Geneva Wainscott, Josie Partridge and Matthew Henggeler bag groceries as courtesy clerks at the Maryville Hy-Vee.

Geneva Wainscott, Josie Partridge and Matthew Henggeler bag groceries as courtesy clerks at the Maryville Hy-Vee.

Six Maryville High School seniors had the opportunity to gain workplace experience over the summer through the Rehabilitation Institute of KC.

Rita Wallinga, employer development specialist, placed six students at Hy-Vee, 1217 South Main Street, Maryville. The agency pays for the students and a job coach’s wages. Hy-Vee provides the training and a place for the students to work for 16 hours per week for the six-week program.

The individuals trained as courtesy clerks and their duties included straightening shelves, gathering carts, cleaning, bagging groceries and assisting customers.

“I like getting carts, help bagging and stocking,” said AJ Holder.

“Experiencing a new thing and seeing customers you know,” Geneva Wainscott said from what she’s liked about working at Hy-Vee.

Bradley Everhart said the best part of working at Hy-Vee is “probably the workers. They tell me good job. This gives me new ways to learn how to get things done and to meet new people.”

Beth Zech, job coach, explained her job was to reinforce what Hy-Vee has taught them. If something is done incorrectly, she shows the students how to correct it.

“The individuals involved really became part of our operation,” said Travis Buysse, Hy-Vee store director. “And those not staying on will be missed. No matter who you are, Hy-Vee offers something for everyone and what we stand for; helpful, honest, dedicated, friendly, respectful, are values that will make you a better employee/person now and in the future.

“I would love to partner up again in the future and look forward to the success of such a partnership.”

The students spent four hours per week in classroom training, working on communication, positive attitude and enthusiasm, professionalism, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking.

Wallinga also invited guest speakers to talk to students. Guests speakers included:

• Lee Ann Blazer, Citizens Bank and Trust. Blazer talked about banking services and the importance of budgeting and savings.

• Donell Anderson, Kawasaki human resources. Anderson did a teamwork activity and provided information about drug testing in the workplace, background checks and what employers look for in an employee.

• Jordyn Swalley, Maryville Chamber of Commerce director. Swalley talked about networking and the importance of the proper use of social media.

• Tom Wilson, vocational rehabilitation counselor. Wilson spoke about enthusiasm and attitude.

• Trevor Nashleanas, Living Hope Church pastor. Nashleanas discussed problem solving and critical thinking.

To take part in the program, students must be going into their senior year, be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services and be able to get to and from work.

Wallinga is looking for more businesses to take part in the program next summer. Participating businesses must have enough work for three or more students. Anyone interested should contact Wallinga at 816.806.8587 or For more information, visit