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Student Success

Work+ is so much more than just a part-time job

In addition to a paycheck, students get paid tuition, valuable skill-building, and meaningful connections

Student Success

Work+ is so much more than just a part-time job

Carter Waye working with other Work+ students
Carter Waye (left) working with fellow Work+ students at Worthington Industries.
As he was preparing to graduate from Moeller High School in 2021, Carter Waye said he knew one thing for certain as he planned his next steps: He did not want college tuition debt.

After some research and advice from family and high school counselors, Waye chose Miami University Regionals for two important reasons. He would attend one of his top choice schools, and he would have the chance to graduate debt-free through Miami University Regionals Work+ program.

Today, Waye is preparing to graduate with an Associate Degree in Applied Business, and he has already secured a full-time job with Worthington Industries as an operations management trainee, the same company he has worked with for two years as part of Work+. He said he is thrilled with how things turned out. He has the prospect of a new career and will graduate debt-free.

“This really proves that all my worries about college were taken care of,” he said. “I feel I’m set up for success, and I have a clear path to where I want to go.”

While not all Work+ participants find their dream job through the program, they all report peace of mind knowing their tuition bills are paid. In addition, they have a part-time job that helps with daily expenses and provides the opportunity for a balance between work, life, and school. It’s a win-win combination that has generated explosive growth as word has spread about the program.

Launched in 2019, Miami’s Work+ program has nearly doubled enrollment every year over the past three years, with approximately 20 participating companies and roughly 80 Work+ employees today. Students get tuition assistance in exchange for 20-24 hours of paid work per week, and businesses are able to hire motivated entry-level workers pursuing their Miami education.

Miami President Gregory Crawford said he is proud the university is leading the way on innovative solutions that help students and area businesses at the same time.

“Work+ is the first program of its kind in Ohio and directly reflects multiple university priorities: Miami's commitment to affordable education, workforce development, and the professional preparation of our students,” he said.
Aiden Brillhart working on his laptop.
Aiden Brillhart

Tuition assistance provides breathing room

For Aiden Brillhart, a third-year Psychological Science major Work+ was a lifeline he discovered after spending his first two semesters working at the same job he had in high school and struggling to make his schedule and budget work.

He was working nights at a local restaurant, and it was challenging to find time for studying and balancing the demands of his job. There was always a nagging worry about tuition bills and earning enough to pay for all his expenses.

Brillhart signed up for the Work+ program after seeing a poster on campus. It changed everything, he said.

“Just having the security of knowing my tuition bills are going to be covered is so huge,” he said. “I don’t have the constant anxiety about the financial aspects of school anymore. My grades improved, too,” he added, noting that he earned a 4.0 GPA for the first time after joining Work+.

His job at The Fischer Group, a consumer products development company, has also given him valuable experience he can use in the future.

“I’ve learned a lot about being professional, adaptable, and how to work in a team atmosphere,” he said. “It’s helped me put a lot of the concepts from the classroom into daily life. For example, I’ve been able to use some of my psychological science skills for analyzing consumer behavior.”

Brillhart said, “I recommend Work+ to everyone I talk to.”
Dale Savage
Dale Savage is a Computer Science major at Miami while driving for BCRTA.

Miami’s Work+ team makes job and classes fit together easily

Fifth-year Computer Science major Dale Savage, who is finishing his degree at the Oxford campus after starting at the Regionals, said the program gave him everything he needed to be successful at work and in school.

“It’s exactly what I wanted. From day one, it’s been smooth sailing. My academics never suffered because I can pick the times I’m available to work,” he said of his job driving a bus for the Butler County Regional Transit Authority since 2019.

There have been occasional times when he missed an extracurricular event due to his work schedule. But he can use some personal time off if he needs it for campus activities.

“I’ve never regretted my decision,” he noted. “The Work+ team has helped me at every turn. Ekaterina has even helped me with registration for classes, and we get priority registration,” he said, referring to Work+ Director Ekaterina Gay. “Everything’s been a win-win.”
Mike Schuler and Maggie Schmidt
Maggie Schmidt playing UNO with Community First Solutions resident Mike Schuler.

Selecting Miami as a college destination due to Work+

Maggie Schmidt, a third-year Nursing student, said she chose Miami Regionals in large part because of the Work+ option.

“I was torn between two schools. One of them was Miami,” she said. “When I heard about Work+, I immediately knew Miami was the best choice.”

Today, she works as a State Tested Nurse Aide at Community First Solutions, a not-for-profit network offering health and wellness services in Butler County.

“Honestly, it’s almost too good to be true,” she said of her job and its benefits. “People sometimes don’t think it’s real, but it is. I work two 12-hour shifts, and I go to class the days I don’t work. I can manage my schedule without worrying. My bosses are always understanding of my school schedule, and they work with me if I have exams. They know that’s a priority.”

Schmidt said one of the best parts of the program is the friends she’s made with other Miami students who work at Community First through Work+.

“We share our experiences and study tips. They have become some of my best friends,” she said.

She added that her job at Community First has enhanced her preparation for the professional world after graduation.

“Working at Community First has prepared me to be a better nurse,” Schmidt said. “You learn a lot in the classroom, but you are not doing direct patient care. With my hands-on experience at Community First, I feel more confident about interacting with patients. I have those communication skills now.”

Employers find lots to like about Miami students

At Worthington Steel, a steel processing business in Monroe, senior human resources business partner Jay Marlow said the company originally joined Work+ with a simple goal of increasing its pool of part-time entry-level workers. It didn’t take long, however, for company leaders to see they were getting much more than basic part-time help.

“These individuals have impressed us from day one,” said Marlow, who hired Waye as a management trainee. “Our experiences have shown us these are sharp kids who want to be part of the team. They want to help us improve. They bring new ideas and a different perspective.”

Marlow said the students’ weekly work schedule essentially becomes a long-term interview.

“We don’t make any promises at the start,” he said. “We want to see if this can work for both of us. But what we’ve seen has been very positive. They come in motivated and ready to work. While Carter is the first student we’ve hired full time, I think we'd definitely be interested in hiring more students.”

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