Joe turned 50 in March, 2015 and wanted to have his birthday party at the McDonald’s where he’s been working since May. He is a lobby attendant; he’s responsible for refilling the ketchup pumps, ice tea dispensers and napkins, cleaning the lobby, restroom and parking lot, and for greeting McDonald’s customers when they enter and sit to enjoy their meals. He LOVES his job.
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Joe sued his father at 13 so that he could move to Maryland to live with his mother. Joe moved in with his mother, who first hospitalized Joe at age 15. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Joe spent seven years shuffling between inpatient hospitals.
Joe’s relationship with Mosaic began with Granite House, a Carroll County service provider that has since merged with Mosaic. He participated in the housing program, where he says staff helped him learn to cook, clean his apartment, and make appointments. Joe moved out of the housing program when he got married, then returned briefly when the marriage ended. Now, he lives on his own, has a girlfriend, and plays bingo twice a week.
Joe has a resume full of fast-food employment, but he struggled to find a job. He was competing against younger and healthier men and women, and couldn’t even land an interview. A patient at Spring Grove psychiatric hospital, Joe attended a resource fair, where he was introduced to Mosaic’s vocational services program.
Joe described his struggle to find a job to Eve, a former employment specialist at Mosaic. Joe has his GED, but never completed the eighth grade; his struggle with reading and math make it tough to work the register. He said this is a barrier to employment and no one was calling him back – but Eve called him back. She told Joe that he had an interview lined up at a busy McDonald’s. Eve helped Joe pick out appropriate interview clothes, and Joe’s mother him helped buy new shoes. Eve accompanied Joe on the interview and he was delighted to start work in mid-May.
“I didn’t expect to be so happy with my job,” Joe says, but everyone is so nice to him that he loves doing a great job. He says that there are at least 40 supervisors at the McDonald’s, but Frank and Tasha are nice to him and always give him good reports. “It makes me feel so good when customers give accolades! I love hearing a ‘nice job’ from a returning customer or a total stranger.” Joe explains that having the Mosaic team help him has been outstanding. Eve helped Joe understand the no-call/no-show policy at McDonald’s and worked with Joe’s managers to understand his health condition. Joe is allowed to use a nebulizer on-site and is not required to do the heavy lifting a younger lobby attendant would be expected to perform. Joe’s schedule allows for his daily medication and weekly therapy sessions, and he pays his landlord to drive him to work or gets a bus pass from Mosaic.
Of course, Joe loves to pick up his paycheck every couple of weeks. He uses his money to pay for medicine, rent, groceries, and to play bingo. “I don’t know what I would do without Mosaic,” he says. “I live on my own, have a good job, and get to my therapy sessions and bingo on time every day.”