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Students on autism spectrum get on-the-job training through Lake Worth school

Posted at 3:34 PM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 22:05:14-05

LAKE WORTH, Fla. — Students at the Palm Beach School for Autism are getting on-the-job training at Hyatt Place West Palm Beach.

"I wash some dishes and I dry the dishes too," said Andre, a student. "I put them back in the lobby make sure if they are dirty or if they are clean."

Andre and three other trainees who are on the autism spectrum are learning skills in hopes of one day getting a job.

"The concept is what happens to our students with autism when they graduate at 18," said Ann Eisenberg, the Executive Director at the school. "We want to help create that full life and when they leave at 21, they walk out into the community with increased recreational and leisure opportunities, job opportunities."

The school approached the hotel about the program, which is called Project Next.

"They are coming here four days a week and they are practicing hospitality skills so at the end of their time with us, they have an opportunity to be hired anywhere," said Eisenberg.

Bobby Copeland is the General Manager of Hyatt Place West Palm Beach, and said Project Next is great training for students.

"When I was given the opportunity to work with Project Next and see these kids, it was just something that really touched my heart and my managers' hearts that we could help these kids that maybe did not have the same opportunity as somebody else," said Copeland. "There's an untapped community out there and that people with developmental disabilities, open your doors, try, give the accommodations that are needed, and you will have dedicated employees for a lifetime."

There are also four trainees at Duffy's Sports Bar.

To learn more about the Palm Beach School For Autism, click here.