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Chili’s Restaurant gives job experience to student with disabilities

Posted at 1:00 AM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 01:04:25-05

JUPITER, Fla. — Every week Brianna Mannarino and her classmates are getting some job training. "I portion the food."

They’re part of Jupiter High School’s "Career Experience” program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

This time they're at Chili's restaurant in Jupiter. Helene McAfee is a special education teacher there.

"We have students that get real-world training and the type of jobs that they may actually do when they finish high school. Our students the majority of the time they stay through age 22 so we take the seniors as well as the transition students which are the 18 through 22-year-olds. and this way we are able to get them as much job experience as possible. we've had a few students actually get hired," she said.

Almost a dozen area businesses including this restaurant are part of the Career Experience Program.

Avery Mauri is the culinary manager at Chili’s restaurant in Jupiter.

“I feel like it's the fact that we have these wonderful children come in and work alongside us and able to grow, and see different aspects and see different kinds of fields. and they get so excited just from walking in," he said.

Daniel Violante-Water is the restaurant’s general manager.

“So the kids come in here twice a week Mondays and Wednesdays. We enjoy them being here and being a part of the team”.

McAfee added, "I just want everyone to know that we look at the student's ability rather than the disability. and we know that all of our students have something that they can offer."