Shortly after moving to Northern California, Julio sustained a life-changing injury. He wasn’t sure how he would be able to go back to work, or if he even could. Then he met DOR counselor Teresa Cole in 2013. She helped Julio enroll at the Computer Technologies Program in Berkeley where he updated his skills and secured an internship at LMi.net—a local internet service provider. He was hired on full time as technical support in October 2014.
Thanksgiving had just passed and I was going to make some homemade fries, which I did all the time. I filled up the pot with grease. In the meantime, my wife... she was having issues with the computer and I got distracted from cooking. My back was turned. It was... eerie... the smoke that was coming from the pot. My first reaction was to move the pot and I was going to take it to the sink, but everyone knows that water and grease don’t mix. I think back, and it’s like, "why don’t you just turn the pilot off?" Anyway, so I pick this pot up and I’m taking it to the sink and the top just kind of moved a little bit.
Firemen told me later that when grease is that hot, it’s unstable. And when air combined with the hot grease it.. it blew up like a bomb in my hand. So, I ended up getting third degree burns on my hands, my arms, my feet.
So during my rehab, I’m like, well what am I going to do now? Cause at that time, I wasn’t sure how my recovery was going to come along. What would I physically be able to do?
I was introduced to the Department of Rehab in 2012. It’s like, well, so what job is going to hire me, you know... when... when I can’t stand? I can do a seated job, but at that time I really couldn’t use my hands. So, what.. what do you do?
Terri was assigned to me as my counselor. I had a conversation with her just like I’m having with you-- kinda,"what would you like to do? What type of work would you like to be rehabbed in?" Through DOR I was able to get the tools that I need to set me up, to... be successful. I mean, where was I going to get that?
I was able to go to the school, I was able to learn about some of the latest technology out there. I couldn’t have done it, honestly, without the help of DOR. That’s probably how it’s supposed to work. And if it can work for me, I know it can work for anyone that’s out there that’s willing to... apply themselves and just look for those opportunities that’s there open; cause there’s always opportunities.
Julio Jefferson (left) standing with DOR Counselor Teresa Cole (Terri, right)