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Oce Mentors Chicago Public School Student Through Four-Year Program

Press release from the issuing company

CHICAGO, Aug. 18 -- Oce, a global leader in digital document management and delivery solutions whose $1.2 billion North American operation is based in Chicago, teamed with the Chicago Public School's (CPS) Office of Education-to-Careers in a four-year mentoring program aimed at grade school students. Designed around specific occupational categories, this initiative matches 13 Chicago eighth-grade school students with local company mentors until they graduate from high school in June of 2008. The purpose of the CPS program is to foster the growth and development of students as they go through high school. It will give each of them exposure to real world business experiences, thereby providing a broader perspective on the importance and value of education. As a mentoring organization, Oce is working one-on-one with Jasmin Lamb, 13, who just graduated from eighth-grade at Gale Academy in Chicago and will be entering Sullivan High School this fall. The CPS partnership is a natural extension of the company's newly launched Oce Education Program. This initiative is designed to deliver comprehensive solutions that help educators reduce document management costs and increase productivity through improved process and workflow solutions. The program, through its graphic communications curriculum, also focuses on helping educators retain students and train them for careers in digital document management and production so they are better prepared for employment following graduation. "Improving education opportunities and creating technology tracks for students -- particularly those at risk for dropping out -- are critical to the competitiveness of the U.S. economy," said Ronald E. Daly, Chairman and CEO of Oce North America, Inc. Oce is a leading provider of digital document management technology and services to schools and universities across the world. The company's solutions and services help schools run more efficiently and cost-effectively by providing the technology to generate digital student and human resource records, establish e-print centers and address network and wide format printing needs. Jasmin Lamb "Makes the Grade" with Oce Miss Lamb, a resident of Rogers Park, was chosen to participate in the summer 2004 CPS training program based on her completion of a Web-based career interest inventory which matched her to an identified national occupational cluster. As students were being selected, one from each cluster, every attempt was made to reflect the diversity of the Chicago Public School population. A few of the national clusters include Arts and Communication Technology, Information Technology, Marketing, Sales and Services, and Manufacturing. In addition to Oce, other volunteering mentor organizations include Bank One, Smart Technology Services, Inc., A-1 Maintenance Supplies and Slidematic Products. According to Dennis Ptak of the CPS Office of Education-To-Careers, organizer of the program, "We are thrilled to be working with a world-class manufacturing organization such as Oce. Our joint mentoring initiatives are designed to strengthen the potential of our students throughout their high school years. This requires a strong, hands-on commitment to a select individual, which Oce has clearly demonstrated in its dedication of resources, time and talent to help shape Miss Lamb's career path." First Day a Success Unlike other mentoring programs where students are taken through a variety of tasks with different individuals, students will be working with one identified employee through monthly communication over four years. Miss Lamb's interest is in the Arts & Communication Technology cluster, so the Corporate Communications department of Oce was a good fit for her interests. Miss Lamb kicked off her first day at the office by "job-shadowing" Oce mentor, Emily Giesy, Marketing Coordinator, Corporate Communications. She observed how the Corporate Communications department delivers Oce's corporate messaging through various media. She also received a demonstration of Oce equipment in the showroom and some typical applications. The highlight of Miss Lamb's day was when she was presented with her own laptop computer. Companies in the mentoring program were asked to provide each student a "tool of the trade" that they could take with them and use to further develop their skills. The generous donation of the laptop was made possible by John Williams, Oce National Account Manager, and the company's Information Services Department. "This means so much to me, thank you, thank you, thank you! I will take my computer everywhere, and I especially can't wait to show my mom! She won't believe it. I just can't stop saying thank you!" said Jasmin through tears of happiness as the computer was presented to her. "We want to make this a highly enriching and personalized experience for Miss Lamb to help her understand the value of her education and what it takes to achieve her career goals," added Daly. "The CPS Education-to-Careers program is a unique opportunity for both Chicago's young people and for companies like us to develop local talent right within our own business community. It's a logical complement to the Oce Education Program, where we strive to improve the education levels of students and better serve a market whose current needs for digital document management solutions are enormous."