A new Washougal High School program is helping students earn school credits while connecting the things they’ve learned in their career and technical education classes with real-world work skills.
Fedrico Pineada, Jackson Lynch and Emma Beaudoin are three of the 20 Washougal High students taking part in the school’s new work site learning program through jobs at Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Northwest Supported Living.
“Work site learning is an amazing partnership between our students, their employer, and us as educators,” said Margaret Rice, the Washougal School District’s career and technical education director. “We have the opportunity to bring focused learning to the workplace and support our business partners in teaching our students, who are their employees, what they need to know to be successful at their job.”
The work site learning is one of several programs offered at Washougal High during the 2021-22 school year, Rice said.
Beaudoin, a junior, joined the program in October 2021, as an office assistant at Northwest Supported Living, an assisted living and senior care facility in Vancouver.
“I actually started working there during remote learning,” Beaudoin said. “The work site learning program helped me keep that going. It is great to be able to earn money and get credit toward graduation.
“I’d be lost without work,” Beaudoin said. “I have learned communication skills, customer service and data entry. I think I learned these things more quickly with one-on-one time from my manager who is there to personally help me. ”
The work site learning students earn school credit while working at a job that connects to a career and technical education class they are taking or have taken, and fits into their class schedule.
Seventeen local businesses are currently employing the Washougal work site students, said Kathy Scobba, Washougal High’s career specialist and work site learning coordinator.
“These employers help their student employees create a strong work foundation, so they are valuable, contributing workers, not only for this job, but for their future career,” Scobba said.
Breakfast bistro coming to Excelsior
Rice said she also is excited about the debut of her department’s latest project, a student-operated breakfast bistro at the Excelsior building.
The Panther Cafe was set to open Tuesday, serving meals to Washougal High students and staff members before they head to their first class of the day.
The district’s culinary students also plan to open a Shoug Shack food truck as soon as they can work through permitting issues, Rice said. The school district announced the food truck idea in 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic snarled the permitting process.
Rice was recently named the Southwest Washington region’s nominee for the Washington Association of Career and Technical Administrators’ 2022 Outstanding CTE Administrator of the Year award.