Submitted photo##Morgan Conway, foreground, and Journey Drover analyze forensic evidence in a career course at McMinnville High School. The pathway introduces students to a variety of fire and law enforcement jobs.
Submitted photo##Morgan Conway, foreground, and Journey Drover analyze forensic evidence in a career course at McMinnville High School. The pathway introduces students to a variety of fire and law enforcement jobs.
By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

McMinnville, YC, Willamina share in career ed grants

The state distributed a total of $9 million in CTE Revitalization Grant funds to 25 districts, chosen from 73 applicants. The four area districts won a total of $1.1 million.

McMinnville is getting $146,796 for its protective services career pathway program, one of 17 pathways featured at McMinnville High School. The pathways offer students a chance to explore various career areas, learn skills they will need in the workplace and get a jump on post-secondary education. 

The grant will allow the high school to strengthen the protective services pathway and build more partnerships with fire, police, courts and security agencies, said Tony Vicknair, assistant principal at Mac High. MHS students will have both school-year and summer opportunities to learn, he said.

In addition, he and Mac High Principal Kris Olsen said, the district will be able to expand it to middle school students, as well. Before they reach ninth grade, students will have a chance to learn about safety, forensics and legal careers and have real-world experiences.

“We want them to explore their interests and seamlessly transition from middle school to high school,” Olsen said. 

This is the second career program grant McMinnville School District has received this month. Last week, the state granted $73,000 for equipment earmarked for pathway programs.

In addition: 

* Y-C’s Career Academy will get $222,208.

The program is designed to give students real-world skills so they’ll be ready to start jobs or go on to college or additional career training after high school. It also will offer alternative academic courses to meet students’ interests and needs. Instead of traditional world history, for instance, students might study the history of agriculture. (See related story on A7.)

* Willamina’s College and Career Ready program will receive $390,745. The district is building a new shop building to house woodworking, agriculture and hands-on career programs.

* Gaston Junior and Senior High will receive $360,478 for its “Dream, Plan, Build Gaston” program.

Noor and Avakian said a committee selected the grant recipients because their programs “lead to high-wage, high-demand occupations, especially for historically underserved students.” The committee also considered geographic diversity and community partnerships.

“These programs are good for students, good for business and good for local communities,” Noor said, noting that graduation rates for students in career programs are close to 90 percent nationwide, higher than the average rate for all students.

Avakian added, “ A skilled workforce is the foundation of a healthy economy.”

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