January 18, 2018 10:30 a.m.
Governor Kate Brown has awarded Oregon Solutions project status to a local collaborative that seeks to build a career and technical education center in south Douglas County.
A release from the Douglas Education Service District says project boosters are hoping the center will be operational by September of this year.
The release says the designation will pave the way for five south Douglas County school districts, joining forces to create a centralized site where students can take additional classes in high-quality career technical education programs. The project’s goals include boosting high school graduation rates as well as career options in fields that meet local industry needs.
Wayne Patterson, Executive Director of the Umpqua Economic Development Partnership predicts that the center and expanded CTE programs would have a direct impact on many local industries, including wood products, manufacturing, construction and many more. Patterson says businesses are “struggling to find workers”. He says this type of program would allow the county to “grow our own” future workforce based on the actual needs of the business community.
The ESD release says over the past year, five south county school district superintendents, from Days Creek, Glendale, Riddle, South Umpqua and Winston Dillard, have been exploring the prospect of a south county CTE center to expand their existing programs, with assistance from the Douglas ESD. In a December letter, Governor Brown stated that the South County Douglas County Career and Technical Education Collaborative meets objectives required for Oregon Solutions status. The letter also directed Douglas ESD Superintendent Michael Lasher and Jeff Johnson, owner/operator of the Myrtle Creek based MSK True Value stores, to help coordinate the effort.
Lasher says the Oregon Solutions designation comes with a significant contribution of state funds and support designed to help move the project forward. Lasher says the momentum builds on work already taken by school districts, the Partnership, The Ford Family Foundation, and other community leaders.
Launched with the passage of the state of Oregon Sustainability Act in 2001, Oregon Solutions partners with the Governor’s Regional Solutions Centers to assist with priority projects where state agency assistance and funding are available and needed, according to the ESD release.