OVIEDO, Fla. – Job experience training in schools is preparing some exceptional students for the future. Every weekday morning in the kitchen at Hagerty High School restaurant, over 1,000 meals are prepared for students.
More than a dozen exceptional students help out with the effort before they start their day in the classroom. They help sleeve cookies, fold boxes, arrange snacks and stock drinks for school lunch. They say it's meaningful work that's giving them life skills and preparation for the workforce.
"It's really helpful how they all work together and we all pitch in to help serve lunch every day at the cafeteria," student Jared Yonker said. "It helped me develop more experience so I can eventually get a job one day."
"It's preparing them, it's giving them skills, employability skills, vocational skills, social skills, self-advocacy skills," Varying Exceptionalities teacher Tammy Harris said. "It gives them that sense of pride and self-esteem which is huge."
Through their experience at the school restaurant as well as other job experience training programs on campus, graduates have gone on to work for employers such as Chick-fil-A, Publix and full-time jobs in schools.