February is National Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, which celebrates the value of Career-Technical education and how this type of training is critical to supporting business and industry across the country.
Over the years, Tillamook Bay Community College (TBCC) has stayed committed to offering CTE training to the community that prepares students for local, high-wage jobs. Nearly all of TBCC’s CTE programs provide students with the opportunity to get started in high school and jump-start their career.
“We are fortunate to have the partners we do at our Tillamook County high schools where students can start learning skills like welding and earn college credit, which helps position them for careers right here in Tillamook County,” said Matthew Rehl, the Dean of CTE at TBCC.
Rehl went on to say, “Nearly all of our CTE programs require strong community partnerships with local industry leaders. They come to us with a need and we are able to build a program that can train people to step into those jobs.”
Jobs like millwrights and industrial maintenance technicians, which TBCC has been training since 2009 through its Industrial Maintenance Technology program. The program started as a partnership with Hampton Affiliates, Stimson Lumber and the Tillamook Creamery Association. Now, the program has grown to include certificates in welding and an Associate of Applied Science degree in welding that can be completed in two years.
The college also offers CTE opportunities in agricultural technology, healthcare, business administration and criminal justice. The Basic Healthcare Certificate can be completed while a student is still in high school.
Recently, TBCC trained six volunteer fire fighters with the Rockaway Beach Fire Department to earn their EMS License from the state of Oregon. TBCC partnered with the Rockaway Beach Fire Chief and his staff to instruct the class for their volunteers.
“One of the things that makes our CTE programs so unique is that we bring in professionals who are working in these fields and have years of experience to come teach our students and give them a real-world experience,” Rehl said.
“You have more access to people actually working in the field,” added Samantha McClain, a recent TBCC graduate who studied criminal justice. “Not only do you learn a lot in the classes, but the instructors share real stories and real situations that you can apply to what you are learning.”
Students in their final year of a CTE program earn college credit while simultaneously gaining valuable, on-the-job training through a Cooperative Work Experience. The goal is to ensure all graduates from TBCC have quality, hands-on experience and to help employers create pipelines of potential and future workforce that they can start building a relationship with.
To learn more about the college’s CTE programs, follow TBCC’s Facebook and Instagram accounts during the month of February or visit tillamookbaycc.edu.