Harrisburg schools partner with the city to expand program

Harrisburg schools partner with the city to expand program
Harrisburg School District is partnering with the city to double the size of a program.

HARRISBURG, AR (KAIT) - A program that started last year in the Harrisburg School District is doubling the number of students it helps this year.

Opportunities for Work-based Learning, or OWL, is a partnership between the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Vocational Rehabilitation, Arkansas Transition Services, and the school district.

The purpose is to teach life skills to students with disabilities by allowing them to work in job positions on and off school campus.

Harrisburg is expanding that program this year.

"We have doubled the number of kids who are actually out in the community working and on campus working," Special Education Director Crissie Parks said. "That was our reach to find more places for the students to work."

That's where a partnership with the City of Harrisburg comes into play.

About 10 students participated in the program in its first year.

But, with the added job opportunities through the city, this year, about 20 kids will benefit.

"It's important to me for the city to work with the school," Mayor Justin Kimble said. "It's important to teach the kids trades that they're going to need when they grow up and get out of school."

Kimble said the city can offer jobs that teach clerical work in the office and maintenance skills with the parks department, making the partnership a win-win for the city and the students.

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