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Hillsboro schools net grant to expand technical education

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Century High Schools technology teacher Tim Morley will oversee the expansion of the schools tech lab into the Hillsboro Manufacturing Training and Learning Center after receiving a $385,000 grant.Hillsboro School District is one of 25 school districts in Oregon that received Career Technical Education Revitalization grants — totaling $9 million — from the state this month.

The $385,000 grant will allow the school district to offer career technical training and programming to more than 7,000 students at what will become the Hillsboro Manufacturing Training and Learning Center at Century High School.

Tim Morley, technology teacher at Century High School, will oversee the expansion of the school’s manufacturing program into what he envisions as community partnership program linking “core academic work with simulated real-world manufacturing learning and training,” according to the grant proposal.

“It is Hillsboro School District’s hope that the Center serves as a model that can be replicated across Oregon,” the proposal reads.

The training center will provide access to students from all of Hillsboro’s high schools, Century’s feeder elementary and middle schools, as well as other students across Washington County.

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD -  Century Highs technology lab will soon get a facelift with funds from a recent $385,000 Career Technical Education grant.The district has committed to provide transportation and align schedules so that all high school students in the district have access to the center. Additionally, HSD’s hope to increase the number of students of color served within the program, specifically “recruiting, supporting and retaining the significant Hispanic/Latino student population, female students, and students in alternative education programs,” the grant proposal says.

The grant partners with Banks School District and Worksystems, Inc., “to provide access to underserved students in Hillsboro, Banks, Tigard-Tualatin, and Beaverton alternative education programs” through classes and Saturday workshops, according to the grant application.

The district will also collaborate with Portland Community College to increase the number of students able to earn dual credit at PCC by taking classes at the center. Morley estimates an increase from the current 200 students to 430 earning dual credit in the future.

Century’s program currently has 11 state-of-the art machines — from 3-D printers to vinyl cutters to computer-controlled milling machines. The grant will help fund additional machines as well as a part-time manufacturing center assistant.HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD -  Samples from a 3-D printer fill Centurys tech lab, where many more students will soon be able to beneift from expanded classes and programs.

The grant is on an 18-month timeline, according to Brooke Nova, the district’s Career and College Pathways coordinator.

“Our CTE Revitalization grant is a unique opportunity for multiple audiences to gain hands-on experience in a collaborative setting using industry-standard equipment, while earning dual credit and career-related learning experience sponsored by our community partners,” Nova said.

Worksystems, Inc. will fund 15 paid summer internships and an additional 40 unpaid 15-hour internships will be available in 2016-17.

“It has been amazing and rewarding to see how engaged students become in their learning when they are using actual industry equipment and learning real-world skills,” Morley said. “I am excited to expand our manufacturing and design center and provide that opportunity to many more students in our district and beyond.”HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Samples from a 3-D printer fill Centurys tech lab, where many more students will soon be able to beneift from expanded classes and programs.

“A skilled workforce is the foundation of a healthy economy,” state Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian said last week, while presenting the grants with Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Salam Noor.

The grants will serve diverse communities around the state with programs focused on advanced manufacturing, engineering, agricultural science, app development, robotics, tourism, forestry, home renovation and health care.

Locally, Beaverton, Gaston, Yamhill-Carlton and Tigard-Tualatin school districts also received grants ranging from $222,000 to $385,000.

The CTE Revitalization Grant program was established in 2011 as a way to strengthen existing programs of study and create new ones in an effort to meet workforce needs, support students’ achievement of the Oregon diploma, and address the needs of historically underserved students.

In July 2015, Gov. Kate Brown authorized Oregon Department of Education to spend $9 million for the continuation of the program.

According to the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, graduation rates for students in CTE programs are near 90 percent.

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