School-to-work program prepares ESE students for employment

ESE Richbourg Jacob Luttrell Jo Gironda Uncile Bill's

Richbourg Exceptional Student Education School student Jacob Luttrell helps Jo Gironda make coleslaw at Uncle Bill's Family Restaurant as owner Bill White, center rear, cooks.

BRIAN HUGHES | News Bulletin
Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 05:35 PM.

CRESTVIEW — A vocational preparatory class at Richbourg Exceptional Student Education School is preparing select high school students for post-graduation employment.

Tuesday at Uncle Bill's Family Restaurant, Jesse Dobbs scurried around the dining room busing and cleaning tables under the school-to-work program.

In the kitchen, Grace Stockton stacked dishes for cleaning; nearby, her classmate, Jacob Luttrell, helped restaurant staffer Jo Gironda make coleslaw.

"The point of the program is to give students employable skills so they don't sit at home doing nothing when they can do something productive," Richbourg job coach Jeff Bowen said.

Students receive school credit as they learn on the job, Bowen said. Depending on ability, they may receive training in more involved tasks.

Richbourg students also gain basic work experience at the Crestview Wal-Mart, pick up range balls at Foxwood Country Club, and work at Foster Families of America’s downtown thrift store.

"Now that they have been here, they have work skills," Bowen said. "That keeps the brain engaged. They have a good chance of getting hired."

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