Students learn life skills at Tony's Fine Foods

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Ridgefield -- Special education students have been getting important job experience from Ridgefield School District's Life Skills program. Ridgefield students started working at Tony's Fine Foods warehouse in September, spending four hours a week lending a hand at the food distribution company, which also earns them high school credit. The program pairs with other local businesses and agencies, including Loaves and Fishes, Neighbors Helping Neighbors and Ridgefield Physical Therapy. At Tony's Fine Foods, the students learned to review inventory and properly label boxes. They also swept and cleaned up messes. "This program helps us learn the different things we need to know how to do when we're older," said junior Joshuah Weygandt in a press release. Teens can take part in Life Skills until they are 18. When participants turn 21, the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation steps in with job coaching. "I see the capabilities these students have and want to help them rise to their potential," said Donna Turk, an employment specialist for the school district.