Students from West Virginia University-Parkersburg have completed their education in the school's Learn and Earn Program and are readying to graduate.
Two students, Sam Holtz and David Bigley, completed the second round of on-the-job experience at DuPont Washington Works and will complete the Learn and Earn Program later this month. The partnership between the school and DuPont is the first such partnership under the Learn and Earn Program, sponsored by the Community and Technical College Education System of West Virginia. The partnership began in January 2012, and students began participating in the program the following month.
Holtz and Bigley gave a presentation to WVU-P and DuPont officials Jan. 28. They outlined their experiences, lessons learned and recommendations for the program. Holtz, 20, came to the program with no previous industrial experience while Bigley had worked at a manufacturing plant before being laid off in 2009 when it shut down.
Marie Foster Gnage, president of WVU-P, said Holtz's and Bigley's experiences show how the program can benefit all students no matter where they are in life.
"Two individuals from different ends of the spectrum completed the program with much success," she said. "We will continue to look at how we can improve the curriculum to produce a highly skilled, well-qualified work force."
Over the course of the program, students alternate classroom learning with work rotations at DuPont in three-month increments over a one-year period. Once students complete the program, they receive a 30-hour degree certificate of applied science in chemical and polymer operator technology. Students can earn $12,000 while working at DuPont, and the state reimburses DuPont for half of the wages it pays to the students.