In October, three students with disabilities began an internship at Joanne Trattoria, an Italian restaurant located just a few blocks from their school.
Manhattan Star Academy (150 Amsterdam Ave at 67th Street) serves intellectually and developmentally-disabled students ages 3-21; this internship is part of the school’s newly-piloted Transition Program aimed at introducing its older students with opportunities to explore potential employment interests.
Once a week for an hour, the three students go to the restaurant to set tables, clean dishes and more.
“Joanne Trattoria is the first of what we hope to be many external internship opportunities that we create for our students to participate in,” said Transition Coordinator LynzeeRose Cohen.
Manhattan Star Academy is hoping to find more local businesses who are open to having their students intern. Currently, they have ten 15 to 18-year-old students they are looking to place at any business with the “openness to collaborate.” Cohen adds that all students are accompanied by a trained job coach.
“For special education students it is so important to start this practice as early as possible in the hope to give them more opportunities in the future. Unfortunately many local businesses have not been open to allowing our students into their space and we are hoping to change that narrative!”
In the aim of recruiting more local businesses, the school has been passing out the flyer below.
Business owners interested in learning more should visit https://www.yai.org/affiliate/manhattan-star-academy-transition-program.