Villa assists individuals who are ready for competitive employment to locate a job in their community. Villa provides them with the necessary support, through job coaching, to remain successful in their work place. The story below highlights the success of Villa's Employment Services program.

Villa Client Greg Guerrero putting together the daily services schedule at Burke Williams Spa in Pasadena.

A Chance to Succeed

From Villa's Summer 2016 Chirp Newsletter

It’s 6:00 a.m. and Greg Guerrero is on the job at the Burke Williams Day Spa in Old Pasadena. He’s focused on a computerized scheduling system that maps out the spa activity for the day. Greg is pairing therapists with clients, assigning treatment rooms and ensuring that all of the appropriate supplies are on-hand and ready to provide each guest with a seamless, customized spa experience.

Greg is a Villa client, one of several individuals with developmental disabilities who have been given the opportunity to work at the spa. Through Villa’s Employment Services program, our capable adults receive coaching and support to secure and sustain employment with business partners in the community. The Pasadena Burke Williams Spa is an outstanding example of a local business that is not only providing jobs, but also creating promising futures for our clients.

After seeing a news story on TV, Diane Kim who was General Manager of Burke Williams Pasadena location, was intrigued by the possibility of employing individuals with developmental disabilities. She started brainstorming how this might be possible at the spa. She reached out to Michael Greene, Director of Villa’s Employment Services program. They agreed that a job in the spa’s laundry room might be a good fit for a Villa client. At the time, Greg was working on a landscaping and gardening crew as part of Villa’s Supported Employment Program that provides jobs centering around our main campus and in the local community. With the assistance of Villa job coach Joseph Umbro, Greg applied for the laundry room position and prepared for what would be a successful interview.

The spa was getting ready for Greg’s arrival. Diane’s faith in her staff was the cornerstone of her confidence in hiring someone with a disability. To her credit, there was an existing culture of compassion and caring. The staff not only accepted Greg, they embraced him. As he began his work in the laundry room, he was afforded his most important opportunity: the chance to learn, grow and advance. With Greg’s hard work and support from those around him, what could have been just a job became his career. He now runs the department where he started.

The Burke Williams Spa and Diane Kim, in particular, are very proud of Greg and all of their employees who are part of the Villa program. In addition to Greg, client David Schroeder spends his day making sure that the spa’s sandals and brushes are kept clean and sanitary. He likes keeping busy and there is plenty for him to do. Fay Gibson works in the women’s section of the spa as an attendant, providing clean robes and towels for spa guests. She loves her job there because everyone is nice to her and treats her like family.

The collaboration between Burke Williams Spa and Villa’s Employment Services highlights the possibilities for mutually successful outcomes in the business community. In 2010, the spa was honored as Employer of the Year by the Pasadena Mayor’s Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities. Diane has now been promoted to Vice President, Guest Experience. She humbly underestimates the impact that her leadership has had on the lives of Greg, David and Fay. She insists that they have given more to the spa than the spa has given to them. They have grown as individuals, but the existing staff has also grown through their acceptance and support. She encourages other business leaders to be creative in uncovering employment opportunities that might be a fit for someone with a disability. “Understand that everyone has capabilities. All they need is the permission to use them and the tools to help them grow.”

For more information about employment services
in the San Gabriel Valley:
Please contact: Michael Greene, Director of Employment Services at (626) 449-2919 ext. 161.

Employment Services Pasadena (Main Office)
2060 East Villa Street, Pasadena, CA 91107
Phone: (626)449-2919, ext. 161
Fax: (626)449-2850

For more information about employment services
in Ventura County and West San Fernando Valley:
Please call Melissa Garza, Manager of Employment Services and CIP - West Region at (805) 446-1939, ext. 112.

Employment Services West Region (West Region Office)
80 East Hillcrest Drive, Suite 206, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320

Phone: (805)446-1939
Fax: (805)446-1959