Arkansas restaurant pays student employees to do homework during shift

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A restaurant has found an innovative way to recruit young employees by providing them with a way to better balance their school and work lives.

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Explore Restaurant Group, with multiple locations throughout Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, is paying its high school employees to dedicate an hour of their shift to doing their homework.

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The idea came from Drake Bielert, a 26-year-old executive chef at a restaurant who received complaints from the dishwasher that his grades were slipping because of his work schedule and that he might have to cut his hours.

Bielert offered employees an hour to do their school work.

“So it gives them just an hour without interruption to get all their work done,” Bealert told Granthshala television stations on Monday. “He thought it was a joke.”

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But Bealert said his proposal was no laughing matter, recalling his own struggles at school. He is currently working on getting his GED Diploma.

Explore Restaurant Group (Credit: Greg Jones)

“When I was in school, I didn’t care much about that,” he continued. “I found myself on a bad road with some drugs and what not, and I’m still trying to work my way through schooling.”

“I want to see these kids do better than me,” he said.

Greg Jones, owner of Explore Restaurant Group, said he was immediately on board with the idea, especially given the labor shortage across the country.

“Like all restaurants in the country, we are desperate to have employees,” he told Granthshala television stations. “It’s an investment by the restaurant in these kids as well.”

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It looks like the incentive is paying off. Bielert said she has been diligent in making sure the student staff is doing their homework and has seen their grades improve.

“The program that our Executive Chef Drake Bielert put in place to help us with our schoolwork is a huge help. It gives me a little more free time and relieves a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety,” 17 Peyton Musler, year old, said in a statement to Granthshala television stations.

Explore Restaurant Group (Credit: Greg Jones)

“I have to leave work and go home and do all my homework and stay up late, but the opportunity to do my work during work hours is great! And when you’re doing your work, The food they feed you is great. The work is amazing!” He continued.

As an added bonus, student employees will receive an additional $100 if they receive an “A” as their final grade and an additional $20 if they earn a “B.”

“And the reason there’s such a big difference between ‘A’ and ‘B’ is because we want these people to strive for excellence,” Bealert said.

Jones said he is also working to get tutors to work with the students. He said that since introducing the incentives, he has received many job applications from high school students.

“It’s a good selling point for kids, and I think it’s a better selling point for parents,” he said.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.


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