Start your day with smiles and your choice of coffee, hot chocolate or tea at the Wake Up Café at ECLC. Every Friday and rotating weekdays (8:30-9:30 a.m. and 12:30-1:30 p.m.), students from the Career Exploration Center make sure the Café is open for business. The student-run snack bar is a favorite stop for many teachers and staff in the building. It even draws CTE Computer Technology teacher Steven Graham and his “digital gurus” all the way from WEMOCO for a break from their class, and a few snacks to support their fellow students’ enterprise.
Career Exploration is a placement within the Work-Based Learning Program and is designed to support students in setting goals and identifying barriers to success for placement in WBL. Students helped to decide on the Café offerings, which currently include a variety of chips, crackers and popcorn in addition to hot and cold beverages. Sometimes the menu includes student-made hot breakfast pizza or sandwiches. The operation runs smoothly, with young entrepreneurs taking turns tracking inventory, taking orders, making coffee, collecting money and making change. Customer service is exceptional, as many repeat visitors are remembered and greeted by name.
“The Café is an opportunity for my students to apply many of the transferable job skills they are learning in the classroom,” said instructor Donna Graham. “Our personal cooking lessons have been useful in creating the new hot breakfast offerings. Understanding money, making a list and shopping, using kitchen equipment, tracking sales and inventory – all are valuable life and job skills. Our learners get a chance to work as a team with classmates and customers are impressed with their friendliness and efficiency.”