Michael “Mike” Levey served as a crew member at the Nassau Coliseum. He loved his job there and was hopeful the contract would be renewed after pandemic concerns subsided. Although Mike waited a couple of years for the opportunity to return, it never did. So, Employment Training Specialist (ETS), Cathy Hawkins gave him the encouragement he needed to apply to different positions.
While out of work, he attended Day Services at the AHRC Freeport Program Without Walls (PWW) five days a week. There, in the same building, he would grab lunch or snacks at the Wheatley Farms Catering Hall. He liked the staff and at times mentioned that he would appreciate the opportunity to help one day.
Knowing this, Cathy submitted his application to them when a dishwasher role opened. Mike was offered the job after an interview.
“I live in Merrick, but it works good because I’m here anyway. I come to program in the morning and a little after two o’clock, I’m getting ready to leave,” said Mike.
He attends Day Services from nine to three and can keep the same hours while working three days a week. While developing his skills as a dishwasher, he’s eager to take on more responsibilities, wanting to help with the food prep and stocking.
He looks to his co-worker Raquel Dos Santos, Wheatley Farms Catering Assistant, as his mentor in the workplace. They’ve been working together since he started in July 2023. It’s her first time working with people with disabilities, and she shared that it’s been a positive experience working with Mike.
“He gets his work done,” said Raquel. “He picks up directions well and is a quick learner. I’m willing to teach him whatever he needs. It’s a pleasure working with Michael.”
Mike is also diligent with his finances; he chose for his first paycheck to be deposited into his savings account. Mike’s goal is to one day invest in a record shop or recording studio. He likes listening to rap, reggae, hip hop, and R&B. He also attends concerts with his family, the latest ones being Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole.
In his free time, he raps and writes original songs regularly. One of his latest freestyles is called “Go Getter” and fits his work ethic and worldview.