Intent on local careers
UCC to host its first-ever CTE Signing Day
The increasing value placed on Career and Technical Education programs will take center stage this month as Umpqua Community College joins schools around the country to mark CTE Signing Day.
UCC’s first-ever National Career and Technical Education Signing Day will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Danny Lang Teaching, Learning and Event Center on the main UCC campus. New students will be invited to sign a letter of intent to attend UCC for the 2019-20 school year and will be showcased during the live-streamed, nationwide signing event.
This event is designed to honor students who are entering a technical field and to emphasize the college’s commitment to help them gain the skills necessary to compete in high-wage, high-demand occupations.
“Technical education training prepares students for strong careers,” said Jason Aase, UCC’s dean of Career and Technical Education. “These careers pay very well, and are often not possible to enter directly out of high school without some level of college education or training. By signing our incoming students to Letters of Intent, we are telling them that UCC has reserved a place for them and we want them here.”
Sponsored by the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), the event mirrors the NCAA’s National Signing Day for athletes who commit to play sports in college. More than 60 institutions across the country are participating. UCC, which is locally partnering with Douglas Education Service District, is one of four colleges in Oregon that will be hosting signing day events.
Washburn Tech in Topeka, Kansas, held the first CTE Letter of Intent Signing Day in 2014, and the event has grown exponentially ever since. Last year, 50 schools participated, with over 2,500 students signing Letters of Intent. The event falls within CTE Month, a public awareness campaign that takes place each February to celebrate the value of CTE and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country.
In addition to the signings, students and family members will have opportunities to interact with potential future employers and learn more about high-demand jobs in industries including transportation, apprenticeships, engineering, manufacturing, welding and more.
“Industry leaders are excited about this opportunity because it validates students and provides an opportunity for industry representatives to meet these future workers,” said Roger Tadajewski, NC3’s executive director.
The “Grow our own” movement to develop Douglas County’s workforce by preparing students for careers in local industry has taken on greater urgency in recent years. Many industries face impending worker shortages due to retirements and struggle even now to find qualified job applicants.
“These careers are vital to our local and national economy,” said Gwen Soderberg-Chase, director of Douglas County Partners for Student Success and the Umpqua Valley STEAM Hub. “Events like CTE Signing Day, as well as an expansion in programming in K-12, shows students that these careers are highly valued and worth pursuing.”