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San Diego theme parks work to create employment opportunities for people with disabilities

October is National Disability Employment Awareness month.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Through personalized employment services Pride Industries helps individuals realize their true potential and lead more independent lives.

Their mission is to create employment for people with disabilities. Both Sea World San Diego and the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance say their employees with Pride Industries are hardworking and dedicated workers. 

“They are eager to work because they want to be here, so it’s been a great relationship. Everybody has a unique ability,” said Aida Rosa Chief Human Resource Officer for the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

She’s hired people in retail, maintenance, and reservations within San Diego Zoo operations. She encourages people to apply.

Brandon Schinka stays very busy bussing tables at Albert’s Restaurant within the zoo. The 24-year-old takes the bus two hours each way to arrive at work on time. 

“I like it because I get out of the house instead of staying at home all day,” said Schinka.

He is proud of the independence having this job provides him.

Sea World San Diego has cultivated a strong relationship with Pride Industries for over 30 years, hiring people with disabilities throughout their park. 

“They have on the job training just like the rest of our team members, so they feel comfortable in their position. Then they start working like everybody else,” said Mariza Gines with Sea World human resources. 

Demetrius Griggs works as a hostess for the Calypso Bay Restaurant within the park. He enjoys greeting costumers and keeping the outside area clean for visitors. 

“It’s good quality work,” said Griggs.

He appreciates the help from Pride Industries that connected him with the job at Sea World San Diego this year. The organization helps employees every step of the way, providing job coaches to supervise during each shift. 

“They help you to grow and be a better person. Sometimes I don’t even feel like I have a disability here. I feel like a full employee,” said Griggs.

   

WATCH RELATED: San Diego's top stories for Oct. 28 at 6 p.m.