Dream job a slam dunk for man with Down syndrome

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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) -- John Walter has always had a love for sports and wanted to work at a sports arena.


So through his hard work and determination, Walter landed his dream job at Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at the age of 20.

"Basketball has always been a joy of his and he wanted to be around sports when he decided he wanted to work," said Shannon Walter, John's mother.

John, who has Down syndrome, plays basketball for his Special Olympics team.

"When he sees the basketball players, he beams, because this is his dream job," said Sue Weston, John's supervisor.

Goodwill's Project SEARCH, helped John land the job. The project helps people who have developmental disabilities gain skills and jobs.

"During his time in Project SEARCH, John completed internships and one that he completed was in the environmental services department at Ascension Mercy Hospital, and it really helped to give him the training that he needed. There was a lot of transferable skills that he was able to learn," said Kayla Countney, who is with Vocational Support Services Goodwill Project SEARCH.

John graduated from the Oshkosh Ascension Mercy Hospital Project SEARCH Program in June.

He landed an interview with the arena in November and John was able to start the first day of his dream job in December.

"He comes in and he's ready to work every day and with a smile on his face, and he's extremely happy, eager to work," said Weston.

"It's been wonderful to know that he's so loved in a place that he wants to be, so it's just been a huge blessing for us," said Shannon, John's mother.

"He's in a really unique place where he can have the opportunity to potentially change the mindset of people around him and prove that he can do the job and it's really cool to watch that happen," said Countney.