BEND, OR -- Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian was in Central Oregon Tuesday, touring a couple of high school vocational training classes. He got an up-close look at Bend Senior High's Career Technical Education Program, which is a 21st Century version of a shop class. "The students love these programs. It not only gives them things they love to do, but teaches them skills they can use when they get out of high school to get a job, or they can go on to an apprenticeship, they're ready for that too," Avakian tells KBND.
The BSH program earned a $268,000 state Vocational Education Revitalization Grant, which allowed it to get up and running. Avakian says, "It's important because Oregon has got to show we have the most trained, most ready workforce you can find anywhere. That's how we're going to grow our economy and add jobs. But, more than that, It's so important for student to get a well rounded education while they're in school. We have about a 67% graduation rate in Oregon, but for a student that participates in one of these programs, 96% of their students graduate on time, in four years."
He congratulated the school for it's work in renewable energy and electrical vehicle technology. "This program that you've got in Bend is really leading the state in many ways, with the kind of technology they're using, the equipment they've got. It's a very highly advanced program in engineering and building things. We're seeing similar types of programs start up in the state, and not just in traditional things like metal shop and wood shop. Beaverton, for instance, is doing bio-medical engineering program, Silverton is doing sports medicine and pre-med."