Washougal employers, educators prepare future workforce
Washougal area employers, business leaders and educators came together for an evening of collaboration on Oct. 25, at Washougal High School, to help the Washougal School District Career and Technical Education (CTE) department leverage existing school programs to prepare the future workforce.
“Businesses are asking us for skilled workers,” the school district’s CTE director, Margaret Rice, said. “We want them to understand the current work being done and the programs offered here to prepare our students for their post-secondary education and careers. An important step in this process is to create meaningful standards that, once met, demonstrate to potential employers that this student has learned the skills needed to be successful in a specific industry.”
Keynote speaker Brock Smith, from Precision Exams and Industry Engaged, explained to the nearly 50 attendees that standards are the common language between industry and schools to help quantify the education experience for employers.
“We need industry to be involved and help to set these standards to assist in shaping curriculum and prepare students to be the future workforce,” he said.
According to Smith, the ability to connect industry and education with a tool to review and give input on standards will result in teachers teaching and students learning the skills employers look for when making hiring decisions.
“When businesses dedicate time to review education standards in subjects their future workers are learning, it benefits more than just their business; it helps our local economy, is a tremendous help for educators and is a great advantage for students,” he said.
Educators want to help students understand real-world applications for the skills they are learning in school, Rice said.
“Helping a student discover an aptitude and area of interest early in their education provides greater purpose, empowers them, builds confidence and brings meaning to learning,” she explained. “It answers the question every student has, ‘When am I ever going to use this?’ because they apply their learning in a practical way that links to their career pathway which keeps them more engaged.”
Rice is working with her teachers to expand the school district’s local partnerships to gain insight into the needs of industry. One way they are doing this is through their Program Advisory Committees. These committees focus on providing direction, help to set and achieve goals, and assist in accessing resources to support students within specific program areas in the CTE Department.
“We have found that the key to developing the future workforce is connecting employers with the right students and job candidates early in their educational process,” Rice said. “We also want employers to see the validity of these certifications and give students who have met the standards they have helped develop an opportunity to show them what they know maybe through a professional interview or internship.”
To learn more, or to become involved in the engagement process asked of local employers, visit industryengaged.org. Want to get involved in Washougal’s CTE initiatives or have questions? Call Rice at 360-954-3121 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Washougal musicians to play with Honor Band
A variety of Washougal middle school musicians will play with the North County Middle School Honor Band in February 2019.
Jemtegaard Middle School students who earned a spot in the prestigious youth band include eighth-graders Zoe Hill, bass clarinet; Jessica Nute, alto sax; Emanuel Picho, tuba; and Stella VanHorn, percussion. Canyon Creek Middle School (CCMS) students selected were eighth-graders Tanner Hopkins, oboe; Carson Holmes, clarinet; Grae Hereford, trumpet; Alex Holden, baritone; and Nolan Johnson, clarinet.
Students were required to fill out an application describing musical goals and accomplishments to be considered for selection into the honor band. Recommendations from their band instructors were also considered in the process.
Nute said she is excited to be selected and looks forward to meeting new people with a common interest in band and music.
“It will be fun to play with a group who strives for a high skill level and for a well-known conductor,” she added. “It sort of feels like being on a team sport, with everyone working together.”
Selected students will perform with the best student musicians from throughout North Clark County, receive instruction from collegiate-level conductors and perform more complex and difficult music.
“This is a great opportunity for students from smaller programs to play in a large ensemble that has full instrumentation,” said Lora Brandt, CCMS band and choir instructor. “These students are very deserving of this chance and will represent CCMS and Washougal well. They will remember this experience for many years to come.”
The Honor Band will practice as a group only twice, with their efforts culminating in a free performance for family and friends on Saturday, Feb. 2, at Hockinson High School.
Information provided by Rene Carroll, for the Washougal School District