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The Colt

The student news site of Arlington High School

The Colt

The student news site of Arlington High School

The Colt

Work-study program partners with local business

Students in the VAC program work at the Cici’s Pizza on Little Road. Through the partnership they learned interview skills, job skills and life skills. They earned their t-shirts and caps in December and advanced from entry-level duties, like folding boxes, to advanced duties, like keeping the salad bar stocked. The partnership between AHS and Cici’s had been in place for three years and in that time, many students had used the skills they learned to gain paid employment at Cici’s and in other jobs. Photo provided by Travis Miller, lead VAC teacher

If you go to the CiCi’s on Little Road and see a familiar face or two, they might just be Colts involved in the Vocational Alternative Curriculum. VAC is a “work-study program” designed to give special education students skills so that they can be employable in the future.

“The program is designed to give our students job skills, interview skills, and life skills to help them become employable once they leave high school,” Travis Miller, lead teacher, said.

The AHS VAC program has partnered with Cici’s Pizza for three years.

“The owner really embraces our students,” Miller said. “The goal is when they work, they’re really acquiring skills so that they could possibly be paid to work there in the future.”

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Giovanni Martinez, sophomore, has enjoyed working at Cici’s.

“I really like it,” he said. “I’ve had a good experience learning more stuff and doing my best.”

In the entry level position the students fold pizza boxes, pull the booths out to sweep, and wipe down the tables, booths, chairs and video game machines. The next level of duties includes filling the receptacles in the salad bar, and taking the trash out in the back and learning the security code to come back in. They also learn a number of life skills.

“They’ve learned how to be timely and that means knowing how to go on a lunch break and knowing when break is over,” Miller said. “They have learned initiative; once their job is done to not stand around but look for something else to do. Dress code, phone usage, presentation as far as knowing how to walk up to a customer who’s eating, whose plate has a napkin on it and ask “May I get that for you?” versus “Are you done yet?”. Mannerisms – “yes sir”, “no sir”, “yes ma’am”, “no ma’am”. They’re learning how to make better eye contact when they’re talking to adults, and they’re learning about perception like having your hands in your pocket, sitting down, standing around whenever people are working.”

The teachers and students both hope these skills will translate to jobs in the future.

“We had one student work at Cici’s last summer and we have some that are on track to becoming gainfully employed this summer,” Miller said.

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