Lorenzo Villagomez enjoys his job at the Regency Village in Prineville just as much as the residents and staff enjoy having him there as part of the team. Villagomez, age 21, works as a Dietary Assistant in the dining hall, and has recently marked his first full year in this position.

Villagomez interacts with residents to take their breakfast and lunch orders, and occasionally helps at dinnertime. He serves the meals and coffee, clears the tables, and helps with cleanup and dishwashing. His job has required mastering a variety of skills that have helped him succeed.

Developing skills and gaining experience through YTP

While he was a student at Crook County High School, Villagomez participated in the Youth Transition Program. Through YTP, Villagomez found an internship with a local restaurant, where he learned many of the skills he uses today. He was later hired at the restaurant, before beginning his job at Regency Village.

Ramona McCallister, one of the two Youth Transition Specialists in Crook County, noted the value of internships for future employment. “Lorenzo gained important skills and showed that this job would be a good match for him. It really smoothed the transition to work,” she said.

Using technology to overcome barriers

Through the YTP, Villagomez also worked with a job coach who helped him identify potential stumbling blocks, and find solutions for those challenges. Together they pinpointed one difficult task: communicating the food orders to the kitchen staff.

To resolve that issue, Villagomez downloaded an app to his phone. He records the order on his phone, then connects to a printer, and brings a printed copy of each order to the cooks. Villagomez and rest of the Regency Village dining team agree that the new technology made the ordering process much more efficient.

Villagomez finds a lot of satisfaction at his job and enjoys working with the residents. “It’s a good place,” he said. “The residents are well taken care of and they take good care of me, too.”

Learn more about the Youth Transition Program here:
https://ytp.uoregon.edu/