Assistant in training

On a busy work floor, Natjun takes stock of his surroundings. One wrong move could lead to serious injury as he meticulously positions his pallet jack to a flat of completed projects on the Vocational Services floor at Dale Rogers Training Center (DRTC).

Avoiding any injury to himself or others, Natjun moves the pallet out from the others, sets it down and then gets to work with stretch wrap to ensure the products stay together during transport.

“I’m about to wrap these boxes… and then I take the jack and what I do is put them back over there with the rest of these.”

Natjun, a senior at John Marshall High School in Oklahoma City, is taking part in the Warehouse Assistant program learning the basic operations of warehouse work.

But before he got to this point, there was a very important lesson to learn first: safety.

“That’s the first aspect we go through out in the warehouse training is emphasizing, more than anything, the need to be aware,” said Danny, DRTC Warehouse Manager, “and to know what you’re doing when you’re operating this heavy equipment and being aware of other people.”

Natjun moves a pallet in DRTC's Vocational Services Building.
Natjun moves a pallet in DRTC’s Vocational Services Building.

Natjun can navigate a fully stacked pallet with ease while ensuring the safety of others on the work floor and in the warehouse.

“If someone was (standing) there and I didn’t see them, I might hurt them,” added Natjun.

As part of the Warehouse Assistant program, he is also learning invaluable communication skills. Natjun and other DRTC employees deliver various products and speak with customers.

“We go out and greet people and take stuff, basically.”

He admits he was nervous at first, but now he’s settling in. Danny has noticed Natjun’s growth as well.

Danny, left, and Natjun, right, work together to move a pallet.
Danny, left, and Natjun, right, work together to move a pallet.

“Pretty much now I can set him on a project and turn around,” said Danny.

Natjun has had plenty of experience learning and working at Dale Rogers Training Center. He is part of DRTC’s Transition School-to-Work Program where students travel to various businesses, learn new skills and how to act on the job among other employability lessons.

The Transition Program is where he learned what he wants to do after high school.

“Horticulture,” Natjun said with a smile. “I love the outdoors. Outdoors is like the best thing in the world.”

Natjun will continue developing his skills at DRTC and is on track to graduate in May 2016. He’s also planning on attending this year’s Camp Tumbleweed— DRTC’s summer camp for teenagers and young adults with disabilities.

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Dale Rogers Training Center (DRTC) is the oldest and largest community vocational training and employment center for people with disabilities in Oklahoma. With multiple locations in Oklahoma, DRTC trains or employs more than 1,100 people with disabilities per year. Visit us online: DRTC.org

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