TTW students receive work experience while in school

Transition to Work students Zach Daniels and Bryan Mueller are earning experience and class credit by working at the Kroger supermarket in Wintersville. TTW students spend time at area businesses and perform tasks at the JVS as they prepare for jobs in the real world. — Contributed

BLOOMINGDALE — Transition to Work students at the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School are gaining job experience and class credit by working at area establishments.

Instructor Christina Henderson said local businesses have opened their doors to give 12 special needs students opportunities in the real world. Two new business additions are Kroger and Zalenski Family Eatery and Pub in Wintersville, while they also spend one day each week at Jefferson Landmark in Bloomingdale and Gold Star Kennel in Cadiz and perform such tasks as cleaning the teacher’s lounge and operating the school store at the JVS. Students rotate their time at the sites so they each gain skills and earn credit for lab time, administrators said.

“They bag, get carts, clean the front of the building and restock bags at Kroger and bus tables, roll silverware and clean the dishes (at Zalenski’s),” Henderson said, adding two students spend Mondays at the store while the remainder will rotate their time at the eatery with three to four students working on Thursdays.

This spring a group will head to Vaccaro Field to conduct weekly maintenance.

“It is their lab and is all part of their grade,” Henderson added. “They are graded every quarter on the amount of tasks they do without verbal prompting.”

Students ages 16-22 participate, and the ultimate goal is to prepare them for the work force.

“They enjoy learning the different job skills, knowing this can lead to a job and the job can lead to money and the money can lead to financial independence,” she said.

A few of the pupils said they enjoyed learning the various tasks.

Mackenzie Owen, 19, said her favorite job is working with animals at the Gold Star Kennel, but she also gained knowledge working the cash register at the school store. While she is excited about doing a job, she really enjoys the monetary rewards.

Bryan Mueller, who was named manager of the school store, is getting used to his time at Kroger.

“I like it,” he commented.

Glenn Zalenski, who operates the Wintersville restaurant, said the TTW program gives youth an opportunity to understand what it is like to be in the work force.

“It’s a good place to start and gives them life experience. I know my staff will treat them with the utmost respect and dignity they deserve as staff members,” Zalenski said.