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Community Colleges offer Career Technical Education -Tillamook Bay Community College

Community Colleges provide workforce training through Career Technical Education

By Dr. Ross Tomlin, President Tillamook Bay Community College

February 26, 2020
Students and the welding instructor pose at the state capitol on February 5, 2020
During February, which is National Career Technical Education Month, TBCC participated in CTE Day at the Capitol Building in Salem on Feb. 5. Left to right: TBCC student Miguel Verdugo, Welding Instructor Gina Maack, TBCC student Jude Schlotzhauer, TBCC Board Member Jennifer Purcell. Back: Darryl Spitzer, TBCC Dean of Industrial Technology.

Most community colleges in the United States are comprehensive in their mission.  This means they offer classes in three main categories: Transfer, Community Education, and Career-Technical Education (CTE).  CTE includes courses and programs that provide the skills and hands-on-training needed to prepare students to enter the workforce job ready. Programs can include short-term certificates or a two-year degree.  TBCC is working to determine the major employment needs in Tillamook County and our region and provide classes and programs that will meet those needs and put people in our county to work.

February is national CTE month. To help showcase CTE programs and apprenticeship opportunities offered through Oregon community colleges, TBCC participated in CTE Day at the Capitol Building in Salem on Feb. 5. CTE Day features community colleges from across the state and brings students studying in Career-Technical programs and program representation such as drones, emergency medical supplies, and mobile welders to the Capitol to remind legislators of the key role community colleges provide in preparing students to be skilled and job ready. Nationally demand for a skilled technical workforce that does not require a bachelor’s degree is increasing. Community colleges are providing this training in Career-Technical Education.

Current CTE programs at TBCC include Business Administration, Criminal Justice and Public Safety (including Emergency Medical Services), Manufacturing and Industrial Technology (MIT), and Welding Technology. When TBCC started the new Welding Technology degree program this past fall, the classes were immediately full and we had to add course sections.  There is a huge need for welders everywhere, and the jobs are high paying.

Last year, TBCC started the Truck Driver Training program, which prepares students to take their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) test. This is a non-credit program that runs for four weeks (160 hours) and then graduates are ready to take the test. In just 1.5 years, 20 students have received their CDL and have secured a good paying job.

Then there is healthcare, with many different employment options, most with high needs for skilled workers. TBCC is starting a new Medical Assisting program this spring, and next fall will initiate a new Healthcare Certificate program. More healthcare-related programs are in the planning stage.

In addition, next fall, we will be starting an Agricultural Technology degree program that incorporates manufacturing and robotics courses into a foundational curriculum of agriculture. We are very excited about the need and interest in this degree.

There are TBCC graduates from CTE programs woven all through our community from Hampton Affiliates and the Tillamook Country Smoker, to the Oregon Youth Authority and right across the street at OSU Extension Services. As TBCC grows, so too do our CTE programs and that makes for a win-win for businesses and students in Tillamook County.