(Amazon Staff Story) When Irene Pérez received the news that she had secured a job at an Amazon facility in Zaragoza, Spain, her tears of joy spoke volumes. She described it as the best day of her life, and she couldn’t have been happier. Similarly, for Anxo Blas, becoming an Amazon employee was nothing short of a dream come true.
What makes their stories remarkable is that they are part of an inspiring initiative created by two dedicated Amazonians who envisioned employing individuals with Down syndrome and learning difficulties. Christianne Ester and Rosa Gedeon joined forces, working collaboratively to bring this vision to life in May 2022. Gedeon, an HR business partner for Amazon Logistics Spain, and site leader Ester from an Amazon facility in Vigo, Spain, formulated a plan and partnered with a local organization to identify the right candidates for these positions.
In Europe, finding employment for those living with Down syndrome or related learning difficulties has been an arduous challenge, with fewer than 5% securing jobs. The statistics are somewhat higher in the United States, where roughly 3% of individuals have full-time employment. This initiative from Amazon aims to break down these barriers and create opportunities for individuals who have often been overlooked. As Pérez aptly puts it, “Many people think that those of us with disabilities are incapacitated. We’re not. Being here now at Amazon, I’m proof of that.”
Currently, 16 people in Spain have benefited from Gedeon and Ester’s groundbreaking program. The success of their initiative is now paving the way for expansion into more countries, spreading the message of empowerment and inclusion. Ester expressed her hopes for the future, stating, “The program has had such an impact worldwide, and we’ve now been asked to support the program in other countries. I hope we will keep achieving our goal.” This heartwarming endeavor is not just changing lives but also reshaping the landscape of inclusivity in the workplace.