Students at Alma High School started their own business, a car detailing enterprise, last school year so they will have the skills they need to be successful.
The students are a part of Alma High School’s PSC (Partially Self-Contained) class.
Before they could clean any car, they had to understand what car detailing was, so they had a professional from Harry Robinson Pontiac come and train students in car detailing. They cleaned their first car on January 25, 2018.
“[Car detailing] helps them become a successful contributing member of the community,” said Beth Raines, PSC coordinator.
The business was established through a state-wide program, OWL. It stands for Opportunities for Work Based Learning. Participation in the school-based business is for all PSC students that have been accepted into the OWL program. Last year was the first year for the OWL program and the PSC department was accepted to pilot the program which requires all the schools participating have a school business.
Each student chose a name for the business and each name was put to a vote. Tatiana MacPeek’s name, Amazing Airedale CAR Detail, won the vote.
Students earn $8.50 an hour for the work they do which is funded through the OWL program. This stipend helps pay for groceries, cell phones, bills, truck payments or other expenses that students may have.
“This is to transition special ed kids into the workforce,” say Karla McMurray, an aide in the PSC classroom.
Usually there are two upperclassmen and one freshman working one car. They clean the cars at the stadium entrance. They cleaned about 27 cars last year according to McMurray.
After cleaning a car, McMurray invoices the customer for the work completed.
“Everyone has a job, so some work in the community and some work car detailing,” McMurray said.
They get funds from the OWL program every quarter based on the number of student enrolled in PSC classes, and this goes towards the greenhouse, kitchen, car detailing, job coaches, uniforms, name tags, chromebooks and other things too.
This program also encompasses job resume and learning about job applications. So they get to understand what it is like to apply for a job before they get out into the real world.
“This teaches students that they can be productive …” said Raines.
A plant business is in the works, but they can’t start that until their greenhouse is built. They will begin building the greenhouse after Thanksgiving break.