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Oregon Expands Career Readiness with $7.6 Million Investment in Hands-On Learning for 74 Schools

Seventy-four Oregon high schools — serving more than 36,000 students — have secured career readiness grants totaling $7.629 million, Oregon Department of Education Director Charlene Williams and Labor Commissioner Christina Stephenson announced today.    

The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Revitalization Grant funds from the State of Oregon will serve diverse communities around the state, with programs focused on advanced manufacturing, agricultural science, business, computer science, construction, cosmetology, engineering, firefighting, health sciences, hospitality, media, and natural resources. 

In total, the 31 grants help to create or expand CTE programs focused on high-wage, high-skill, and in-demand fields such as healthcare, manufacturing, and construction. These programs provide valuable access to experience, expertise, and additional forms of support to the communities they serve and give students relevant education and preparation for career and postsecondary learning experiences.   

“As the class of 2023 graduation rates indicate, CTE moves the needle on student success,” Williams said. “CTE keeps students excited about both their school day and their future. These classes build a life-changing bridge between the school experience and high-quality, well-paid careers in fields ranging from accounting and astrophysics to welding and zoology.” 

Students who pass CTE courses graduate at higher rates when compared to the general student population. According to the most recent data for the Class of 2023, CTE concentrators (across all student populations) graduated at a 95.0% rate, 13.7 percentage points higher than the state as a whole. 

In 2011, the Oregon Legislature established a competitive grant program entitled the CTE Revitalization Grant which strengthens the alignment of Career and Technical Education, workforce development, and economic development. In July 2015, Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill (HB) 3072 and HB 5016, authorizing $9.0 million for the Oregon Department of Education to continue the CTE Revitalization Grant program. During the 2023 legislative session, $7.629 million was allocated for CTE Revitalization. 

The CTE Revitalization Grant Advisory Committee – comprising representatives from organized labor, trade organizations, education, and Oregon’s business, labor, industry, and trades communities — reviewed 66 applications totaling $16 million in requests. The committee prioritized applications based on geographic diversity, community partnerships, and programs that lead to high-wage, in-demand occupations, especially for historically and currently marginalized students. 

“We’ve witnessed a remarkable transformation that transcends statistics and elevates lives through CTE,” Stephenson said. “The graduation rates among participants of these CTE programs not only surpass state averages but also symbolize the power of equitable investment in education. This isn’t just about closing achievement gaps; it’s about dismantling barriers and ensuring that every Oregon youth, regardless of background, has access to the opportunities that CTE provides.” 

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) jointly appoint the Career and Technical Education Revitalization Grant Advisory Committee. Additional information on grant criteria and additional summaries of the projects selected for this round of funding can be found on the CTE Revitalization Grant web page. 

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