Unique educational opportunities

New programs at Skills Center appeal to a variety of students

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The Clark County Skills Center, located at 12200 N.E. 28th St., in Vancouver, began in 1983 as a cooperative educational venture between eight Southwest Washington School Districts, including Camas and Washougal. The goal was to create a school, in partnership with business, to prepare students for the work force by offering them the opportunity to be trained in technical career areas too expensive for a single district to fund.

Programs currently offered include:

o Academics

o Applied Medical Sciences

o Automotive Technology

o Aviation Technology

o Construction Technology

o Cosmetology

o Criminal Justice

o Dental Assisting

o Diesel Technology

o Fashion Merchandising Mgmt.

o Fire Science

o Homeland Security

o Information Technology

o Legal/Medical Office Apps

o Pre-Engineering Technology

o Restaurant Management

o Travel and Hotel Mgmt.

o Work-Based Learning

For more information, visit www.ccskillscenter.com, or call 604-1050.

Source: www.ccskillscenter.com

The Clark County Skills Center, located at 12200 N.E. 28th St., in Vancouver, began in 1983 as a cooperative educational venture between eight Southwest Washington School Districts, including Camas and Washougal. The goal was to create a school, in partnership with business, to prepare students for the work force by offering them the opportunity to be trained in technical career areas too expensive for a single district to fund.

Programs currently offered include:

o Academics

o Applied Medical Sciences

o Automotive Technology

o Aviation Technology

o Construction Technology

o Cosmetology

o Criminal Justice

o Dental Assisting

o Diesel Technology

o Fashion Merchandising Mgmt.

o Fire Science

o Homeland Security

o Information Technology

o Legal/Medical Office Apps

o Pre-Engineering Technology

o Restaurant Management

o Travel and Hotel Mgmt.

o Work-Based Learning

For more information, visit www.ccskillscenter.com, or call 604-1050.

Source: www.ccskillscenter.com

Ryan Burden has always dreamed of becoming a pilot.

That’s why the new, cutting-edge aviation technology program at the Clark County Skills Center appeals to him.

“This prepares you for the real world,” said the Washougal High School senior. “I have learned so much professionally. I feel like I will be ready for a job.”

The only program of its kind in the country, the goal is for students to understand all aspects of a plane, how it functions and complete simulation training. Taught by longtime military flight instructor and past University of Portland aerospace studies assistant professor Rob Reinebach, it is designed to appeal to a variety of career goals. Those students who want to begin working right after high school will have the necessary training and skills to do so, as well as those who want to follow a more traditional college track.

The program is located in a brand-new building, which includes its own airport hanger, providing hands-on opportunities for students to learn more about aviation.

“We hope that they have a clear understanding of career opportunities and have gained enough experience to get entry level jobs when they finish,” said Margaret Rice, Skills Center dean of students. “The certifications that they gain will help them get higher paying jobs right away.”

The Skills Center was launched in 1983 as a cooperative educational venture between eight Southwest Washington school districts, including Camas and Washougal. The vision of those districts was to create a unique school, in partnership with businesses, to prepare students for the workforce by offering them the opportunity to be trained in technical career areas too expensive for a single district to fund. Today, there are more than 1,000 students enrolled in 16 programs.

The aviation program is offering the traditional school-to-work experience, as well as college preparation for those on a university track.

Noted Reinebach, “We have a real variety of students. There are ones who want to start work right out of high school, and we have other students who are college bound and want to be commercial pilots. There are others who want to pursue a two-year college degree in airplane mechanics. It’s a really wide spectrum.”

It is Reinebach’s first time teaching at the high school level, and he noted the energy level of the students is much higher.

“I really enjoy working with the kids,” he said. “Seeing the excitement they have to realize what they can do in the aviation industry is great.”

He counts on volunteers, such as Marlin Martin, of the Pearson Field Education Center, to round out the experience.

“He is just fantastic and it’s part of our efforts to maintain a good working relationship with Pearson,” noted Reinebach.

Breanna DeHart of Washougal, who is home schooled, enrolled in the aviation program to prepare her for the future.

“I will get the skills I may need for being in the aerospace industry,” she said.

In addition to aviation, Skills Center is also offering a homeland security program, one of two in the country available at the high school level.

Additionally, the cosmetology program has moved from an off-site location to a brand new building at the Skills Center. It also includes a salon, which is open to the public for services such as haircuts, color, pedicures, manicures and facials, at greatly reduced prices.

The salon provides a work experience site for the students, with new, state-of-the-art equipment, noted Rice.

“Our goals for this program are similar to the others, in that we want students to have a clear understanding of the variety of careers and occupations available and be able to begin entry-level work after high school, if they desire.”

There are several Camas and Washougal students enrolled in the cosmetology program, which typically has a waiting list. Students who attend must meet high expectations: As seniors, they attend classes and work in the salon from 11:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. four days a week. This is in addition to their regular high school classes.

“We set it up this way so that they can attain enough hours to obtain a Washington state beauty operator’s license,” Rice said. “There’s no trying out this program when the students are seniors. They really need to be dedicated. They get the whole experience here.”

Desi Scheu, a senior at Camas High School, appreciates the opportunity to be creative.

“For me, it is a gateway and opening up a lot of opportunity,” she said. “I want to be a wedding stylist and have my own business someday, in California or somewhere else beautiful.”

Scheu also enjoys the new program location.

“It is a lot nicer here,” she said. “We’re a lot more involved with the community by being on campus now.”

Makayla Hendrix, a senior at CHS, enjoys working with color.

“I love the end result and the looks on people’s faces,” she said.

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