Oregon's high quality Career and Technical Education programs incorporate rigorous academic and technical standards, as well as critical workplace skills such as problem solving, communications, and teamwork to support career and college readiness for its students. CTE courses highlight the power of collaboration as schools work with community colleges and workforce partners to ensure students receive a strong foundation of skills and experiences that will prepare them for success down the road.
Two out of three Oregon students enroll in CTE courses during high school. And while students may choose to simply take one or two career related courses, for those students who wish to go more in depth, many schools offer a CTE Program of Study. There are more than 800 of these approved programs available in high schools around the state covering career areas ranging from Agriculture to E-marketing, Sustainable Building to Health Services. Today's CTE programs provide students with focused, rigorous, and contextualized learning - linking the classroom with the real world. The goal is for students to have a rich learning experience with a seamless transition between high school CTE courses and post-secondary career training - whether that be a community college CTE program, another workforce training program or apprenticeship, or a four year college or university.
We know that connecting students' learning to real world applications generally improves student engagement and enriches the learning experience. But the results of contextualized learning seen in our CTE programs are nothing short of remarkable. For the past three years, students engaged in our CTE programs of study had a 97% graduation rate! Students are engaged, achieving at high levels, and leaving high school ready for their next steps.
We know that we need to provide all of our students with the skills that will prepare them for success in higher education and the workplace. CTE courses can help our students prepare for competitive, family wage jobs and these highly skilled graduates will also help boost our state's economy by providing local employers with a skilled, home-grown workforce.
New equipment provides learning opportunities for students in four counties
By Angel Carpenter (Blue Mountain Eagle)
MT. VERNON – Advanced agriculture students from local high schools recently had a rare opportunity to operate new state-of-the-art livestock ultrasound equipment.
Gail and Shirley Enright opened up their Wagon Wrench Ranch Feb. 27 to the students, who received hands-on instruction from veterinarian Colleen Robertson and Grant Union Junior-Senior High School ag teacher Kris Kizer.
Monument ag teacher Laura Thomas also lent a hand. She brought 12 students, and Kizer brought 14.
Kizer said the ultrasound machine and mobile lab cost $32,000.
Oregon Department of Education grant money available to 16 schools in the Grant, Baker, Union and Wallowa counties – $2,000 for each school – was pooled to acquire the equipment, which will be shared by the participating schools.
Sherry Cole of Grant County ESD wrote the application for the grant, which is to be used for increasing technology and dual credit opportunities for high school students.
Grant County was the first to use the equipment.
Several students performed an evaluation on pregnant cows from the Enright herd.
It was routine for some students who had performed “preg checks” on their own ranches, but it was a little out of the comfort zone for others. The delicate procedure requires a certain amount of courage, as well as know-how.
Robertson said the point of the procedure is to check for pregnancy, how far along the pregnancy is, detect the sex of the fetus and check for twins – all without poking or pinching the fetus.
“The most important thing is safety first,” Robertson said.
“These are big critters, and they’re not here by choice,” she said, adding that when giving an exam the students should think of a way out should trouble arise. “Keep yourself, the animal and the equipment safe.”
Grant Union FFA chapter president Megan Lane had performed the checks before, at friends’ ranches and at a Treasure Valley Community College clinic.
“Getting this equipment was a big deal,” she said. “I think it’s fantastic – it’s an awesome chance for these kids.”
“It was really cool,” said Monument student Bailey Thomas. “I wasn’t going to come, but my sister Maya convinced me. She’s done it before.”
Classmate Jaine Homan said that once she got everything down, “it was simple.”
Ryan Cook, also a Monument student, said it was “a little bit difficult” but got through the procedure successfully.
Monument student GW Clark, experienced in the process of ultrasound, noted the cow he checked was 60 days along.
At least one of the cows was expecting twins.
Kizer said the training allows students to use new industry-leading technology and learn how it helps livestock owners increase productivity. He noted the equipment can also check a carcass for meat quality before butchering.
“It helps students as they explore job opportunities in the agriculture field,” he said. Those who take the extra class earn six college credits through TVCC in Ontario.
The adults were impressed with the students.
“The students were mature,” said Gail Enright, and “quiet and respectful around the cattle.”
He learned about the training opportunity for students at a Grant County Stockgrowers meeting and, interested in seeing youth involved in ag education, offered to have them learn the ropes of ultrasound checks at his ranch.
“I think it was a phenomenal opportunity for him to allow us to come out, and we’re extremely grateful,” said Kizer.
Ag students from Monument and Grant Union schools receive training in the use of livestock ultrasound equipment. From left, Treiquella Osborne snaps an ultrasound picture, Cherise Holmstrom checks the monitor and ag teacher Kris Kizer assists as another student performs an ultrasound.
Monument School ag student Ryan Cook tries his hand at an ultrasound check with veterinarian Colleen Robertson supervising during the training.
CBS Evening News this week shined a light on Career Technical Education (CTE), highlighting its role in training a skilled and competitive workforce, and helping to support the nation’s economy.
The news segment, Skilled Workforce in High Demand, segued from a story on President Obama’s jobs bill and noted a national report which indicated that 4.6 unemployed workers are competing for every job that is available. The connection made between the nation’s economic health and CTE, and a brief nod to NASDCTEc was certainly positive.
The report went further to explore Lehigh Valley CTE programs in Allentown, Pennsylvania and the range of job opportunities students are poised to secure. Lehigh Valley schools and colleges continue to receive attention for its CTE programs. In December 2009, President Obama visited Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC), which shares a campus with Lehigh Career and Technical Institute (LCTI). The President’s stop to the joint campus that December placed CTE in the backdrop as he talked about economic recovery.
John McGlade, Air Products President and CEO, vouched for CTE as a resource that could help boost the nation’s economy. His company hires about 550 U.S. workers annually, but many of them can go unfilled for up to a year, he said. About 360 of those positions require 2 years of college, or advanced certification.
“Without the support and without the continued development of a skilled workforce, we aren’t going to be able to fill the jobs,” McGlade said.
McGlade has been a vocal advocate of CTE. He has spoken to the importance of CTE at a NASDCTEc Spring Meeting and has worked with other CTE organizations such as SkillsUSA to support CTE.
Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager
Region 13 CTE Coordinator
61663 Behrens Lane
Summerville, OR 97876