Not many teenagers can say they’ve stayed at one job for an entire year. Sticking with a job takes persistence, dedication, and problem-solving. Marissa Cross, age 19, is one of those teens. Cross (pictured right with transition teacher Ken Thorp) is a transition student in LaPine, and next month she will celebrate her one-year work anniversary at Subway restaurant. Along the way, she’s learned more new skills than she expected.

 

Transportation is a key to success

When Cross began working at Subway, one of the first challenges was finding transportation between the restaurant and home. She found a solution through the Cascades East Transit bus (CET). In LaPine, the CET does not have a fixed route, but offers a dial-a-ride service.

“Part of the success was getting trained on CET last spring, so that Marissa could take the job. That’s a whole additional step, which is pretty cool!” said transition teacher Ken Thorp. Cross learned to schedule her rides by phone, and has become more comfortable making the calls.

“My mom helped me get over being nervous. I just take a deep breath before I call. Now I call every Friday, and try to schedule a month ahead,” said Cross. She also uses the CET bus to get to doctor appointments. Cross receives monthly bus passes as part of her disability services, which makes using the transit system more accessible for her.

 

Managing Paychecks and Disability Benefits

Cross has learned to manage some record-keeping tasks as well. As she receives her paychecks, she works with her parents to send the check stub information to the Social Security office. Some people use the Social Security smartphone app to send in their paycheck information, but Cross and her family prefer to simply mail the check stub.

Submitting pay records is important for people who receive disability benefits, because their benefit amount may be adjusted. As Thorp explained, “It’s important to keep up with this, so any changes in the benefits don’t take you by surprise.”

 

Becoming part of the Subway team

Cross works with her job coach to master the different tasks that are part of her job. Over the year, she has been responsible for cleaning tables and chairs, mopping, and putting away supplies. She currently works unloading freight boxes and organizing the food and supplies. Cross enjoys this work and finds satisfaction in keeping the shelves and products in good order. “I just really like to keep busy,” said Cross, “and the people I work with are awesome.”

As the summer approaches, Cross will begin working in the food preparation line, making sandwiches to order. She admits the idea of working the sandwich line is a little scary, because there’s more pressure. “I worry that I might mess up somebody’s sandwich, but I just have to get in there and keep working on it,” she explained. Cross’s job coach will continue to work with her as she moves into the new role.

Learn more about the Cascades East Transit System