Dale Savage is pursuing a degree in computer science while working for BCRTA.
Dale Savage is pursuing a degree in computer science while working for BCRTA.

The work+ program expands at Miami Regionals

Students find success both in class and at work

By Cliff Peale, university communications and marketing

Most days, Dale Savage returns from his part-time job driving for the Butler County Regional Transit Authority with a healthy dose of perspective.

“I have seen the importance of providing transportation to people who don’t have the privilege of driving a car,” said Savage, a 2019 Badin High School graduate who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science at Miami’s Hamilton campus. “It’s kind of humbling for me.”

Savage also has seen his first-semester tuition paid by BCRTA as part of Miami Regionals’ work+ program. Started in fall 2019 with four employer partners, work+ allows Miami Regionals students to pursue a degree and work 24 hours a week. Employers pay each students’ tuition in addition to a salary, allowing them to graduate with no debt.

About two dozen students from the Hamilton and Middletown campuses participated in work+ during the first semester, with another eight starting this semester, said Kelly Brown, interim director of work+. Besides BCRTA, other employers included Deceuninck, thyssenkrupp Bilstein and The Fischer Group.

In fall 2019, the program boasted an 85% retention rate and students posted a 3.3 GPA, better than the campus average.

“All of the companies are happy with the employees,” Brown said. “I’m hearing these are some of the best employees they’ve got.”

workplus_logos-02.jpgTwo other employers will start in fall 2020: Community First Solutions and Cohen Recycling. Interested students can apply through the work+ website, and there will be onboarding events in June.

Brown said the number of jobs she can fill is limited only by the employers participating.

“My hope is to always keep more jobs than we have students,” she said. “This is an opportunity all students should have available to them if they’re willing to work hard.”

For Savage, the first semester filled all the promises of the work+ program. He has kept his grades up and meets regularly with Brown to resolve any challenges.

“I made it a point to put myself through college because my parents sacrificed a lot for me,” he said. “The whole program has been really beneficial.”