GIPS gives high school students work opportunities

Coffee (NTV Achives)

Schools are almost all out for summer and for some Grand Island students, they will be taking on a new daily grind.

Grand Island Senior High students will get to run a student–run coffee shop.

"The more and more we can get kids out on job sites and experiencing the world of work, the better," Robin Dexter, Associate Superintendent, said.

That’s why administrators at Grand Island Public Schools decided to give high school students, a new work opportunity.

"If they can apply what they're learning it means so much more and it will stick better," Dexter said.

They’re opening up a coffee shop for GISH students to work at. The summer program will be for students with learning disabilities, while the fall program will be open to all students.

"For the summer we'll start renting space. It used to be a coffee shop, destiny's church, on locust and Anna corner. But eventually we'd like to see that coffee shop opened up and have our students with disabilities as well as students without, run that as a business as part of our workforce and career and college readiness," Dexter said.

This summer, roughly fifteen students signed up to work, as well as two teachers and four job coaches.

Kris McMullen, who helped come up with the idea, said wanted them to think about life after high school and that the coffee shop, amongst other activities in the work-based program, will give them a feel for reality.

"The coffee shop itself is going to allow us to partner with some of our students who are interested in business, and develop a business plan and have our students with disabilities work at that site, and have those skills of learning to keep a job and do a good job,” McMullen said.

The program also shows students how to budget their money.

"June 15th is going to be fun for them because they're going to get a pay check and then we're going to talk about what you can do with the pay check and all the things that happen, and how to budget and stuff. I think once they realize that work means something, I think you're going to see a lot more productivity and kids really just think about their careers. Not just get out of school and 'I don't know what I'm going to do,'" McMullen said.

Students will work 20 hours a week and get paid $10/ hour and once students get 90 hours on the job, they can get additional school credit.

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