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Learn and Earn program garners national attention as first cohort graduates
Parkersburg, W.Va. 1/31/13 – The first cohort of students in West Virginia University at Parkersburg’s Learn and Earn program has completed the second round of on-the-job experience at DuPont Washington Works and will complete the program next month. The partnership proved so successful that the American Association of Community and Technical Colleges asked DuPont and WVU Parkersburg to present at its national Workforce Development Institute in San Diego on Jan. 30.
This was the first such partnership formed under the "Learn and Earn" program sponsored by the Community and Technical College Education System of West Virginia. The college and DuPont announced the collaboration in January 2012, and students began the following month. On Monday, Jan. 28, Learn and Earn students Sam Holtz and David Bigley gave presentations to WVU Parkersburg and DuPont officials, outlining their experience, lessons learned and recommendations for the program.
Holtz, a 20-year-old former accounting major, said he came to the Learn and Earn program with no industrial experience. Bigley, on the other hand, had worked at a plant for several years before it shut down in 2009, leaving him unemployed.
"This is a great example of how our programs can meet the needs of students at different stages in their lives said WVU Parkersburg president Dr. Marie Foster Gnage. "Two individuals from different ends of the spectrum completed the program with much success. We will continue to look at how we can improve the curriculum to produce a highly-skilled, well-qualified workforce."
During the course of the program, students alternate classroom learning at WVU Parkersburg with work rotations at DuPont in three-month increments over a one-year period. At the completion of the program, students receive a 30-hour degree certificate of applied science in chemical and polymer operator technology. The students earn approximately $12,000 while working at DuPont. The state of West Virginia reimburses DuPont for half of the students’ wages during the internship period.
"I feel extremely fortunate to be selected as one of the first to participate in this program," said Holtz. "A lot of the subjects that I learned in the classroom carried over into my work."
Those interested in enrolling in the DuPont Learn and Earn program can visit www.wvup.edu/LearnAndEarn or call 304-424-8272.
For additional information, contact:
Director of Marketing & Communications