Students with special needs get hands-on work experience

Students with special need get hands-on work experience
Students with special need get hands-on work experience(KCBD)
Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 6:22 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Students from across the South Plains got some hands-on work experience Thursday, as they got a chance shadow workers on the job.

Amerigroup partners with dozens of Lubbock business every year to provide these mentoring opportunities to high school students with special needs. The United We Work event focuses on preparing them to enter the workforce.

“They’re able to get in the workforce, and they’re great kids.” Amerigroup spokeswoman Camelia Alonzo said. “They’re just wanting to get some hands-on experience and see what they can do.”

Students were on the clock learning about jobs they could get, learning from people they could be working alongside.

For some, like Lubbock High senior Jason Guerrero, who’s interested in being a forklift operator, it’s about following in the footsteps of family members.

“My dad used to drive one too for TNT, for the fireworks,” Guerrero said. “My uncle, he does the same thing.”

Clayton Thompson at United’s Llano Warehouse says the program provides a much-needed first look at real world opportunities.

“It’s important for them to come out to see what the workforce is going to be like after they graduate,” Guerrero said.

Alonzo says the shadowing opportunity opens up new possibilities for the students.

“What we really want to do is just open some doors for them,” Alonzo said. “That way they get some job experience.”

While having a job can be hard work, finding an environment you enjoy can make all the difference.

Savana Walker with Cardinal’s Sports Center says that’s just one thing she hopes students remember after today.

“That’s what we’re excited about to show these kids,” Walker said. “How awesome it is to work here and how we treat all of our employees and workers like family.”

One Estacado junior was excited about what he saw.

“It’s everything that’s me,” Jalill said. “Putting up clothes, learning how to do trophies, it’s everything that I wanted to do.”

No matter what field they choose, Alonzo says any business would be lucky to have them.

“They’d be amazing employees,” Alonzo said. “Very dedicated, they’re ready to get out into the workforce.”

More than 100 students from seven area school districts participated in the United We Work event.

Alonzo says Amerigroup is always looking for more partners to help the students prepare for life after high school.

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