A group of special needs high school students in HISD's H.E.A.R.T. program recently toured METRO, learning how to ride our system and about job opportunities.
The H.E.A.R.T. program helps students with intellectual disabilities learn transition skills, including job, home, daily living and socialization skills. H.E.A.R.T. stands for Housing, Entrepreneurship and Readiness Training.
On their visit to METRO, 13 students and three teachers joined a tour by Hilda Montemayor, manager of ADA Compliance and Paratransit, and her staff of travel trainers.
The group arrived by bus at the Downtown Transit Center. After admiring the model train in the second-floor lobby, the students heard from Karen Kauffman, chief Human Resources officer, and Roland Manzano, director of Staffing, learning about METRO's various departments. "The teachers were so impressed with METRO. They had no clue METRO was this big. The students were just in awe. It was very positive," said Montemayor. Students toured the call center, Human Resources, and Printing Services, along with the mail room. Art Jackson, senior director of Contracted, Paratransit and Vanpool Services, described his experience at METRO, and Charles Cave, manager of Bus Safety, spoke about bus and rail safety.
The students enjoyed a Lunch and Learn session with lunch from Jason's Deli.
Louis Ferrel, director of Printing Services, showed the students several jobs where some day their services might be used – from sorting mail to operating machines.
Later, METRO's travel trainers escorted the students back to the Houston Food Bank on the 11 Almeda/Lyons.
"It was a great, uplifting day," said Manzano. "Everyone was very pleased with the event."
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