February is National Career Technical Education (CTE) Month. OCCA and Oregon's 17 community colleges look forward to sharing with legislators the impact community college CTE programs have on Oregon's workforce, communities and the state's economic recovery from COVID-19 and reinvigorating the workforce. Each week in February will feature different CTE career/industry areas. Be sure to look for additional communication from your local community college about their CTE programs on social media.
PLEASE NOTE: While community colleges do not have a specific fiscal request related to CTE in the February 2022 Legislative Session, the funding requests related to cybersecurity infrastructure/training needs and the Future Ready Oregon 2022 proposal do have a significant impact on Oregon's community colleges. Without cybersecurity protections in place, colleges could not operate nor could they support CTE programs like the ones featured in this newsletter. Future Ready Oregon, which emphasizes needs in the construction, manufacturing and healthcare industries, includes $17 million for community college Career Pathways programs that will prioritize underserved communities and support workforce programs. We urge legislators to support cybersecurity funding and the Future Ready Oregon proposal during the Legislative Session.
This week features three career areas: Industrial Engineering, Transportation and Apprenticeship programs.
Industrial Engineering deals with integrated systems of people, information, equipment, energy, materials, analysis and synthesis to do things better and improve quality and productivity. Curriculum prepares students to work professionally in areas centered around industrial engineering such as Manufacturing, Process Optimization, and Management.
Transportation is critical for nearly every industry to keep the economy moving. Oregon community colleges offer a variety of programs in the transportation sector, from diesel technology to truck driving to automotive technology to keep the transportation industries safely on the road.
As the current population of experienced tradespeople nears retirement age, companies are scrambling to train and hire skilled workers. Apprenticeship describes a powerful training model in which aspiring tradespeople can learn from more experienced tradespeople and earn a living while they also attend school and receive scheduled, periodic advancement.
The sky is not the limit for Treasure Valley Community College's (TVCC) Aviation Science Program. The Aviation Science Program at TVCC provides quick entry into an often daunting field. What is exciting about the program is it allows students to take to the sky within weeks of enrollment as they are instructed by experienced flight instructors.
TVCC's hands-on training prepares and enables students to begin a career as a professional fixed-wing or helicopter pilot upon degree completion. TVCC conducts all aspects of Private Pilot training in-house and works with Silverhawk Aviation to offer all other flight training.
In addition, SkyWest Airlines and TVCC have partnered to implement the SkyWest Pilot Pathway Program, which provides a direct path for exceptional pilots with a desire to take control of their aviation careers.
Take it from recent Aviation Science Program graduate, Darrin Humphrey. Darrin graduated from TVCC in June 2021 with a Private Pilot's License, an Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot's License, and his Certified Flight Instructor and Certified Flight Instructor Instrument certificates in single-engine airplanes. Darrin decided to go back to school after working in a different career for roughly 12 years.
"TVCC's program not only helped me obtain my required FAA flight ratings, but this program introduced me to some amazing people in the aviation industry," Darrin said.
Darrin currently lives in Portland with his wife and two dogs. Thanks to his time at TVCC, he now works as a Certified Flight Instructor at Aero Maintenance Flight Center located on Person Field in Vancouver, WA.
Apprenticeship programs are a great way for students to gain hands-on training and skill-building right in their field areas. Avery Martin, a Central Oregon Community College (COCC) student who completed COCC's Apprenticeship Program, Hardhat in Hand, in partnership with Fortis Construction at the Facebook Data Center in Prineville, got involved in the program so that he could earn to learn. Click here to hear about Avery's experience!
The good news is that in spite of the ongoing pandemic, manufacturing jobs are making an impressive comeback. The bad news? The skills gap has widened, with those same jobs in even higher demand.
Oregon's semiconductor manufacturing sector, considered the most automated industry in the state, is snatching up college graduate pools to fill the demand for workers. Hillsboro-based Jireh Semiconductor, Inc. has 60 openings currently and is in the middle of an expansion that could double this number by March 2022.
Industry need is prompting recruiters to knock on the doors of college training programs to find prospective graduates. Such programs are critical to prepare students for high-tech positions; coursework teaches students how to fix and operate machinery, with some of the best employees being those who are in school as they can readily apply what they're learning in class to their daily work activities.
Yet the numbers aren't there; more students need to pursue this educational path to fill the industry gap - and to capture their interest, they need to learn about advancement opportunities in the field. To help with this, Jireh Semiconductor sits on Portland Community College's Microelectronics Technology Program's advisory board, which includes about 15 semiconductor companies. Members host mock interviews with students and mentor them, provide guest speakers and technical assistance to faculty, promote the program to their employees and friends, and donate equipment.
"The worst thing you can do is not try something you're curious about and just end up regretting it later," Hutch Wagoner said with a nod. The first-year heavy diesel student at Linn-Benton Community College (LBCC) was recounting his thought processes a year ago as he was looking at continuing his education after high school. After a long road of living in different towns and trying different jobs, Hutch is confident he's found his calling working with heavy diesel equipment, and he's eager to share his story. Click here to read about Hutch's story!
Oregon community colleges serve their specific communities, and programs reflect the needs of their local business and industries. Check out the wide array of career & technical education programs that Oregon community colleges offer in this great video!