County schools awarded $255K for career-tech programs

Release Date: 

Oct. 18, 2016 – Local school programs ranging from manufacturing to agribusiness to early childhood education to drafting/design technology got a huge boost when state officials announced a second round of funding to improve career-technical programs. 

The Oregon Department of Education has released a list of recipients of Career Pathways Funding, a pilot program designed to provide funding to Career & Technical Education programs around the state. The program is in its second year.

Eight Douglas County high schools received a total of $255,837 – nearly $100,000 more than last year. Individual schools will be awarded amounts between $2,000 and $45,000 to improve their programs.   

“This funding is critical in helping school CTE programs rise to industry standards, which in turn creates career pathways for students,” said Analicia Nicholson, Douglas Education Service District director of education services. “The goal is to ensure kids leaving high school can get a job right away, or go on to a technical school or college that will launch them into successful jobs.”

The ODE website states that to be eligible for Career Pathways funds, a school CTE curriculum must lead to high-wage and high-demand occupations and provide at least three unduplicated credits to students.

CTE programs can be arduous for Douglas County schools to maintain, given that equipment is expensive and requires updates to keep up with technological advances. Career Pathway funding reflects the state’s effort to bring stable, consistent funding to high school training programs.

Glide High School received a single grant in the maximum amount of $45,000 for a second consecutive year, to be applied to its agriculture-centered program of study. The program’s two teachers oversee multiple science-based courses, as well as subjects for students planning careers in leadership and agricultural sciences, according to Glide High Principal Kristina Haug.

With last year’s Career Pathways funding, school administrators met to talk over what they could purchase that would best serve the majority of students, Haug said. They opted to invest in resources such as beakers, graduated cylinders, test tubes and other science lab equipment. Another focus was on equipment that allows students to use computer and engineering design skills to produce components of signs, cabinets, muffler sets or any type of metal or wood projects.

“We wanted to be able to help align students with jobs identified by the state as high-wage jobs available in Oregon,” Haug said. “Much of the technology is directly related to what people are being hired in the county to do.”

Some of the second-year funds will be applied to forward-looking technology such as classroom sets of practice drones, which Haug said can be used for agriculture and forestry applications. These are areas where the school plans to expand partnerships with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and local business, she said. Professional development will be emphasized as well.  

Roseburg High School received five grants adding up to $77,931. The funds will help pay for computers, equipment and supplies RHS could not otherwise afford, according to instructor Sheri Carson, who oversees the school’s CTE program.

“Also, it allows more students to do projects,” she said. “The students are excited about being able to use the new technology, so they look forward to coming to the CTE classes and learning new things.”  

Even smaller grants are a great shot in the arm to existing programs, as South Umpqua High School Principal Kristi McGree attests. The school this year received two $2,000 grants. McGree said the funds will again be used for industry field trips, such as one last year to a Salem countertop business. 

"It's an experience they just can't get here with the regular budget, to see Corian countertops created," she said. "This gives kids the opportunity to see what is used in the industry, and then they go back home and do it." 

An attachment shows the grant amounts received by each Douglas County school district. 

Career Pathways list.pdf125.69 KB

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