Eagle Up program prepares special education students for life after high school

New program serving special education students

GREENE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - A grant program opens up new opportunities for special education students at Greene County Tech.

From money management to work responsibilities, Eagle Up is a new program teaching valuable lessons needed well past high school graduation.

Eagles Achieving Goals in Long-term Employment with Unlimited Possibilities is a partnership between Greene County Tech, a grant program, and businesses in the community.

It's all about getting special education students ready for life after school.

"They do classwork to prepare applications, resumes, skills for the work environment and work on their social skills," Program Director Nikki Smith said.

A group of 37 tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders rotate through jobs on and off campus.

"Placements range anywhere from office assistant, to learning how to work with their hands in the automotive industry," Smith said.

Each is a paid job that teaches life lessons and the value of a dollar earned.

"Eleventh and twelfth graders are eligible to be paid," Smith said. "A lot of our students are utilizing that income to help pay for things in life and take responsibility for some of their bills."

It's a program that starts in the classroom, but Smith said has shown an impact in students' attendance and their participation in the community.

"We're working on all facets of life and what that means as an adult," Smith said.

The grant program is offered by the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, and Arkansas Transition Services.

And Smith said as long as funding is available, GCT plans to keep up and grow the program.

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