Nine students depart from a school bus every other Tuesday to enter the workforce at their local Bob’s Discount Furniture store in North Canton, Ohio. Store Manager Douglas Santimarino greets the students as they start their 90-minute volunteer shift and helps to assign tasks for day.
Starting in September, students from the Job Training Program at McKinley High School in the Canton City School District, have learned to sweep, dust furniture, and clean mirrors on the Bob’s showroom floor. As they have grown in confidence and experience, students have learned product stocking and inventory management. Students will participate in this program throughout the entire school year building on abilities as time progresses.
“We are so excited to work with Bob’s,” said Erin Oliver, Job Training Instructor with Canton City School District. “Community partnerships are incredibly valuable for our students by providing real-world experiences that serve as extensions of what they are learning in the traditional school setting,” said Oliver.
Along with their training coaches, the Bob’s store team also helps students learn new tasks and acquire new skills to advance their experience.
“As a manager of Bob’s, I am so grateful to participate in the Canton City School District volunteer job training program. Every time the students come to Bob’s they are trying new tasks, mastering skills, and getting ready for the workforce. The fact that I get to teach and guide this group is an honor and a privilege. I can’t wait to see their growth this school year and I am looking forward to continuing this partnership between Bob’s and the community,” said Santimarino.
In addition to hosting the volunteer job training program, Bob’s welcomed Kiarra Pineda, 17, who is a student of Canton City School District’s Broadcast Media Program. Kiarra documented a typical day for the job training students, showcasing all their hard work.
Canton City Public Schools offers more than 12 career-based programs through their Career Technical Education Program.
At the end of every volunteer job training day, Santimarino usually meets with the team in the store’s café to debrief about the tasks learned and to enjoy some refreshments, courtesy of Bob’s.
“Working with Bob’s Furniture has helped our students really understand the application of many of the concepts they are learning in school,” said Oliver, adding, “and bonus, we have tons of fun too.”