BOE business partners give Lowndes County students work experience

Published 5:11 pm Friday, January 24, 2014

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The Lowndes County Public Schools Job Coach Development Program for Students at Central High School and The Calhoun High has partnered with several businesses in Lowndes County and the surrounding area to provide 17 students to date with work experience.
Lowndes County Public Schools Job Coach Reginald Crawford said, “Dr. Daniel Boyd, superintendent of Lowndes County (Public) Schools, felt that with such a high unemployment rate (9.6 percent) it was imperative that something be done immediately.”

Crawford said, “By aligning the students up with businesses such as Subway, Orchard Health Care, Priester’s Pecan, A G Grocery, Flying J, Denny’s, QV, Cracker Barrel and DeJong of Ft. Deposit, it creates a win-win situation as it relates to students gaining first-hand experience.”

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He said Denny’s; Flying J and AG Grocery represent over 58 percent of the students currently working in this county.

Denny’s and Flying J are both located in Hope Hull, Cracker Barrel is located in Greenville, Chick-Fil-A is located in Montgomery. Priester’s Pecans and Subway are located in Fort Deposit, and AG Grocery is located in Hayneville.

The 17 students current working in the program include, Jamarcus Rush, Jeffery Catledge, Devontae’ McMeans, Stephanie Jenkins, Jalah Haygood, Keosha McCloud and Thederick Myles, all at Denny’s; Nhadijah Thigpen at Subway; LaQuinta Gray at Chick-fil-A; Kenisha Oliver and Jermichael Jones at Cracker Barrel; Shanja Thigpen at Priester’s Pecans; Abrianne Gresham, Jadarius Nelson, Keantrae Brenson and Ladarius Lewis at AG Grocery and Shaheed Muhammad at Flying J.

When asked about giving Lowndes County students a chance to work at his business, Flying J General Manager Ray Coulter said, “I tell you what, I’ve enjoyed it to be partnered with Mr. Crawford.” He said the students have worked out well for him.

Coulter said the students work the weekend and cover the spots where he needs them so, there are “no issues.”

He said the students work the cash register and customer service and “have fun.”

Denny’s Manager Reginald Harris said, “I think it is a great opportunity for the kids to actually learn a skill that they can actually apply to life.”

He said there is so much focus on academics, which are important, but “Actually having something you are going to be able to apply is actually more important in a sense… We’re guiding the kids in the right direction.”

He said students work after school and on weekends hosting, washing dishes and learning to cook.

Crawford said Lowndes County Public Schools have set a goal to have 20 students working in the program, which he said he expects to surpass by May.

Boyd said, “I think it is an outstanding program for many reasons.”

He said, “It allows our students to get work skills while they’re in high school. Plus it also allows employers to see that we have a viable workforce that can fill potential future vacancies with their respective companies.”

Boyd added, “It is always good for someone to be gainfully employed at any age. And I feel by exposing students to work at this particular point it helps them to understand how important it is to become a productive citizen of our society.”