More than Taking an Order: The Importance of Skill Development in Employment through the Lens of the Fast Food Industry for Students in a Life Skills Setting

Author: Erin Smith Feerick


Kensington CAPA High School 

Year: 2019

Seminar: Learning about America and the World from McDonald’s

Grade Level: 9-12

Keywords: employment, fast food, life skills, McDonalds, skill development, special education

School Subject(s): Special Education

This unit seeks to engage students in a high school life skills classroom with the skills necessary to attain and maintain jobs related to the fast food industry. The service industry is a steadily increasing job sector for high school students. A simple google search can lead to upwards of 3,000 open positions in fast food in one zip code alone.  Many of these students have the desire to work in the realm of fast food, but are unaware that working at McDonald’s requires more skills than asking the question, “Would you like fries with that?” Through this semester long unit students will experience the day to day job requirements of McDonald’s and other fast food employees through, videos, ethnography, interviews and simulated job experiences. Culminating their experiences in a short power point presentation to their peers about the myths, realities of working in the fast food industry.  This unit will be geared toward students in a high school life skills classroom and will extend over a ten-week period with each lesson being approximately 90 minutes in length once per week. Through this unit students will engage in the real life and simulated situations based around the social or soft skills needed to gain and maintain meaningful employment in various aspects of the food industry. Lessons will be aligned with both the PA common core and the individual transition goals as stated in each students Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Download Unit: Smith-E.-.pdf

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