Your Workforce Is Waiting for You

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By Julie Niles-Fry
Director of Career Development & Marketing, Logos Public Charter School.

The 2018-2019 Oregon high school graduation rates were just released and the average across the state now 80%. While everyone wants 100%, reaching 80% has never been achieved in the state and is cause for celebration. A deep dive into the data will tell you many things about students; gender, ethnicity, economic status, among others. What inspires me are two pieces of data that tell a story of what the student did in high school, the Career Technical Education (CTE) and Talented and Gifted (TAG) stats. This is the data that is relevant to businesses: Students who study in CTE graduate in the 90th percentile like TAG students.
Businesses who don’t need future university graduates can now cheer; your workforce not only exists but you’ll find them to be smart and savvy. So, don’t delay, your workforce is waiting for you!
It’s time to offer job shadows and internships to high school students. It’s not only the “high-flyers” that engage in these activities. In fact, high schools now require career engagement with business and industry to graduate. Begin to imagine the day when people are knocking on your door to work for you, instead of desperately placing help-wanted ads and poaching employees from other businesses. Yes, fresh talent exists, but they need a little help from you who has eyes wide open to possibility.
What to do?

  1. Join the Rogue Valley Business Education Partnership. This group is comprised of Southern Oregon high school administration and career coordinators, business owners, and workforce development organizations like SOREDI and WorkSource Rogue Valley. They have launched a summer internship program for students across the region. Contact Amy Browne at SOREDI, 541.773.8946 or Michele Laird at Quantum Innovations, 541.608.7772.
  2. Contact Youth Pathways Partnership to create internships with high school students throughout the year. Gene Merrill from Illinois Valley High School created it and works with BOLI at the state level to jump the hurdle of traditional requirements. Yes, those under 18 can engage in your workplace, even if there are mighty machines there! Check out their website at
  3. Reach out to the Career Coordinators at your local high school and tell them what you need. Because education and business don’t speak the same language, schools are wondering how best to connect with you. Reach out!
  4. Call me and I’ll help you create a program utilizing Youth Pathways Partnership’s BOLI approved plan. Julie Niles-Fry, 541.282.4795.
    Bottom line: If you own a business, and you are planning on staying in business, your workforce is graduating from high school at a high rate. They’re not all bound for university, many are graduating high school with industry certifications, and career technical education is inspiring smart, savvy, and often bored students to graduate. Act now to get students into internships to experience your business. Help them graduate – with a career.

Julie Niles-Fry
Director of Career Development & Marketing, Logos Public Charter School. On-air KOOL 103.5/100.7/104.3FM
Rogue River, Oregon
An enthusiastic professional that successfully employs creativity and insight, customer service and people skills, marketing, and sales abilities to any development project.
Southern Oregon Trade Careers Expo 2019

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