Students With Disabilities Learn Real Life Job Skills

Getting a job straight out of high school is tough. Nowadays, most entry level jobs won’t hire you without some type of experience.

That’s why Miguel Ramirez is getting a head start.

The high school senior is learning how to stock supplies and make deliveries at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center-Garland.

“Yes, I really like it,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez has a developmental disability. The Garland School District teamed up with the local hospital to help students like Ramirez move beyond the classroom and into careers.

The program is called Project Search and lasts 30 weeks. During the course, the students are called interns rather than students.

They are taught to use the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system rather than relying on a parent to get to and from work.

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Interns rotate through three unpaid internships in the cafeteria, stocking and distributing supplies and the environmental department.

The course is not only a learning experience for the kids, but for the teen’s mentors, as well.

"I really do enjoy working with the boys,” said David Stanley. "And we connect.”

The program also gives the students a sense of pride.

“It’s important because everyone has a right to dignity, to be employed if they are able to,” said Corina Wild with Garland ISD.

Sergio Rangel, 18, knows that feeling of hope. He works in the cafeteria and is learning he can be good at any job.

"I feel more independent and more confident,” said Rangel.

By the end of the school year, Sergio will have the certificate to prove it.

"It’s a good feeling when you earn your own money,” he said.

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