EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A local program designed to give high school students real-world experience is celebrating its first class of graduates.
The EVSC RAMP program graduated 34 students who spent the past year working with AmeriQual Group, LLC in Evansville.
“It’s a wonderful partnership we have with AmeriQual,” Jason Woebkenberg, chief communications officer with EVSC said. “It really allows students to finish their requirements for high school while being able to work, earn industry certifications and earn money, all at the same time.”
This program is one of only three in the country, allowing students to receive class credit while also earning a paycheck.
“At first, when I was hired in, I was working production, and then they pulled me out and put me in an internship with HR," Hannah Pace, a 2020 RAMP graduate said. "I do a little bit of scheduling and a little bit of payroll stuff. I wanted to get my credits fast, and I wanted to graduate fast. I also wanted to work and go to school in the same day.”
“I was working packing boxes, and then they gave me an opportunity to work in the warehouse,” Dontrell Cosby, a 2020 RAMP graduate said. “It’s been a good opportunity. I now have experience in manufacturing, and that’s all I wanted.”
Leaders say through this nontraditional way of learning, students can earn industry certifications even before a high school diploma. Recent graduates say that it’s all worth it.
“It was fun and exciting, being able to learn new stuff, work and go to school,” Baylee Long, recent graduate of EVSC’s RAMP program said. “I really feel like they should do it again next year. It’s nice for kids who need it or are struggling in school.”
Dennis Straub, president of AmeriQual Group, LLC, made the following statement to celebrate the new graduates:
AmeriQual is honored to be a partner with the EVSC for the RAMP program. We believe the program has been an overwhelmingly success for all parties and has changed the lives of all of those that have been involved. We continue to be proud to support our local community and would like to thank Dr. Smith and the EVSC for such an innovative program.
Pace, Cosby and Long, like many RAMP graduates, are now all training to become full-time with AmeriQual.
“These students are going to walk away with their high school diplomas,” Woebkenberg said. “They are also going to walk away with experience in the workplace.”