Lexi Agnew takes an order from Eva Beles at the MPISD Administration Building
Mario Moreno delivers a snack to an Admin Building employee
Jenna Mars makes tea in the Tigers Cup coffee shop
Ghyles Lias and Cole Ashley deliver coffee to Eva Beles
Jenna Mars (left) and Lexi Agnew hang items at the Tiger Thrift Store
Mario Moreno sorts toys in the toy room at the thrift store
Eunice Mendoza helps a customer bag their purchases
Sarah Baxter writes down an order
Sarah Baxter makes a change for a customer
Alex Sandate welcomes customers to the Tiger Thrift Store
Contact: Kelly Cowan
Mount Pleasant ISD Career Training Center prepares students for life.
“Good morning! Would you like anything?” Lexi asks as she rounds through the MPISD Administration Building. Mario steers the cart filled with donuts, packages of nuts, bananas, mini muffins, and microwavable breakfast sandwiches. On this day, Jenna’s job is to take orders for coffee, hot chocolate, or a variety of Mighty Tiger Teas with flavors such as Paradise Punch, Watermelon Patch, and Coconut Dream. Ghyles and Cole are ready to make deliveries once they make the coffee and tea.
The Mount Pleasant ISD Career Training Center (CTC) aims to teach and train students with special needs the skills they need for life after high school. The program provides students ages 18-22 with the skills and knowledge necessary for successful acclimation into community and adult living. The students work in real-world settings, running the Tigers Cup coffee shop at the MPISD Administration Building and the Tiger Thrift Store on North Miller Avenue.
“A typical day would consist of working at either the coffee shop or the thrift store,” said instructor Elizabeth Robbins. “They do all the organizing, shopping, cleaning, and arranging at both places. After finishing that, we return to the classroom where I teach a math modules class. They learn how to use the calculator and price our items at both places.”
The CTC works with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), which provides the students with a job coach and helps the students get paid to work at different places in the community for 12 weeks. At the end of 12 weeks, the employer can choose to hire the students. “We have two students who went through the program, and now they both work at CiCi’s,” said Robbins. “We also work with NTCC. Some students want to get certificates or try a class or two. The TWC helps with tuition if the student qualifies.”
Students at the CTC also go out into the community and work with local businesses. The students have worked at God’s Closet in Pittsburg, making food boxes for senior citizens and helping to run their thrift store. They have performed at Laura’s Cheesecake, making boxes for the cheesecakes. They also go to different thrift stores in the area to see the different styles and prices and even get ideas on arranging their store.
“We are always looking for businesses to help and to let our students come and see different work sites,” said Robbins. “Our goal is to get our students gainfully employed before they leave our program.”
The Tiger Thrift Store is open to the public every Friday from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm and is located on North Miller Avenue next to Vivian Fowler Elementary School. The thrift store also accepts donated items. If you want more information on the Career Training Center program or to request student workers for your business or organization, email email@example.com.