SAN BENITO — With the help of a grant and an innovative idea, a handful of students are gaining workforce skills in businesses before they transition into college next year.
Texas Workforce Solutions (TWC), along with two local businesses, have entered a partnership to offer three San Benito High School students an opportunity to earn money while working and building job site skills.
Seniors Lourissa Garcia, Michael Vasquez and Jonathan Solis are currently taking a dual enrollment business management class with Texas Southmost College and were selected to participate in the 10-week paid partnership.
To qualify for the partnership, students had to be enrolled in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) dual enrollment class, complete an application and be interviewed by TWC personnel.
CTE business teacher Cynthia Zartuche said she believes this experience is helping the students learn about responsibility and time-management.
“They’re very responsible about coming to class and making sure they get their tests done,” she explained. “They have to do a lot of stuff on their own and I think that will help them when they go to college because they’re going to have to balance school, work and studying.”
After school, Lourissa works for Dr. Mogbolahan M. Kuye at the Cano Medical Center in Harlingen while Michael and Jonathan work together in the morning at Codysur Group in San Benito.
On a weekly basis each student completes 10 hours of work.
Lourissa’s job involves receptionist tasks such as scheduling appointments, answering phone calls, charging copayments and working on spreadsheets.
“I’ve had a passion for working in the medical field since I was in kindergarten,” Lourissa said. “So since I was able to get this opportunity, I was very excited.”
Michael and Jonathan said they complete assignments such as file shredding, answering phone calls and making repair orders for freight trucks.
“We got the hang of the work that they have us doing,” Michael said. “It’s not necessarily different every week, but they have us doing different things every so often so I think it has been helpful.”
Looking ahead, Zartuche said she hopes more businesses open their doors to students interested in gaining work skills.
“Texas Workforce Commission helped me find a position for the students because since they have a full schedule, it’s really difficult to find places for them to work,” Zartuche said. “So, I’m grateful for the local businesses for providing working experience to our students.”
Zartuche said her goal was to help place the students in a job site that they would feel comfortable and also fit in.
“Lourissa is working at a doctor’s office and she’s going to receive her Certified Nursing Assistant certification soon so I felt it was really good for her to work there,” she explained. “The boys have some business background so I felt they would do great in the office at Codysur Group.”
Going into their eighth and ninth week of work, the students are getting close to wrapping up their work partnership.
“Sometimes I do go over on my hours, but I go over to gain more experience because I really love working there,” Lourissa said with a smile. “Not too many students get this opportunity, but I was able to and I’m so glad that I did.”