College is any type of education after high school, including apprenticeships, trade schools and certificate programs. GEAR UP schools help students explore a wide range of postsecondary programs and careers that may not require a 4-year degree.
Apprenticeships combine supervised, paid, on-the-job training with related classroom instruction. In Oregon, apprenticeships are available for a variety of skilled trades including plumbing, solar heating and cooling, and carpentry.
Several GEAR UP schools brought students to the Oregon Tradeswomen's Career Fair. Highlights included using fiber optics to make a night light and trying CAD welding. "The girls thought it was awesome," said Heather Harrison, the GEAR UP Coordinator at Oakridge Junior/Senior High School. "They learned about apprenticeships and had fun being surrounded by strong women."
After finding through survey data that just over half of students felt the school helped them match their interests with careers, Stanfield Secondary School spent a full day dedicated to learning about careers.
In addition to a career fair at the school, every grade toured a local business to learn about some of the region's high-demand careers and the necessary qualifications that may or may not require a B.A. Students in grades 6-12 visited eight local industries including McNary Dam, Pendleton Woolen Mills, Threemile Canyon Farms and the Port of Morrow.
At Riverside Junior/Senior High School in Boardman, students visit a different college campus in each grade, including community colleges, 4-year universities and technical schools. The visits are often paired with a look at related careers, for example, attending Criminal Justice Day at Western Oregon University.
It is a given that we give students as many opportunities to visit colleges to find their best fit.