EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) A new program between the EVSC and a major Evansville employer is starting to show results.

Dozens of students are picking up skills working at AmeriQual as part of the new RAMP program.

RAMP stands for Real-world Application, Maximizing Potential. More than 70 high school students are part of the program’s first year, where they work towards manufacturing skills, and learning much more.

It’s where ready to eat meals are made. For Niobi Mitchell and Hudson Kiesel, it’ s also where they learn.

“I never seen the aspects of everything that’s in the process of packaging food. I did not know they had this much things involved. Before the jobs we do, there’s more steps to it than what we do,” Mitchell says.

They’re two of the dozens of high school students in the program’s first year, in which they work four hours a day with industry experts, to get post graduation skills. The two say they learned a lot since starting last month.

“It’s crazy how much we have to put in, how much work we have to put in to make sure it’s good to it. It’s worth it,” says Kiesel

“We are seeing lives change everyday,” adds Mirsada Salihovic, V.P. of Human Resources for AmeriQual. “We are learning and growing. We are finding a new mission and a new purpose and only good things are to come.”

AmeriQual officials say the students in ramp are exceeding expectations. EVSC Superintendent Dr. David Smith says it shows what students do here matters in the community.

“They’ve invested $1 million that they could’ve invested in some other city, doing some other initiative, but you’re worth it. What you do matters. You’re changing lives,” said Smith.

The students also learn about taxes, balancing a checkbook and other skills related to finances. Mitchell and Kiesel say they want to learn what the future holds for the program once they graduate.

“Never want to stop learning about it,” he said.

“I want to see how big it’s gotten. If they’re going to add more to the RAMP building, more students come, or make it to where more students can work here,” Mitchell adds.

B.J. Watts, the executive director of OptIN, says one parent told him the program’s already placed more hope in their child.

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(This story was originally published on September 10, 2019)