His job supports college fund, poetic future


At age 33, Vince Fiorilli still has dreams he wants to accomplish in life– like enrolling in an online college to pursue his passion for writing poetry.

For now, he’s redefining his ability by dabbling in poetry and earning money for college by working at McDonald’s in Eden Prairie.

“Everybody looks to me for help,” he said. “I’d like to be here for a while.”

Landing an independent job was a big step for Fiorilli, who has lived with the effects of a traumatic brain injury most of his life. As a child, he fell down some basement stairs, causing life-altering injuries that impact him to this day.

Although Vince says his brain injury meant he had to give up his goal of joining the military, he hasn’t let it stop him from leading a fulfilling life, complete with work, friends and

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“I like to write poems, hang out with friends and help people,” he said, adding that someday he would like to volunteer with seniors or people with disabilities. “I think I was given a gift that I want to use.”

Vince had been involved in Opportunity Partners’ employment programs for several years, working at center-based jobs and community supported employment teams, most

recently at a General Mills bakery site.

Over time, he gained the soft skills and confidence needed to pursue a job where he would work on his own.  He was ready to be more independent.  Working with Opportunity Partners job developer Rick Grimes, Fiorilli began to scout out businesses within walking distance from his home.

McDonald’s hired him as a dining room attendant. As Fiorilli’s managers began to recognize his potential as a hard worker and reliable employee, the opportunities for additional training expanded.