Tom Norton Jr., of Norton Cattle Company in Madras, knows that finding dependable and hard-working ranch employees is not always an easy task. Yet when Norton reached out to the Jefferson County School District Transition Network team with an opportunity for someone to work on the ranch, he found just those qualities in Diego Roura, age 20.


Working hard and learning job skills

Transition Network job developer Kristin Saulsbury matched Roura with the ranch job over two years ago, and the job has become a win-win for both employee and employer. Roura began by helping with pitching hay and maintaining water troughs, and his duties have grown to include moving equipment and sorting livestock. Norton appreciates Roura’s reliability and strong work ethic, and sees potential for more responsibility.

“Working around livestock can be challenging, and Diego has been willing to jump in and help with any task we need,” said Norton. “Diego has become part of the team, and he helps now with off-site work projects and comes along on employee outings as well.”


Building confidence

Through his work with Norton Cattle Ranch, Roura has experienced personal growth in addition to expanding his work skills, notes Saulsbury.

“Without a doubt, Diego has gained confidence, broadened social skills, and become more independent. He has also greatly increased his knowledge of livestock and farming,” said Saulsbury.


Norton Cattle Company is making a difference

Businesses like Norton Cattle Ranch that hire Transition students not only find good employees, but have the added reward of making a positive difference in these students’ lives. The jobs bring confidence and a sense of self-worth, as well as new independent living skills.

“When someone believes in our students enough to give them a chance at employment, they will do everything they can to make that employer proud,” said Saulsbury.

Business owners interested in helping Transition students gain employment experience and learn job skills can contact their local high school transition program to learn more.