MARSHALL COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) – A local county has a school program that helps prepare students with special needs for life after graduation.

This unique program helps students with disabilities gain valuable work experience.

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On Monday morning, the Marshall County Schools Work Study Program celebrated the end of the year with a banquet at Grand Vue Park.

The county partners with local businesses so that every student can work and develop the skills needed to be a great employee.

Student Riley Elias says she had a great experience.

I studied work. I did everything work-study like I did Catholic Charities and then I did hotel.

Riley Elias, 10 years oldand grade

She says she was able to meet new people and make friends at other schools.

Josie Howard, work-study coordinator, explains that students work a few hours a week and always have a counselor on site.

They start in August/September and work all year round. They just finished in April. They have to work and maintain their school grades.

So basically, at the end of the year, we just want to recognize them and the fact that they were able to maintain their grades, become successful members of our community.

Josie Howard, Work Study Coordinator, Marshall County Schools

Howard says it’s unimaginable how far these kids have come.

She says they currently work with nine different job sites such as Ace Hardware, Quality Bakery and Marshall County Animal Shelter.

However, they are always looking for new sites to expand the program.

If you want to participate next year, you can go through the Marshall County Schools Department of Special Education.