News Article Details

Work-based learning creates life-long lessons

Augusta Chronicle - 1/30/2020

Jan. 30--A young man with autism is an example of how there is a job and purpose for everyone.

Tres Long, a graduate of Williston-Elko High School, began working at Meeting on Main restaurant in Williston about 10 years ago while he was still in school. Cathy Smith, the school's career facilitator, organized the work-based learning opportunity for Long. Meeting on Main agreed to let Long come in and roll the silverware into the napkins every day. After he graduated, he continued to go to the restaurant daily to work and has been there ever since.

"He is devoted and dedicated to his job. I appreciate Meeting on Main for supporting our students to the fullest. Tres does a fabulous job and Meeting on Main depends on him to get this done for them," said Smith.

His work ethic serves as an inspiration to Smith.

"There's a place for everyone in this world," said Smith.

Long is just one of the many students who have been helped through the work-based learning program, which is offered to seniors. In place of a class, the students are allowed to go to a workplace to gain experience. Some of the opportunities are paid and some are volunteer. Smith tries to place students in a workplace that would be advantageous to them, especially if they have a career they are interested in.

"I'm very appreciative for our community in Williston being so supportive in letting our students work," said Smith of their business partners.

"I am a big believer that when students get work experience, of any kind, they gain knowledge. They learn so many valuable skills and lessons! They sharpen their soft skills and improve their work ethic, time management and communication skills. Many times, these work-based learning opportunities create paid positions if the student proves themselves on the job," said Smith, who believes it's important to have a daily goal.

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