No college? No problem at Red Ventures


The Story

South Carolina technology company Red Ventures has an experimental program that helps a small group of top high school graduates from low-income families get job skills training for free. That training could lead to a job with the company.

So, essentially, a local high school graduate could get paid about $50,000 to work as a junior web developer at Red Ventures instead of spending that much or more going to college.

Sounds pretty nice, huh?

The Facts

– The program, called Code2Hire, started last summer with eight students who recently graduated from Charlotte-area high schools. Four were hired by the internet marketing firm, with pay around $50,000.

– Candidates for the program must be from low-income homes. Citizenship is not required.

– Students aren’t paid during the training, which is 12-to-15 hours per week, but the company covers all costs associated with the curriculum.

– The program is part of a national trend to revive apprenticeships to train specialized employees, according to education experts.

History of cool moves

– This is the second program created by Red Ventures to help local high school graduates. The other is Golden Door Scholars, which helps undocumented high school students who are denied in-state college tuition rates because of their immigration status.

– Red Ventures seems like a pretty darn cool place to work. Its office has a bowling alley and a beer garden!

Interns vs the older guys bowling tournament happening now in #rv3.

A photo posted by Red Ventures (@redventures) on


They said it

1P4G0P2 – “The four students we hired are all doing incredibly well and they are earning $50,000 a year, rather than accumulating $50,000 a year in debt for college.” – Red Ventures CEO and co-founder Ric Elias

– “We’re doing something great for kids in the community. But we’re also challenging educational institutions to change. Universities play an important role, but I don’t think spending $100,000 to $200,000 for a degree makes sense for everybody.” – Elias

– “I feel like I’m living a dream every time I walk through the halls of Red Ventures.” – Celio Reyes, 19,redventures_02 who got a job with Red Ventures through Code2Hire

– “My dad installs industrial air conditioning and my mom works in a hotel. They can’t afford college, but my dad wanted me to go. Before he came to this country, he was a microbiologist. But he lost (accreditation) when we came here in 2003.” – Reyes

C5’s Take

Getting paid a nice salary instead of accruing student loan debt? Sign us up!

Actually, it’s a little late for us. But the program is taking applications for its next session, promising to train and hire as many as 12 students to be junior web developers.

Deadline is May 11. Learn more and apply here at


Corey Inscoe covers sports for the Charlotte Observer’s community sections, but also really likes good music, good food and Charlotte beer.


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