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Charterhouse School Student Learns the Art of Roasting Coffee

Roasting coffee beans is both an art and a science. Jackson, a student in Charterhouse School’s Courage to Succeed program, is learning about the unique characteristics of each type of coffee during his summer internship with Ironclad Coffee Roasters. Jackson says he’s excited to learn about everything that goes into making a cup of coffee.

Jackson’s is one of several student internships that Charterhouse School Career and Technical Education coordinator, Sarah McCaig, lined up with Richmond-area businesses. Students with autism and other neurological differences get the chance to practice social skills while gaining hands-on work experience.

“Internships like this one give our youth access to valuable social and practical skills through hands-on learning in a community-based setting. Jackson will not only be learning how to make a great cup of coffee, he will gain confidence and a sense of purpose in a job setting that reaches into every aspect of his life,” McCaig said.

As part of his daily routine, Jackson helps roast and bag the coffee beans and helps keep the shop tidy. On the weekends, he’s out in the community helping serve Ironclad coffee at farmers markets and other community events. “Jackson is a natural people person,” explains Ryan O’Rourke, Ironclad’s owner. “He doesn’t shy away from joining in the banter with fellow staff and with the customers, and that’s shaping up to be a brilliant thing.”