," said Aboud.

That's where Elaine Frederick comes in.

"So I know how hard it is," she said.

The job coach was laid off twice before she landed this job helping people with disabilities find work. She lines up job interviews, follows her trainees to their new gigs and makes sure their employers are happy.

"You've taken somebody who in some situations never had a job before and have been led to believe they really can't find a job and you give them hope," said Frederick.

MacDonald Training Center's new advanced job skills pilot program has seen success graduating four so far to Tampa Bay workplaces-- empowerment that starts in an FDA approved room.

But leads to choices in the real world.

"We pride ourselves in shattering barriers," said Freyvogel.

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