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Winona Daily News: 'A light after high school': In its second year, Winona's REACH program keeps growing

by Madeline Heim, 12/7/18

Rhonda Aspenson can see a change in her REACH kids.

She teaches a workplace readiness class for the unique Winona Senior High program, which began last year and gives students a chance to learn hands-on skills that will better prepare them for life after high school.

"When we first started this, we had a meeting. … They wouldn't even look up," Aspenson said. "By the end of that first year, their confidence just grew and they were able to look people in the eye, shake their hands, have a conversation, have that confidence."

In partnership with the Winona Chamber of Commerce, the REACH program initially made use of the more than 100 manufacturing companies in town to enroll students in blueprinting, computer-assisted design and precision machining classes, with many students taking internships at places like Fastenal and RTP or doing extra work at Minnesota State College Southeast.

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