Not all graduating high school seniors advance to a four-year academic college degree program.
That should be — to borrow a quote from a long-ago author — a truth that is universally acknowledged.
Oddly, despite the horrendous cost of college educations, we are not all at that point yet.
It is pleasing to note, however, that programs that encourage career and technical education (CTE) opportunities are increasing. One such, featured last week in The Daily Astorian, is Clatsop Works, a new summer internship program offering North Coast students an introduction to the workforce.
Interns from Astoria, Warrenton and Knappa high schools, along with Clatsop Community College, are working full-time jobs around the county. Among those providing places include our two Clatsop County hospitals, a couple of car dealerships and construction firms, plus Englund Marine and Hampton Lumber.
For some time now, Hampton managers, particularly, have shown enthusiasm for expanding career-technical courses at Astoria High School. It is one of the better-paying local employers and its internships expose students to an environment where safety and work habits are just as important as the lumberyard tasks undertaken.
Clatsop Works allows students to spend a day each week in professional development workshops learning customer service, safety, communication and other skills.
The program provides a small injection into the regional economy, but more importantly teaches job skills that make potential job applicants more employable, like reliability, punctuality, accountability and trustworthiness. Call us old-fashioned if you like, but those traits are desirable in any level or type of employee, whether a graphic designer, a delivery driver, or a sales assistant in a cannabis store.
There are just 16 students in the internship program this summer, but Kevin Leahy, director of Clatsop Economic Development Resources, wants to expand next year to 24. We hope that happens to broaden the benefits of the concept.
Clatsop Works is so highly regarded by the Northwest Regional Education Service District that its leaders, seeking to expand career-technical learning opportunities, are looking to replicate Clatsop Works’ model in neighboring Columbia and Tillamook counties in the next couple of years. That reflects credit on Leahy and his colleague, Anna Stamper, who oversees the program.
The good folks who have built the stellar seamanship program at Tongue Point have known since Day 1 that formats which offer hands-on skills training while teaching students to be a solid employee are what’s needed.
Clatsop Works is another commendable step in the right direction.