By Dr. Ross Tomlin, TBCC President
February is National Career-Technical Education (CTE) month. In Oregon, the Oregon Community College Association (OCCA) works with the 17 community colleges to promote and highlight all the great work being done across the state to train and prepare Oregonians for the state’s workforce and industries with high-paying jobs. We will highlight different fields and areas of study each Wednesday at noon on Zoom, encouraging all of our legislators to view how our community colleges meet the high need for trained workers in many different areas. TBCC will be one of the colleges highlighted in the Feb 15 segment that focuses on our welding program.
CTE is one of the three major focus areas at our community colleges, along with transfer to universities and community education opportunities. TBCC has been focusing on growing our CTE programs over the past six years and will continue to do so into the future. We want to offer more opportunities for Tillamook County citizens to find rewarding careers in many different fields that provide family-wage jobs with the ability for advancement. We currently offer CTE programs in business, criminal justice, manufacturing and industrial technology, welding technology, agricultural technology, truck driving (non-credit), and a growing number of healthcare-related fields. These include a basic healthcare certificate, EMS (paramedic program coming in fall 2024), phlebotomy, medical assistant, CNA, and nursing (will be starting our own RN nursing program next fall). As we get close to opening our new Healthcare Education Building, hopefully in the spring of 2025, we will be exploring more healthcare-related programs that highly need trained workers in Tillamook County.
We are also working to grow our apprenticeship programs. These include limited maintenance electrician, inside electrician, industrial maintenance millwright, and industrial plant technician. We are currently working with O’Brien Construction to develop a new apprenticeship program in Carpentry and Interior Finish, along with possibly one soon in marine and platform construction. Our new CTE Dean, Sherry Cook, is working hard to build relationships with industries and companies throughout Tillamook County to find additional ways we can provide trained workers to meet their growing needs.
Another area we are exploring for a new CTE program is early childhood education. This would be a credential program certificate in child development to help meet the large need for childcare workers that we have in Tillamook County.
We are also working closely with the high schools in Tillamook County to provide a more seamless transfer from high school CTE classes to TBCC CTE programs so students can save time and money by receiving college credits while in high school that counts directly toward a CTE degree or certificate at TBCC. This provides a pathway from high school to college to the workforce for students to obtain the skills needed to get a good-paying position in as little time as possible after high school.
We are very excited at TBCC to be growing more CTE programs and opportunities for our students, and we will continue to do so into the future. If you have any questions or interest in these programs, please do come over to TBCC and talk to our Student Success Coaches who can provide all the information needed to get started in a program.