Central Oregon Education & Business Leaders Partner to Build a Future Workforce

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Local leaders formalize partnership to align education and training pathways and improve employment outcomes for youth.

Better Together has brought education and business leaders together throughout Central Oregon to help students prepare for careers. The initiative is called Education@Work, and the partnership includes the High Desert Education Service District, Redmond School District, Central Oregon Community College, Redmond Economic Development, Inc. and, Oregon Institute of Technology. A formal memorandum of agreement (MOU) has been signed by all parties to solidify the group’s action plan, which meets regularly to develop joint programs and strategies to engage students and build community support around workforce development.

According to Katie Condit, Executive Director of Better Together, the group is working to expand intern and mentor opportunities beginning in Redmond, growing Career and Technical Education programs and participation as well as garnering additional support and resources.

“Our major focuses this year are bridging gaps and bringing people together to improve student outcomes,” said John Rexford, superintendent of the HDESD. “Partnering with local business leaders is a huge step in the right direction in terms of getting our students ready for the workforce.”

“Businesses in the area can’t grow without the right workforce talent. Central Oregon youth can’t enter into meaningful careers without the job experience necessary to get them there. The partnership between business and schools is a natural fit here in Central Oregon,” said Jon Stark, Senior Manager of Redmond Economic Development, Inc.

The MOU (link to MOU on HDESD website), which was signed this summer, defines each partner’s role in promoting and supporting academic and career success for Central Oregon students. Redmond School District will focus on CTE programs while Central Oregon Community College will provide support through its Manufacturing and Applied Technology Center, Entrepreneurial Excellence and Development Center, and Small Business Development Center. Redmond Economic Development, Inc. will help with outreach and industry data with Oregon Institute of Technology working to enhance CTE programming, internships and mentorship opportunities. HDESD will provide a region-wide advocacy role for CTE programs as well as teacher training and collaboration, all through the facilitation of Better Together.

For more information on Education@Work, contact Katie Condit at (541) 647-8476.

Better Together Central Oregon is a regional, cross-sector partnership working to align existing and emerging efforts to maximize successful outcomes for youth from cradle to career. It is a partnership developed to increase the number of students graduating from high school, continuing their education and training after high school, and ultimately beginning work in a career they find meaningful. We are coming together because no one institution, organization, school or family can do this alone.

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