Tiger Talk: Students gain real-world job experience through program
At the high school level, finding ways for students to gain practical, real-world learning opportunities is something that can add immense value to their learning.
Logistically, making this happen can be a challenge at times, as offsite work opportunities don’t always mesh with the daily school schedule. However, we know the benefits for students are well worth the effort.
At the start of the current school year, a few of our teachers and staff teamed up to pilot a work experience program for a group of students in our high school. The goal was to provide students with real-world job experience, while practicing communication and customer interaction skills.
We were fortunate to find a great partner in Family Market, our local grocery store here in Pine River, which we thought was the perfect setting to build these skills.
Over the course of the fall and winter, a small group of our high school students rotated through two-hour work shifts on Friday afternoons, performing tasks like stocking shelves, bagging and carrying out groceries, and even working with department managers to understand inventory and ordering.
The Family Market store team did a great job showing our students the ins and outs of working at the store and our staff saw some great wins in this initial pilot program. Students improved work skills with each visit, their comfort level talking to customers improved and, perhaps most exciting, one of the students was subsequently hired to work full time at the store!
Unfortunately, our plans to re-up this program for this spring were derailed by the coronavirus situation and school physically closing. However, it’s clear from just a few short months that real-world partnerships like this one can be a major benefit to our students.
We want to say a heartfelt thank you to Chuck, John and the entire team at Family Market for providing our students with a great learning experience. We also want you to know how much we all appreciate the work Family Market is doing right now to ensure we all have the essentials during the current situation.
If and when we get back to “normal," we certainly hope to restart this program so our students can continue to learn from each of you.