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Preparing All Students for the Workforce
Preparing All Students for the Workforce
Posted on 12/10/2019
It was a duel of seven schools when students converged and competed in a battle of workplace wits!By: Benjamin Rickert, BCS Communications

It was a duel of schools when students from seven area high schools converged and competed in a family-feud-styled battle of workplace wits! The Employability Seminar filled an auditorium at Arden's Biltmore Church with teams of students with learning difficulties- each coached and ready to put their knowledge to the test. The two winning teams, North Buncombe High School and A.C. Reynolds High School, took large trophies home to their schools to proudly display until next year’s showdown.

The School Duel moderator stands in front of the winner's trophies.“It was about helping these kids be more prepared for work,” explained Exceptional Children Transition Specialist Janet Roberts. “We’re teaching independent living and the life skills they’ll need when they graduate.”

The high-energy annual competition gave students the opportunity to recall and apply all they are learning about interpersonal communication, hygiene, resume preparation, interviewing, and more. It also built camaraderie, school pride, and gave the winning teams a party at Asheville’s Fun Depot. The quiz moderator (Ms. Bev Benfield) was even dressed for the part, wearing a black Zorro-like mask, hat, and muscle-suit.

Roberts said that behind all of the ‘school duel’ fun was an effective approach to helping students with challenges find independence and success after high school. The ninth- through twelfth-graders progress toward this independence each school year, learning the soft skills and workplace wisdom needed to find and maintain employment.

Students clap for the peers during a family-feud-styled competition.In grades 9-10, she explained, students following the work-focused curriculum earn a total of 150 “school-based enterprise hours,” meaning they work within the walls of their high school, such as in a coffee shop or school store. In 11th grade, students earn 225 internship hours in local workplaces that align with their interests. As high school seniors, the students work 225 paid hours of employment in community businesses.

"The students look forward to this seminar every year!" Roberts added.

The North Buncombe High Blackhawks and A.C. Reynolds High Rockets were this year's winners of the Employability Seminar competition. The competitors represented all six traditional Buncombe County high schools, the Progressive Education Program, and Polk County High School.

    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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