Starting over, with new independence, jobs and a future

A pleasant, talkative individual with retail experience is making his foray into office work, while still maintaining a job at Mall of America.

Office assistant Brandon Mathiowetz isn’t shy as he plugs away at a computer near the entrance at Dependable Home Health Care in St. Paul. He greets staff and visitors while carrying out duties for the nearby office manager.

“Some people say I have a photographic memory,” said Mathiowetz, who moved from his parents’ home in Hastings to his own Apple Valley apartment in 2017. That change also meant leaving his two-year job at the Hastings Walmart. ProAct Vocational Specialist Dan Abramowicz was there to assist.

Dependable employs about 400 direct support professionals, who assist 300 people with disabilities in the community. Mathiowetz makes calls to remind staff about classes, works on mailings, records updates in MS Office and answers phones. He also fills in for the office manager when she stepsaway.

“He moved and had to start all over again,” said Abramowicz. “Brandon is great, very personable, and articulate, too.”
Despite the challenges of cerebral palsy, Mathiowetz soldiered on with Abramowicz through highs and lows, getting some interviews after applying for various jobs. “There were times when it was definitely discouraging,” he said. “I persevered and just kept going. It was something I needed to do and something I was bound and determined to do.”

Mathiowetz takes Metro Mobility buses to his St. Paul job, and to Crayola Experience at the large mall, where he serves up front with guests. This is where his Walmart experience is especially helpful.

At the world’s largest brick and mortar retailer, he worked in multiple clothing departments and the fitting rooms, answered phones, and assisted in electronics, toys, automotive and sporting goods.

Going forward, he said he enjoys the stability of office work and has adapted well here. Mathiowetz said it’s the next stepping stone in his career life. His employer is equally enthusiastic. “He’s a great employee. Who wouldn’t hire him,” said John Rentschler, senior vice president with Dependable Home Health Care.