Eight Lebanon High School Students Get College off to a Running Start

Eight Lebanon High School Students Get College off to a Running Start

Eight Lebanon High School Students Get College off to a Running Start

Students are the first to receive college credit through a work-based learning program

Eight Lebanon High School students completed a first of its kind educational experience on January 15 that combined work-based learning at Fuji Film Dimitix and Hypertherm, following a curriculum developed by the two organizations working with Lebanon High School and River Valley Community College (RVCC), resulting in college credit through the Running Start program. This represents the first time New Hampshire high school students have been able to earn college credit through a work-based learning program.

Through these STEM internships, students explored career readiness while gaining competency in industry safety standards and the soft skills required for successful employment. The students experienced hands-on learning in engineering, assembly, research and marketing by rotating through various departments of both businesses to develop an understanding of career opportunities in the manufacturing sector. 

“Traditionally, when we go to college, we learn about employment in an abstract way. Through these unique STEM internships, these students were able to see the workplace first-hand, experience the different roles within these companies and gain more awareness about careers in manufacturing and technology as part of a college-level course. This was a very successful pilot and we plan on building off this work in the future,” said Jerry Appell, early college coordinator at RVCC.

The eight students, all seniors, started the program in September 2018. They spent eight weeks at each company, did their final presentations on January 15 and earned college credits in two RVCC courses: Professional Communications and Purpose, People and Career through the Running Start program. The program, run at all seven community colleges, enables high school students to take community college courses for dual high school/college credit at a fraction of the cost of college credit.

Participating in the program was very beneficial to Lebanon High School Senior Teresa Dubuque, who plans to work and attend RVCC in the fall of 2019. “This internship has helped me look at options in regard to my future. I have really enjoyed my time in this internship with both Fuji and Hypertherm. I realize how expensive it is to go to college and being able to go to River Valley Community College along with the credits that I’m earning has given me a jumpstart,” she said.

The program was developed by expanding on an internship that already existed with Hypertherm to add in learning components at the business that have traditionally been part of the classroom learning associated with Running Start programs. Once the program was developed and approved, both Hypertherm and Fuji wanted to participate and provided the on-site teachers. Both companies believe that programs like this can help develop the future workforce and plan to continue to be involved in 2019. Lebanon High School is now taking applications for a second cohort that will start next fall.

“After working and speaking with a variety of engineers from both Hypertherm and Fujifilm, they encouraged me to look into mechanical engineering because of the vast variety of careers that can be connected to mechanical engineering,” said Devin Benson, a Lebanon High School Senior. “This internship has helped me focus and when I sent out my college applications they were for the mechanical engineering program. This has been a great opportunity.”

To learn more about RVCC’s Running Start program and partnerships with the community, contact Jerry Appell, RVCC early college coordinator, at jappell@ccsnh.edu or call 603-542-7744 Ext. 5349.

Photo caption: From left to right front row: Lebanon High School senior students Brianna Swan, Devin Benson, Teresa Dubuque and Jason Ni. Second row: Lebanon High School senior students David Kay, Nick Beliveau, Shane Balise and Luke Marti.

About River Valley Community College

River Valley Community College is one of seven colleges in the Community College System of New Hampshire, offering thirty-nine associate degree and certificate programs in Claremont, Keene, Lebanon, and Online. Financial Aid and Scholarships are available. The seven community colleges in the system are committed to working with businesses throughout the state to train and retain employees to develop a robust workforce across all sectors and embraces the "65 by 25 Initiative," which calls for 65% of NH citizens to have some form of post-secondary education by 2025 to meet future workforce demands.