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Teacher Ryan Cochran is being promoted to oversee and further build the CTE programs

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - CTE is a renewed focus of the Crook County School District.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 32 percent of Oregon workers 25 years and older will obtain a bachelor's degree.

That's why the Crook County School District wants to bolster its Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at Crook County High School to ensure all students are prepared for the workforce.

Superintendent Dr. Sara Johnson says former Crook County Economic Development Director, Jason Carr, is working with the district to help evaluate current CTE programs and build a more robust relationship with the business community. And starting next school year, long-time health teacher and head football coach Ryan Cochran is being promoted to oversee and further build the CTE programs.

"I am extremely excited for the opportunity to continue developing and expanding CTE," Cochran said. "We have to help students become more employable and gain technical skills, and I look forward to building relationships in the community to help our students gain skills for their future."

"We think Mr. Cochran is a great fit," Johnson responded. "He came prepared to the interviews with an outline of his vision, and he's really motivated. If we want to take our CTE classes to the next level, having a point person at the high school is extremely important."

Carr says continued data center growth and Rosendin Electric establishing a local division in Prineville points to a flurry of economic activity occurring in Crook County, and part of his goal is to find opportunities to further engage the local business community in the schools.

"Renewable energy is taking off, data center construction continues, small businesses are thriving, and more trades are coming to Central Oregon as the region grows. CCHS is in a unique position to benefit and help connect students to meaningful careers," said Carr of JSC Consulting.

The effort doesn't just begin at the high school level.

Right after spring break, CCHS held its first ever CTE field trip for eighth graders at Crook County Middle School. Students visited the classes, talked with teachers, and got their first taste of how job-related classes might point them toward a career path.

"We think it's important for incoming freshmen and their families to know more about our CTE classes, but we have to build that momentum even earlier at the middle school level," Johnson said.

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