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Oregon GEAR UP is profiled in the latest issue of Community Vitality (see pages 10-11), a publication of the Ford Institute of Community Building.
"We have a chicken-and-egg situation in rural communities: In order to grow local and attract outside businesses, we need a qualified workforce, but without local jobs, it’s hard to retain workers who flee to more populated areas," says John Amoroso, program officer for The Ford Family Foundation. "I believe the solution lies in providing opportunities and access to training beyond high school for local students, while working with businesses to come up with programs that meet their needs locally.
The first group of students doesn’t start graduating until June 2014, but results are already encouraging. “We are changing the culture of academic performance and increasing the number of students who have an expectation of going on after high school,” Carnahan says. “We are seeing test scores increasing, and already high graduation rates are even higher.”