Montgomery County, TN – Clarksville-Montgomery County School System (CMCSS) will be among a small handful of districts nationwide to receive an honorable mention at the National School Boards Association Magna Awards ceremony this week.
CMCSS joined four other districts in Georgia, California, South Carolina and Louisiana in being honored for “taking bold and innovative steps to improve the lives of their students and their communities.”CMCSS was recognized for the Oasis Café, program designed to provide students with a 9-weeks placement for job training in food and beverage preparation, customer service, social skills, universal precautions, health department requirements and job safety guidelines.
“The Oasis Cafe allows our children to get a leg up in moving from the classroom to the workplace. It gives them encouragement to find their places in society and it also fulfills a need in our workforce,” according to School Board Chairman Jimmie Garland.
With Project Search, in 2012-2013 three out of four interns went on to work on cleaning crews with the Progressive Directions Inc. team (they clean state offices in Veteran’s Plaza and on Fort Campbell). In 2013-2014, one intern was hired with Bi County Solid Waste, one was hired at Little Acorn Childcare, and one was hired at Toyota.
This year, CMCSS has eight interns with the expectation that all will be placed by May.
With local government and business support, students who otherwise would have been without job experience and unable to get work, can now do so. Prior to the initiation of this program in 2012, no students with disabilities were prepared to enter the job market and actually had a placement.
With the expansion of the goal to include the Café, even more students will have the opportunity for work after they leave high school. The data shows positive impact, but the anecdotal stories, such as a student finding himself in the workforce as a gainfully employed citizen, are priceless.
The state department of education has visited the Café site to see how this program can be replicated. Local government and businesses have joined efforts to financially support these students with grants and through job opportunities.
Steve Dunmore, President of Sodexo Education-Schools. “We applaud the innovative spirit these winning districts possess and we share their passion for improving quality of life and education for students.” Sodexo sponsors the award. Other winners are posted at www.nsba.org/newsroom/american-school-board-journal/magna-awards