Students Learn Skills on the Job

News, Rotator — By on March 28, 2012 11:35 am

By Haleigh Ehmsen-
On Friday, his work week almost over, sophomore Sonny Krob puts his hands on his hips, standing in aisle 6, sighs and then sits on the floor cross-legged to reach his hand behind the row of soups and bring them to the front of the shelf. “His favorite aisles are six and eleven, soups and dog food,” said Mary Boudreau, resource associate.

“Now that he has gotten used to the work and could do it for hours,” said Ms. Boudreau, although Sonny wasn’t immediately a productive worker. His first goal was to know all his co-workers names and now everybody knows him.

Special Education students at Mount Vernon High School have been working in local businesses for over ten years. Not only does the work experience help them develop work habits for their future, but also gives these students the opportunity to interact with the community on a different level.

Students start working in the community their freshman year in high school and the length of time working increases as they get older. The students are placed in their jobs according to interest, ability level, and availability of the job. Freshmen and sophomores work one period per day and juniors and seniors work two periods, back-to-back, each day, except for Thursday, when they do work for the school. On Thursdays, special education students water the plants, collect recycling and shred documents as needed.

Sonny isn’t the only student who works at Gary’s. Brad Ford, a senior, works there sixth and seventh period every school day except Thursday facing shelves. Kemra Peska, resource associate, said that working at Gary’s has helped Brad to be more social. “He talks to his co-workers and sees that he actually will be able to have a job. It makes him proud of himself,” she said.

Sophomore Jared Clark works at Ace third hour. He stocks shelves and because of his ability to memorize things easily, Ms. Boudreau said he does a great job. He reads and matches the barcodes to sort automotive parts into their places. Jared said his favorite part of working at Ace is “putting the automotive stuff away and straightening things out.”

Another sophomore, Jacob Steele, works at Pizza Palace folding pizza
boxes and also at Elliot’s Uptown Fitness Center doing custodial work like vacuuming and taking out the garbage. Jacob is also the manager for the wrestling team and really enjoys it. He said, “I keep them in line.”

Jacob Steele, Brad Ford, Jared Clark and Sonny Krob pose in their work attire March 26. Photo by Haleigh Ehmsen.

While these students do not receive a paycheck for their work, their payment is something worth more than money. They learn valuable skills from the work experience like time management and how to work well with others.

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