Mount Angel to build work experience program, North Marion focuses on Habitat partnership

INDEPENDENT FILE PHOTO - An ag engineer visits North Marion High School in this 2014 photo. Now, North Marion and Mount Angel students will have more chances for real-world experiences thanks to CTE revitalization grants.Two local school districts have received grant money from the Oregon Department of Education to use toward career technical education projects.

Mount Angel School District received $283,993 for what it calls the Building Opportunities by Local Design (BOLD) program. North Marion High School received $75,615 for the North Marion Habitat Partnership.

In Mount Angel, the BOLD program creates a K-12 culture of college and career readiness, with activities in middle school that include visits to local businesses and a semester-long work experience in high school.

"There is a high demand for highly skilled, high wages careers in our local community and across the state," said MASD Superintendent Troy Stoops in an email. "By establishing and maintaining sustainable partnerships between MASD and local business partners, we will not only provide all students with a more meaningful and relevant education, but we will also provide experiential opportunities by placing students in the workplace to earn high school and college credits while attending high school."

The district already has 21 interested business partners, and it recently hired a CTE grant coordinator to facilitate those partnerships.

BOLD came out of the district's strategic plan that outlines the desire for 75 percent of the graduating class of 2019 to earn a minimum of 12 college credits, and that same class will earn a minimum of three CTE credits.

"This grant opens many doors for our kids and creates opportunities to build relationships between MASD and business partners that will better prepare all students for life beyond high school," Stoops said. "We don't expect every student to go to college, but we do expect every student to have the skills and ability to make informed decisions for life beyond high school because we provided them with relevant experiences while they attend our schools."

At North Marion, the partnership with Habitat for Humanity is two-fold, according to Superintendent Ginger Redlinger: The program helps students focus on learning the trades and how to run a business, and it also will provide an opportunity for students to obtain the Seal of Biliteracy, which is an award given in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages.

Redlinger said that CTE teacher Sherie Moran came up with the concept after doing a summer project with Habitat for Humanity.

"It sounded like a perfect fit: What she envisioned was the expansion of the vo-tech program to include cabinet making, and (through Habitat) we had the resources and mentors willing to help with that. It just all came together," Redlinger said.

Students will be able to take a cabinet building class, as well as a business class that would facility an internship with Habitat.

"There's a need for skilled workers so this program can help provide students with the information about the building trades and construction management," Redlinger said. "If they decide to go into this line of work they'll be ready."

The whole point isn't to groom only students who will jump into their careers upon high school graduation.

"Things with this generation are really changing: They don't see a distinction between being prepared for college and knowing how to build something. They see them as compatable," Redlinger said. "You're a lot more valuable if you can be a good learner, a good problem solver, a good communicator, be good with math AND you can build something."

So why include the Seal of Biliteracy piece into the mix?

"Having the Biliteracy Seal, ... it immediately identifies you as someone who has a special skill," Redlinger said. "These are people who are going to work in communities where more than one language is spoken on a job site. So it applies to both college and work."

While Mount Angel is ready to hit the ground running — its grant coordinator already starts work this week — North Marion's will take effect in the fall.

The two-year grant will provide equipment needed to be able to produce cabinetry as well as provide planning time for teachers.

The two grants are among 32 awarded, totaling $10.3 million, by the Oregon Department of Education.

"These grants will help more students prepare for college and career," said Acting Deputy Superintendent Colt Gill in the release. "I'm very pleased to see the ongoing expansion of hands-on, applied learning to more schools around the state. These programs are good for students, good for businesses and good for local communities."

Lindsay Keefer can be reached at 503-765-1193 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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