MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Nereida Taylor loves to bake and she puts her passion to work at the bakery at the Fresh Market in Pembroke Pines.

“I do like (to) decorate cakes,” Taylor said. “I do fruit tarts. But my specialty is to do cupcakes.”

Getting this job likely would not have been possible without the help of her mentor and employment specialist from Arc Broward, Amyah Banks.

“She’s very passionate about her work, so it was easy for me to guide her after that because she knew where she wanted to go,” Banks said.

“Everything is easy for me because I love it. I love to do what I do. I love it,” Taylor said.

Arc Broward’s mission is to provide opportunities for people with disabilities and other life challenges to realize their full potential.

For Taylor, who has autism, that meant receiving training to prepare her for the workforce, like resume help and interview prep.

The hiring manager at The Fresh Market was impressed with how she presented herself and successfully negotiated competitive pay.

“She’s taking one of her hobbies and really turning it into something that makes money for her in a job,” Banks said. “So she’s studying it more. She’s perfecting her craft.”

More than 700,000 Floridians with disabilities are currently out of work.

The “Arc Works” program is helping more than 200 clients a year on the journey to employment and they stay in touch even after they’ve been placed in jobs.

“She comes every time to see how I’m doing in my job, if I’m doing good,” Taylor said of Banks. “She asks me if I need help, but I tell her I don’t because I could do it myself.”

Store manager Victor Randolph says he’d gladly hire more workers like Taylor. He appreciates her strong work ethic, good attitude, and love for the job!

“I couldn’t have asked for a better employee the way she is,” Randolph said. “She’s all smiles, does a great job for me. Now I’m asking for more people from Arc.”

Arc Broward also offers a post-secondary school for people ages 18 to 21 to provide them with workforce education and independent living skills.

It provides after school and summer “school to work” transition program for teens starting at 16 years old.

For more information, visit arcbroward.com.

Lauren Pastrana

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