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Four new CTE programs introduced at Chemeketa

A student works on a car in one of Chemeketa’s current CTE programs. Photo by Caleb Wolf

By Cecelia Love-Zhou

As if the already extensive 93 fields in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program weren’t enough, Chemeketa will be introducing four more programs throughout this upcoming year due to a growing demand in the job industry.

Anesthesia Technology, Cybersecurity, Diesel Technology and Multimedia Arts are all slowly being integrated into Chemeketa’s vast selection of programs in which students can get hands-on experience in specific areas of technical education. All four of these programs have come to Chemeketa since local employers are falling short on people who can fill empty spaces.

“Anesthesiology Tech came from a request from all the anesthesiologists that work for Salem Health saying that we need this technician to help us turn the operating rooms over quicker,” said Johnny Mack, Executive Dean of Career and Technical Education at Chemeketa. “We have added and deleted different CTE programs throughout the years based on community needs, employer needs and things like that,” he said.

The demand for cybersecurity jobs has also become high due to the increasing danger of internet hackers. “[For example,] during the presidential election when [there were speculations] about the Russians hacking in and trying to sway the vote. And you [also] see different people, like, hacking into Target or Wells Fargo. So it’s become a huge need for businesses of all types and public entities,” said Mack.

“[With] Diesel Technology we put together an employer forum and there’s a shortage of diesel mechanics both for semi trucks that drive on roads and stuff, but also agricultural equipment,” he continued.

Mack described Multimedia Arts as covering things such as animation and visual communication.

Some CTE students, such as those in the Welding Program, begin to get job offers in their field of study very quickly.

“They’re all getting jobs before they graduate, because there’s such a need and demand out there,” Mack said.

Many students will be making anywhere from $28-96,000 on average in their field.

“Welding [starts] out at $43,000 but a lot of them will be up making $80,000 in 2-3 years,” he said.

These new programs can be completed in anywhere under a full year to the full two years, so they are very useful to students who don’t necessarily want to transfer to a four year university.

“Somebody could come to school here for less than one year, one year or two years and leave and get a really well paying, family waged job in our communities,” said Mack.

Not only does CTE provide a clear pathway to a career but it is a great opportunity for students to get the first hand experience they need before entering their field.

“I feel it provides a faster way to learn techniques and skills that you will need for the career you’re headed towards, and it gives you real life scenarios to practice with,” said Paige Baker, a first-year student enrolled in the Dental Hygiene Program.

“I think it’s very, very attractive to a lot of students that like the hands-on practical approach portion versus sitting in a traditional classroom,” said Mack.

The programs offered at Chemeketa are also fairly affordable for students who decide to choose this educational path.

“I think one of the reasons it’s beneficial is a lot of students can come here and go to school for that year or two years and leave without having to take student loans, even though they pay the other fees,” said Mack.

Students can pay as much as $3,500 in program-specific fees, but in the long run they are also able to avoid going into debt because of student loans.

Since the CTE program also connects with other businesses, Chemeketa is consistently getting donations which can help reduce the overall price students are paying.

“Donations are really a huge part of the CTE programs,” said Mack. “For example, our Fire Science Program has fire engines that have been donated that are worth $25-50,000 each. They also have turnouts, the fire protective clothing. They get those things donated. Garmin [a technology company that produces GPS devices and other wearable technology] donates about $100,000 a year of equipment to our electronics program…[The] Paramedic and Nursing [Programs] get expired needles donated, and then they can use them on the mannequins. A needle is three dollars apiece, and it all adds up.”

The Career and Technical Education programs offered at Chemeketa provide students with many opportunities to find a job that can suit them.

“You never know what doors are going to open up for you. I think there’s a lot of advancement potential for people that want it no matter what CTE field they choose to go into,” Mack said.

Anesthesia Technology will start Winter Quarter. Cybersecurity and Multimedia Art courses are available currently.


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