Statler Center, a program of the Olmsted Center for Sight located in Buffalo, NY, would like to recognize Tony McKinney, one of our own heroes in Dallas, TX. We would also like to recognize the three organizations that played a role in his success - Criss Cole, The Dallas office of DARS, and the Statler Center.
My name is Tony McKinney. I live in Dallas, TX and am a recent graduate of the National Statler Center. I was unemployed for a year in a half, but always wanted an opportunity to serve others in the hospitality or customer service industries.
I learned about the National Statler Center while attending the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center for the Blind in Austin, TX. I am now the living definition of rehabilitation, because I have gained so much confidence toward accomplishing my goals in employment and independent living. I am a more qualified applicant for employment.
CCRC gave me the tools to open doors for my future. The Dallas office of the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services provided me with the exciting opportunity to attend the National Statler Center, which specializes in careers in customer service for people who are blind and visually impaired or physically disabled. I selected this specialized vocational training program because the mission statement was in line with my vocational goal. I committed myself to the program, and felt that it would be a worthwhile investment in my future. I assured my supporters that I would be a successful, gainfully employed professional, and live the lifestyle that I dreamed of.
I graduated from the Statler Center in 2014 and I truly hit the ground running when I returned to Texas. I put in over 60 applications; going to 16 interviews from Dallas to Austin, and within four months accepted a position as a switchboard operator with Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX.
It took self-confidence, motivation, hope and the willingness to work hard to be successful. I thank everyone who helped me get on the road to success.