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CONTACT: Melanie Mowry Etters
Communication Director

Two Decades in the Bag

By Stephanie Rogers

STUART, Fla.– For more than 20 years, Michael Desposati has been a valuable team member of Publix Super Market at Cove Shopping Center in Stuart. As a Front Service Clerk for the customer service team, Desposati bags groceries, assists customers by loading groceries in their cars, returns carts, and assists coworkers in completing any task when asked.

Desposati likes working because it keeps him busy. When asked what he enjoys most about his job, he said “I like seeing people I know.”

Desposati, 39, has a disability and receives services through the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to help him succeed at work. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities is highlighting the achievements of employees with developmental disabilities in Florida.

The pandemic has brought about a lot of changes in procedures and job tasks for Publix employees. “Michael has adapted well to the new guidelines and has even picked up extra shifts during this pandemic”, says Debra Athos, Desposati’s job coach with Helping People Succeed.  Athos hears positive feedback from Michael’s coworkers on how he is doing. “The Publix team says Mike is very reliable. He always arrives on time, is very independent, and is easy to get along with,” says Athos. Desposati has even been awarded gift cards from his employer for his hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his free time, Desposati enjoys spending time in the community with his friends such as bowling, going to the movies, and hanging out at the park. 

When asked what advice he would you give someone with a disability looking for a job, Michael replied, “Work hard, show up, and no calling out.”

APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 55,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit or call toll free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).