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TMI Client Makes a Comeback in the Workforce

Updated: Jul 24, 2019


Maria with her TMI Job Coach Julie Cortez.

Maria is a wonderful example of Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) transforming lives! Maria worked in the gardening department of a large department store for more than 20 years. Unfortunately, she was a victim of a scam which resulted in the loss of her employment. When she came to TMI’s Supported Employment program in 2017, she hadn’t worked in a year and was eager to be employed again. TMI listened to Maria’s wishes for employment, as well as analyzed her strengths. Maria loves providing customer service and is great with working a register!

TMI was able to assist Maria secure seasonal employment with GTM Discount General Stores, which resulted in permanent employment due to her work ethic, great reviews and wonderful personality. She has now been with GTM for nearly two years. Maria assists customers in the fitting room, as well as folds and organizes the clothing.


Maria enjoying working at GTM.

“I struggled in school and it might take me a little longer to get something done, but it will get done. It may not be as fast as you want it, but it will get done the right way,” said Maria. “The support I get from TMI gives me the extra help I need.”

Marie has epilepsy and a learning disability. While she can sometimes have difficulty with instructions, her TMI Job Coach Julie Cortez is able to assist her for a successful outcome! Maria’s employment affords her the opportunity to be a contributing member of her community, as well as be independent.


Maria having fun with friends in Little Italy.

“Being Maria’s Job Coach makes me feel accomplished and grateful to be able to help her to feel comfortable and positive at her job,” said Julie. “It makes me feel extremely happy that I can make a difference.”


Maria enjoying time with her family.

In Maria’s free time she enjoys going to dinner with friends and shopping. Maria’s family owns a pizza restaurant where she likes to visit and spend time with her family. She is very happy working at GTM and feels successful, as she should! Great job, Maria!


It is the mission of the TMI Supported Employment program to support, enhance and educate the general workforce population on the contributing value of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through personalized integration, training and advocacy, TMI helps to develop the capabilities and strengths of all people desiring to work.

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. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living and Family Support Services throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties. To stay connected with us follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.

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TMI IS A 501 (c)(3) NONPROFIT THAT 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. TMI RECEIVES FUNDING FROM DDS. SHOULD YOU WISH TO REPORT ANY CONCERNS, PLEASE CONTACT DDS AT (916) 654-1690 OR VIA THE DDS WEBSITE

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