CTE may change your life

Grant fund for modern tech skills

Career and Technical Education (CTE) involves programs like journalism, web design, and engineering.

Photo Courtesy of Capitol Records under Creative Commons License.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) involves programs like journalism, web design, and engineering.

With an expanding program hoping to make improvements in the upcoming years, classes such as journalism, web design and engineering look to benefit from a $425,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Education that was awarded to fund Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.

“[CTE] is basically a series of courses,” Anya Hershberger, assistant principal, said, “Or one course or a program of study that a student does to learn the soft skills that are needed in industry, like teamwork and personal management, but also some of the trade skills.”

This includes journalism, web design and engineering, which currently focuses on robotics. CTE may help you land a well paying job right out of school, and it is guaranteed to help you advance in the modern world.

“When we applied for the grant at the beginning of the year,” Hershberger said, “Our hope was to be able to fund the expansion of all three [journalism, web design, and engineering] programs.”

With the grant, which must be used over the next two years, Hershberger hopes to build a multimedia design studio for journalism and web design programs and a makerspace and manufacturing studio for the engineering lab.

“We will be able to have students use industry grade tools and materials,” Hershberger said, “So that [those] who go to college to study journalism will have used cameras and programs and other tools. [They] will become a lot more familiar with [the tools] and [they] will have expertise that will put [them] at a competitive advantage.”  

The grant is a big monetary boost added to our Federal Perkins funding.

“Perkins money we get every year. We don’t always get the same amount every year, but it’s based on how many programs we have,” Hershberger said. “Whereas the grant funding is [something you apply for], we applied for the maximum amount needed, and we were very fortunate to be one of very few districts that was fully funded.”

The main difference between Perkins funding and grant funding is that Perkins money is supplied every year, whereas grant funding is a certain amount of awarded money that can only be used for a set amount of time.

CTE not only focuses on how to use industry grade tools, but how to work in a professional environment. Soft skills such as teamwork, personal management and creativity are practiced. Without skills like these, Hershberger warns, the chances of getting a job in a CTE program is unlikely.

All students in the West Linn Wilsonville district in seventh and eighth grade will also benefit from the CTE grant by having the opportunity to attend a summer camp focused on these skills.

“[At the camp] we’ll be doing 3D printing, drone flying and aerial photography, digital photography, movie making, engineering; all sorts of things,” Stacy Erickson, librarian, said.

The camp is called Catalyst Camp, and it is focused on high tech programs, versus the other Catalyst camp that focuses on ISEF projects. The camp will take place over this summer starting on July 16 for one week and July 23 for another week; and will continue next summer as well. High school students can participate in the camp as well by volunteering as camp counselors, and they may even earn some money.

“What I hear both from colleges and employers is they are looking for people in the 21st century who  [know CTE skills]” Hershberger said, “You can be the smartest person, but if you are not able to work with others and have a lot of those soft skills [it will be harder in a work environment], you will be at a much better advantage if you have those [skills]. CTE classes are one way that schools can help provide that [experience] and for people to start to really explore deeply potential career paths in our community.”

The CTE programs offered at school, according to Hershberger, all have what the Oregon Employment Office says are high wage, high demand careers in Oregon in the near future.

Make sure to tune in to upcoming Live Roar episodes to learn more about CTE programs.