Students Learn From Workplace Mentors

Published On: Oct 22 2011 09:20:02 AM EDT   Updated On: Oct 12 2011 06:21:42 AM EDT

A new program geared toward bringing high school students to the workplace involves one of Jacksonville's intervene schools, a major corporation and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida.

In the program, students from Andrew Jackson High School go to the Haskell Company, Florida's largest privately held construction company, twice a week in an effort to learn and build relationships with members of the workforce.

The students went to the company's offices in Riverside on Wednesday.

"I want to be a computer engineer when I grow up, and him being the president of the company, I really believe I can do a lot of things, learn a lot of wisdom," student Denzel Freeman said.

The program is called Beyond School Walls, and instead of mentors meeting their mentees at school, they meet at work.

"The students will then be able to see what's happening in the workplace while they're there," said Duval County Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals.

"Encouraging them to stay in school, be diligent in their studies, get themselves prepared to graduate high school," said Warren Grymes, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida.

The goal is to also form friendships. Mentors and the teens are encouraged to talk about school, sports and their personal goals. It turns out some of the students have been teaching their mentors.

"I'm learning a little bit about electronic technology. He's teaching me how to text," Haskell employee Paul Tyler said.

A similar program was launched last year at Sandalwood High School with Comcast. The plan is for more partnerships to be formed with JPMorgan Chase and Mayo Clinic.


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