Joseph Chericozzi: How DRS Helped This Student to Find Employment and Dream for the Future

Home » Joseph Chericozzi: How DRS Helped This Student to Find Employment and Dream for the Future

Joseph Chericozzi: How DRS Helped This Student to Find Employment and Dream for the Future

This Ability Works Award Winner is keeping the Tourist Information Center in pristine condition with an eye on a future career in business

Joseph Chericozzi describes himself as having a social disability, but that doesn’t stop him from being admired by his colleagues who say he is an exceptional and hardworking employee as a janitor for Mercer County Opportunity Industries (MCOI).

Joseph grew up in Princeton. While attending Princeton Senior High School, he became a client of the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) for assistance with transitioning from school to employment.

Joseph has Asperger’s syndrome, which caused him to have difficulty with focus, as well as with communication, organizational, socialization and interpersonal skills.

According to DRS Rehabilitation Counselor Margie Cordle, after graduating in 2020, Joseph wanted to pursue a degree in business administration from Concord University. But that was during the height of the pandemic when most classes were online, and Joseph didn’t do so well in that environment.

However, DRS helped Joseph look at other vocational options.

MCOI is a community rehabilitation provider that DRS frequently utilizes to provide one-on-one training services to consumers. Through job coaching and work adjustment training provided by MCOI, Joseph learned specific job requirements to do janitorial work, as well as skills to help him stay focused and organized on the job.

Joseph was hired by MCOI, but he does janitorial work at the West Virginia Tourist Information Center in Princeton.

MCOI Executive Director Jamie Hall clarified that Joseph helps to keep the Tourist Information Center clean, including the restrooms, the gift shop and the grounds.

According to Joseph, his training taught him to be more open-minded and helped him to become more comfortable with things like interacting with people. He explained that working at the Tourist Information Center puts him in a position to meet a lot of people, and whether he likes it or not, that involves social interaction.

His favorite thing about his job is his boss, Jamie Hall, or Miss Jamie as he calls her. He likes her because she makes the job seem so easy, and she doesn’t get upset when he messes up. She helps him to learn from his mistakes.

Hall believes Joseph’s best personal attribute is his positive attitude. He is very genuine towards people, greeting them with a smile and by name, if he knows it.

She considers him a team player because he helps his coworkers and will cover shifts whenever it’s possible for him to do so.

While Cordle credits Joseph with being optimistic and humble, she sees personal determination as his strongest characteristic.

That determination is pushing Joseph to continue with his dream of pursuing postsecondary education. He is currently enrolled at New River Community and Technical College.

MCOI has been able to accommodate Joseph’s work schedule so he can attend classes.

Once he has completed his program at New River, Joseph hopes to work towards his bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Joseph is most proud of going back to school and for holding onto his job for so long. Working at MCOI is his first real employment experience, and he is really enjoying the environment.

Joseph is very grateful to his family for inspiring and supporting him and to DRS and MCOI for the guidance and training that led him to accomplish one of his life goals.

We can help you reach your employment goals! Connect with DRS today.

Joseph Chericozzi was selected as an Ability Works Award Winner in 2022. The annual Ability Works Awards honor one outstanding consumer from each of the agency’s six districts, coinciding each October with National Disability Employment Awareness Month.