From left, Roseburg Salsa Company intern Micah Kimzey, co-owner Terrance Bradford, co-owner Robert Kalchert, co-owner Cody Scott, co-owner Tyler Ramos and former-intern Connor Baird pose for a photograph at their downtown Roseburg location.

Roseburg Salsa Co. aims to give a second chance to those who didn’t complete high school.

In January, the company partnered with North Atlantic Regional High School and created the Freedmen Institute of Transitional Education to help students earn high school credits.

Roseburg Salsa co-owners Tyler Ramos and Terrance Bradford have been faculty members at the Woolley Center and Umpqua Community College. Ramos previously worked as a middle school math instructor and Bradford designed educational software curriculum and spent 12 years in student affairs at various universities.

Bradford named the program for his Cherokee Freedmen ancestors, former slaves set free who were able to live prosperously through education.

Students can take online classes from colleges around the country while Roseburg Salsa staff act as mentors.

A $600 program fee covers North Atlantic Regional High School registration, the diploma, transcripts and tutoring. Accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the school is authorized to issue a diploma, recognized across the country.

Two of the four students in the program, Connor Baird and Micah Kimzey, said they weren't motivated to continue their education until they started interning at Roseburg Salsa Co.

"When I first got here they opened my eyes and helped me develop as a person," Baird said. Baird, who had already earned his GED, started taking coding classes online through the University of Michigan and worked with Roseburg Salsa co-owner Robert Kalchert on a Grow with Google initiative scholarship. He recently found out he received the scholarship.

Kimzey had dropped out of North Valley High School in Grants Pass, but now he's taking classes in music production through the Berkeley Conservatory of Music.

"It's really great what they've done for me and they really want the best," Kimzey said of the Roseburg Salsa team, which also includes co-owner Cody Scott.

For more information, call 541-375-0532 or visit RoseburgSalsa.com.

Reporter Emily Hoard can be reached at 541-957-4217 or ehoard@nrtoday.com. Or follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

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Business, Natural Resources and Outdoors Reporter

Emily Hoard is the business, outdoors and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4217 or by email at ehoard@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

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