This fall, Midway ISD special needs students are participating in a work-study program at area businesses.
The Start2Finish program, which started in August, is funded through the Texas Workforce Commission's Vocational Rehabilitation Services in partnership with local school districts.
"Behind our program is that their last day at Midway High School looks like the first day when they are done here," Midway ISD vocation teacher Jackie Searles said.
Special needs students between the ages of 18 and 22 years of age are going to H-E-B, the Department of Veteran Affairs, Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest, Spring Valley Elementary, Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, the Texas Workforce Commission sends teachers and coaches to help students along the way.
For H-E-B, it's important to partner with other groups to prepare them for the workforce.
"We stay very involved in our community so this is one of the ways that we can give back to our local community," Woodway H-E-B Deli Manager Denise Babcock said.
The 13 students a part of the program help with cleaning tables, rolling silverware, bagging groceries and other tasks during their visit to the work sites.
"Our goal is to increase the quality of life for students. We want their independence to be as optimum as possible," Searles said.
John Andrews bags groceries at H-E-B three times a week.
"My favorite part of the program is just working in general," Andrews said.
His dad, Bobby looks forward to the experience of helping him after he finishes school.
"I think it gives him a great bridge toward their future whether they are learning about their post-secondary education [and] future employment," Bobby Andrews said. "I like for him to be able to find employment and settle into a life he is happy with."
John hopes he will be able to be hired in a grocery store in the future.
"I would definitely like a job like that," John said.
The students will be paid in the future and they may be hired at their work site after they complete the program.
Other school districts in the area are also participating in the program, including Waco ISD and Connally ISD.
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