Cameron… Reaching for success with Transition Services!

Mechanical Engineer
Picture of Cameron

Cameron grew up in California, moving to Rome, NY in 2015. Cameron and his mother were introduced to ACCES-VR and VRC Ashley Paciello while attending a college night at Cameron’s high school. He applied to ACCES-VR for assistance with college training, benefits advisement and assistance with obtaining a driver’s license. He graduated from Westmoreland High School with a Regents Diploma in June 2016. Cameron describes his ACCES-VR experience as follows:

“I applied to ACCES-VR shortly following the beginning of my senior year of high school, after the program was presented to my school. My reason for applying was because my Autism Spectrum Disorder made it difficult for me to interact with others and to advocate for myself. I soon began working with my Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Ashley Paciello, who helped to arrange for an internship. She assigned me a job coach, Wayne, from Upstate Cerebral Palsy, who negotiated with businesses within the community in search for an internship for me in Mechanical Engineering. After quite an extensive search, during which I was provided with a Work Readiness training program through Upstate Cerebral Palsy, Wayne was able to find an internship for me with a local mechanical engineering company that specialized in hydraulic turbine components called Riverhawk Company.

I was a bit nervous at first, as I am in any new and unfamiliar situation, but that did not last long. It turned out to be the perfect fit. I worked in the quality department, where my meticulous nature was most welcome. Through that company, I earned lots of experience that I am sure I could not have gotten otherwise; an understanding of the applications of mechanical engineering that will surely be an invaluable asset in the classroom. I learned how parts go through multiple stages in the manufacturing process, how each department has its unique role in ensuring that each and every part that rolls out the doors is perfectly and precisely designed and crafted. I checked dimensions, tested hardness, and measured the thickness of the protective coating of hundreds of specialized parts over the three months that I worked, and learned about how critical and sensitive those measured values are (down to the ten-thousandth of an inch.) The staff was friendly and they were quick to accept me and include me in their social groups and employee events. I felt like I was truly one among them, a feeling I had not felt since I had left my extended family in California.

I am now a freshman at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering program. ACCES-VR is assisting me with funding for college tuition, books and transportation, and my ACCES-VR Counselor makes sure that whatever support and services I need are readily available by connecting me with the Disabilities Office on campus. I am very grateful to ACCES-VR for the incredible opportunity they made possible for me. I would recommend anyone with a disability to consider applying and I would gladly recommend this agency to assist in preparing for a career. ACCES-VR works miracles!”

This story was submitted by Patti Williams
Local Workforce Development and Business Relations Representative
Utica District Office

Worker Success Stories