Innovative Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities Holds First Graduation
February 26th, 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. (February 26, 2014) - Sixteen excited students graduated and earned credentials tonight – from the START (Skills, Tasks and Results Training) Hospitality program at Wake Tech. They were participants in the very first Career Pathways class designed to meet the needs of students with intellectual disabilities or academic challenges. Wake Tech’s Continuing Education division is offering the Career Pathways classes, through the ABE TOPS (Adult Basic Education–Transitional Opportunities for Post-Secondary Success) department. Additional Career Pathways classes to be offered this year include Computer Basics, Housekeeping, and Auto Detailing, and another START Hospitality class is scheduled for September.
“This class taught me to never give up!” said graduate Fenton Jolly, as he and several classmates shared experiences from the intensive training program. Students learned about work in the hospitality industry through lectures, interactions with local employers, and hands-on training and practice in everything from front desk software to banquet setup and customer service. Each graduate earned the nationally-recognized START Hospitality Certification through the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute. They are now pursuing the North Carolina Career Readiness Certificate, which documents workplace competency skills.
“Because of this class I’m ready to move on to a career – instead of working at a ‘job,” says Laqisa Harris. Harris has been employed at a fast food restaurant but hopes to work in hotel banquet services or as a room attendant.
Wake Tech’s ABE TOPS department serves students who need continued, functional support to improve academic, social, vocational, and life skills and achieve greater independence. For more information, visit http://www.waketech.edu/programs-courses/non-credit/strengthen-basic-skills/abe-tops or call 919-334-1507.