Charting a career course
With its new facility in Salem, located in a building that once housed Toys R Us on Lancaster Drive near Market Street, Willamette Career Academy has been touting its inventive educational options for high school students.
No students in the area are taking fuller advantage of those options than those from Woodburn High School.
WCA Facebook page asserts: "Willamette Career Academy provides innovative programs to prepare students for high-wage, high-demand careers in Oregon."
It currently offers cosmetology, diesel technology and health services. Plans are to add more programs to the curriculum down the road.
Woodburn School District officials announced last week that with 60 students enrolled, it has the largest number of students attending WCA, and they appear to be delighted with the opportunity.
"This is week two, and the students I have spoken to so far are loving it," said Laurie Cooper, WSD program administrator.
Cooper said each student spends a half-day at the academy, some in the morning and some in the afternoons. They are enrolled in two-year programs, and they can earn a license in their related field.
"For instance, in the health occupations program, students exit with the skills needed to pass the CNA exam and get licensed," Cooper said. "The three programs are health occupations, diesel technology and cosmetology. But this is just phase one. Phase two will begin later this year, and next fall, they will add construction, manufacturing and IT to the program."
A number of area educators and administrators serve on the academy's project subcommittee and/or its executive council. Among them are Gervais Superintendent Dandy Stevens, North Marion Superintendent Ginger Redlinger, St. Paul Superintendent Joe Wehrli and former area superintendents Bill Rhodes of Woodburn and Troy Stoops of Mount Angel. Stoops currently is a superintendent in Junction City.
The academy is operated by Willamette Education Service District, which provides a broad array of services to many school districts throughout the region. Woodburn is pleased to have this one available.
"The Willamette Career Academy is a great example of how engaging pathways and options are being opened for our students," WSD Superintendent Juan Larios said. "These are new career and technical educationÂ programs that weren't previously available, and there will be more opening up next year. Students are excited, and we're excited. We're looking forward to providing increased pathways for students to graduate ready to pursue college and career options.
"Moreover, the facilities are amazing," Larios added.
Throughout the fall, WSD will offer information nights for families who are interested in learning more. The next application process will begin in February s022. Students applying to the WCA must be a junior in the 2022-23 school year. All students are welcome to apply. Attendance is the largest factor in gaining admission to the programs.
To learn more about the Willamette Career Academy visit: https://www.wesd.org/domain/210.
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