Unique program preparing students for workforce

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Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2014 ----- 5:00 p.m.

A program helping area students get on the job training before they even graduate high school is proving to be a success.
Lafollette High School has been partnering with First United Methodist Church for the past decade.
"We get to see them succeed once they've left our care, our guidance," said Special Education Assistant Anita Sattel.
It's a community vocational program through the Madison School District where kids with special needs can get some on-the-job training.
"We have students who have gotten paid positions just from working with us here at the pantry and outreach services last year," explained Sattel.
Like Brandon, now working in the restaurant business.
"I put sausages into buckets and fold boxes, it's going really great for me there," he said. And Gerardo, his co-worker, helps prepare pizza..
We asked, "you're working at the Pizza Oven correct?" He answered, "yes!" "Do you like your job there?" He explained, "yes!"

And it's skills that they've learned here, that have made their jobs such a success. "We've got a commercial kitchen, we've got maintenance, we've got a grocery store, retail experience, they've got all different kinds of opportunity here," said Sattel.

"I like to bus tables, I used to do that here, so that's where I learned my experience from," said Brandon.

It's not only about on-the-job training. It's about making friends and connections, and of course there are a few perks about the new job at Pizza Oven. We asked, "do you like the food there?" He replied, "oh yeah!"

The students are at First United Methodist four days a week, helping with jobs ranging from preparing meals to stocking the food pantry.
They also get a taste of the college experience by eating lunch in the cafeteria at MATC.