By CARA CHAPMAN Press-Republican
PLATTSBURGH — When Tracy Serlock's son, Eric, was getting ready to graduate from Peru High School, she went with him to different employers to try and apply for jobs.
Eric has special needs, including a speech impairment, and Tracy could not find any job coaching for him.
Then they learned about Coryer Staffing's RAMP (Ready, Able, Marketable, Proven) program through his guidance counselor.
Through RAMP, local high school graduates rotate to different industrial employers over the course of a year.
"It was a tremendous amount of relief," Tracy said, adding that RAMP took on teaching Eric how to develop his resume and offered classes on soft skills and interviewing.
Following a job at Mold-Rite Plastics, Eric went on to work at Fujitsu, where he was hired on full-time last year.
"Quite frankly, I don’t know that we would have been able to do that," Tracy said.
"I think I could have supported him writing the resume and could have coached him ... on interviewing, but I doubt that my son would be gainfully employed, period."
Tracy said career counselor Kevin Patnode was understanding and would check in with her about how Eric was doing.
"Parents with kids who have needs, you spend a whole good portion of your life advocating for them. Now we’re in this world where really no one wants your mother to be calling them.
"So it helped me transition to letting him do his job."
Tracy believes Eric is proud of what he has accomplished, and said the RAMP counselors took their time with him.
"People really enjoy him, but he is an acquired taste and I feel like the RAMP folks really went out of their way to try to know him and help him.
"Our family’s been the recipient, 100 percent, and basically Eric had to show up, do a good job and be coachable and they do it for free."
Through a new partnership between Coryer Staffing and Clinton Community College, all current and past RAMP participants are eligible to take the Advanced Manufacturing Essential Skills I micro-credential course, a self-paced, hybrid online/lab-based training.
The course, which combines 26 hours of online work with six hours of lab work at CCC's Institute for Advanced Manufacturing, is a prerequisite for the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician credential.
Those interested in the course, or RAMP, can learn more at an open house at CCC Saturday.
Tracy was surprised to learn that Eric qualifies for the course, even though he is no longer part of the RAMP program.
"What a safe way to, perhaps, introduce the whole college thing," she said.
Coryer Staffing Director of Communications and Special Programs Meg LeFevre said RAMP is an extra year after graduating high school where people can figure out what direction to go.
"A lot of learning and growing can happen during that year, especially with the guidance and support of the RAMP team," she continued.
"You gain skills and earn good money working at world-class businesses located right here in our backyard while getting a jump-start on your college career with free training through the world-class Institute for Advanced Manufacturing."
"Our team is committed to providing each of our RAMP participants with the ongoing support and guidance they need to be successful as they navigate their first year of meaningful employment," RAMP Coordinator and Counselor Sarah Brennan said.
"As RAMP counselors, we understand that graduating from high school, and making that transition from school to full-time work, can be challenging, but that’s why we’re here."
Our partnership with Clinton Community College, along with the creation of this micro-credential, is just another example of one of the many ways that RAMP goes above and beyond for the young adults in our community."
North Country Workforce Development Board Executive Director Sylvie Nelson explained that programs like RAMP and the Advanced Manufacturing micro-credential course are specifically designed to meet workforce needs in the North Country.
"They work because they are in partnership with business and also with educational providers."
These programs are critical to making the region successful, she added.
"It also gives individuals opportunities to look at different career pathways."
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IF YOU GO
The RAMP Open House will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25 at Clinton Community College's Stafford Center.
Attendees can learn more about RAMP and the Advanced Manufacturing micro-credential course offered through a partnership between Coryer Staffing and Clinton Community College.