It’s an all-too-common situation for struggling students in agricultural communities like Fresno where Uriel Ramirez, 20, grew up. Without a diploma, options for supporting themselves and their family are limited. High school dropouts are the lowest paid workers and have the highest unemployment rate. They make about $27,000 less per year than those with a diploma.
Uriel grew up in a happy family and enjoyed playing with his two siblings. But he admits that as a child he was a troublemaker always causing problems. He didn’t do well in a traditional high school, finding it hard to stay focused. “I struggled to pay attention, so I left school to do home study, but that wasn’t working either,” Uriel explained. “My sister attended Learn4Life and encouraged me to try it. I am so glad I found this school, because of the supportive teachers who helped me evolve as a person.”
His teacher, Jose Barbosa, understood that dual enrollment or future college wasn’t something that interested Uriel, so he encouraged him toward CTE and a pathway in logistics. Thanks to our longtime partnership with UPS, Uriel was encouraged to interview for a position with the local UPS Warehouse. In October he eagerly accepted a position as a preloader for the famous brown trucks.
While most high school students are still sleeping, Uriel is beginning his day at 3:30 a.m., preparing to report to the Fresno UPS Distribution Center. By 4:30 a.m. he already is working on preloading the UPS trucks with packages to be delivered throughout the Central Valley. By 9:30 a.m. he has finished his shift, but he doesn’t head home to catch up on his sleep. Instead, he heads to Learn4Life to finish his final logistics class and core requirements for graduation.
“I really love being busy and now I understand all of the opportunities for growth within UPS and logistics,” he said. “My goal is to be a driver, so I mapped out a plan to reach that goal within the next two years.”