TMI Partners with Sycuan to Give Clients Employment Opportunities
Updated: May 14, 2019
Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) is honored to announce that it has partnered with Sycuan Casino in El Cajon, CA to provide employment opportunities for our clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. TMI currently has seven Supported Employment clients working at Sycuan and anticipates that number will grow as Sycuan is working on a $226 million hotel and resort expansion. The project includes a 12-story, 300-room hotel, restaurants, meeting and conference spaces, pool and gardens and a lazy river. The new hotel and resort is on schedule to open in early 2019.
One of TMI’s clients currently working at Sycuan is Connor. When he was first referred to TMI’s Supported Employment (SE) program by the Department of Rehabilitation, music was at the forefront of his hopes and dreams. Connor had been playing local gigs and recording on his own for his Facebook page, but he knew the time had come for him to seek out employment. Connor, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD, had difficulty focusing on tasks, other than his music, and had a tendency to catastrophize about the future. He struggled to complete job applications and needed to brush up on his interview skills.
TMI SE Division Manager Marcus Byrd took Connor under his wing and set out to help him accomplish his goal of finding employment, while still being able to pursue his passion for music on the side. Marcus worked with Connor to improve his job search and interview skills by practicing mock interviews, completing employment applications, and learning appropriate workplace behaviors. Marcus also advocated for Connor with potential employers. When a job opportunity at Sycuan presented itself, Marcus knew that it would be a great fit for Connor.
Connor was hired full-time to assist the Sycuan buffet staff. His current role may not be in music, but the position allows Connor an opportunity to work at a venue that offers concerts and perhaps one day he can work in that department.
“It felt great to not only see him being offered employment after all his hard work, but the best feeling is to know that he is happy and confident about having a full time job,” said Marcus.
Connor’s parents are very supportive and were thrilled that he was able to secure employment that he enjoys with TMI’s assistance. This is Connor’s first job! They love to see his passion for music and encourage him to keep playing while working full time. Work keeps Connor’s mind busy.
“It’s great to be working, I like working for Sycuan, they treat me like family,” said Connor.
Connor is doing such a great job that he is helping to pave the way for other individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be employed at Sycuan as it prepares to expand.
"We are pleased to bring more than 700 new jobs to the San Diego community," said John Dinius, general manager at Sycuan Casino. "We are committed to cultivating a thriving and positive work environment and are eager to bring on new talent that will contribute to the organization's continued success."
Thank you to Sycuan for partnering with TMI to transform the lives of our clients. We look forward to continuing to work together and can’t wait to see your new hotel and resort!
Congratulations on your first job, Connor, and for being such a talented musician. We look forward to following not only your career, but your passion for music!
Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has been transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1981 and the deaf and hard of hearing since 2000. Like all of us, our clients are born with hopes, dreams and the drive to contribute to society. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing employment, community living and family support programs throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties.