Jose Bolanos 5 year Employment Anniversary at Modernica


Jose Bolanos just celebrated his 5 year anniversary as an exemplary employee at Modernica. Modernica is a family business, and in their 30 plus years in business in Los Angeles, they have learned that people are the backbone of the business. Good employees are hard to find and hard to keep. Modernica owners Jay and Jenny Novak are also the parents of a young adult on the autism spectrum, so they know first hand some of the challenges that face individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities when it comes to employment. But they also know that, matched with the right job and the right supports, employees on the spectrum thrive in the workplace. Modernica had already partnered with Mychal’s Learning Place to offer job experience and training at their downtown furniture factory, and had seen the productivity and the positivity of the interns in the program. 

For the company, in 2016, it was a natural progression to hire a Mychal’s intern who showed they could do the job well. Jose proved to be a valuable addition to the Modernica team. The transition from intern to full time employee was challenging, as the hours were much longer and the requirements greater. But Modernica, Mychal’s, and Jose worked together to make incremental changes building up to full time employment, and the investment has absolutely paid off. Jose, 5 years later, is one of Modernica’s most dependable employees. His timeliness, enthusiastic attitude and steady progress make him a star member of the team. He has learned new skills and become more conversational and comfortable with other employees.

His presence has added some unexpected benefits to the company culture as well. Other long time employees watched his progress from a part time intern to a full time employee. The Modernica family celebrated his success, and employees and management both felt a sense of well being knowing that they were a part of the solution for the huge issue of unemployment among this population. We are truly in this together. As Jay expressed, “Hiring Jose was one of the best decisions we have made. In addition to being a great employee, Jose has been a great example to others, and proof that huge benefits come from investing in people with developmental differences.”