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October 3, 2015

CONTACT: Melanie Mowry Etters
Communication Director

Internship success leads to permanent employment
Lam proved he is worth of the job, despite his disability

By Michael Cardello

MIAMI — Johnny Lam held a variety of jobs over the years — a mechanic, a bag boy, a store stockman — but just hadn’t been able to find the right fit. Earlier this year, Lam participated in a three-month internship program with Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department (MDRP&OS) at Pelican Harbor Marina. Lam was so successful in his internship performance that he was hired by MDPR&OS as a park service aide in May.

Lam receives services from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and APD is highlighting the workplace achievements of people with developmental disabilities and the employers who hire them.

Lam’s job duties include pumping gasoline into boats at the marina, ensuring there is no leakage into the water and keeping a fuel log. He picks up and transports trash. He cuts grass and cleans the bathrooms. Lam works Monday through Thursday. He is required to wear a life jacket for safety purposes, since he works so close to the water.

“Johnny works very well with his supervisors and co-workers,” said Gerardo Tumani, one of Lam’s supervisors. He frequently asks good questions, including what else needs to be done. He likes to keep busy and is always ready for another task. Johnny has good spirit.”

Lam said, “My bosses are great and co-workers are always willing to help out if I need a hand.”

In his free time, Lam likes to jet-ski, and ride and work on his bicycle.

Lam’s goals are to eventually to buy a house and a car. He hopes to grow in his job and be promoted to a full-time position at the marina.

Lam said, “I’m happy working here. I never thought I’d get the opportunity to be working for the county.”

APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 50,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit or call toll free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).