DeQuan was almost 27 when he began working at the Occupational Training Center. At the age of 18 DeQuan graduated from a South Jersey Votech school and immediately decided to take some time off from professional employment. Instead, DeQuan devoted a year to computer animation and video editing, the studies had had focused on during his education. During this time, DeQuan would record his game play, add music and text and perhaps some video effects, and ultimately upload the finished product to YouTube.
About a year out of school, DeQuan knew it was time to put his training to use and began looking for gainful employment doing what he loved. Despite his passion and optimism, DeQuan had no luck finding a position using his computer skills. Instead, DeQuan applied anywhere there was an opening; at restaurants, retail stores and food markets. Again no luck finding employment.
DeQuan believes that his disability may be to blame for his bad luck. His vision is very limited and if an object is more than two feet away, he can see the object, but cannot see any fine definition. Even large print that is only 5 or 6 feet away is a challenge for him to read.
After the lack of positive response, DeQuan gave up looking for work. He was too discouraged by the result and the disappointing feeling of being told he didn’t qualify for the positions. For the next few years he stayed at home and spent most of this time on the computer. Although DeQuan was always a quiet person, his solitude only promoted isolation and he had a difficult time meeting new people.
One day his mother saw one of the OTC vans on his street and began asking questions about OTC and the opportunities offered through the center. After she learned more about the different OTC programs, his mother thought that DeQuan would be a perfect fit for OTC and arranged for an interview. Not long after, DeQuan was hired as a janitor in the OTC’s Janitorial Program in Trenton.
Although DeQuan was a very good worker, his poor vision hampered his ability to perform his duties. Initially, DeQuan was responsible for cleaning bathrooms in one of the NJ State Labor buildings and, although he worked very hard, he could not see what, if anything he missed. DeQuan says that his vision is such that he can tell when something is generally clean but has difficulty when determining the details of cleanliness. Although this was a problem, DeQuan’s immediate supervisor, Brian, thought he had a solution.
Brian worked closely with DeQuan to develop a set routine that would insure a clean bathroom every time. Seeing fine dust particles was especially difficult for DeQuan, but the new routine helped to insure nothing was left to chance. The routine actually made DeQuan’s job a little more difficult, but it didn’t seem to bother him. Instead, DeQuan persisted, knowing that the quality of his work and responsibilities made him feel accomplished and proud.
DeQuan enjoys his job and the financial rewards that go along with it. He made a decision to alternate how he uses his pay. The first paycheck goes to help his mom pay bills and the second one he uses for himself. DeQuan has a set routine in work that makes him successful and he also maintains a routine with his pay: His mom first and then himself.