Nick moved to California from Texas for a career in renewable energy. When things didn’t go quite as expected, Nick came to the Department of Rehabilitation in 2013. He was assigned to a job developer at Diablo Valley College who worked with him to secure a position at the U.S. Mint.
Carlin: I work at the U.S. Mint. I’m a mechanical engineer, I have a PhD from Texas A&M. I came out here to California and started working at a renewable energy company in Concord. Luckily, I had already started working with Monica out in the Antioch office. And so, by the time I finally got laid off in December 2013... we had already started the paperwork and the process was going. She hooked me up with a job developer at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. And so he said yeah, I got this job at the Mint... you could interview for it... tomorrow if you want? I was like, alright.
I have muscular dystrophy; it’s a progressive muscle disorder, so it gets worse as you... as you get older. In college I was still able to walk around okay. It was getting hard, but when I started looking for work and you know, employers were seeing that I kinda had a lot of trouble getting up and down from chairs and stuff, I think that might have been hurting me. We went to the Department of Rehab in Texas--your version in Texas-- and they started helping me get wheelchair, which is this wheelchair in fact. Basically the first interview I went to in a wheelchair, they hired me. That...that was it.
DOR: Do you think having the wheelchair makes you more confident?
Carlin: Oh yeah, I’m not worried about falling down and not being able to get up all the time. Yeah; absolutely.
DOR: If you were having that much difficulty, why were you still resisting?
Carlin: Pride. You have to understand it’s a long process. I've been, I had been walking, my entire life. You know... it’s... but now it’s slowly going away and so it, it’s something you really try to hold onto as long as possible.