Recipients of Education for Job Readiness Pathway to Work Grants announced

April 20, 2017, Roseburg, Oregon: The Ford Family Foundation has announced the eight organizations that will receive funding through its Education for Job Readiness Pathway to Work Grant in 2017. The Pathway to Work grants support proven and promising projects that help prepare rural residents to meet local workforce demands. The awards average $95,500 over the course of the projects (up to two years). The recipients and the areas they serve are:

  • Ant Farm, NE Clackamas County
  • Baker Technical Institute, Baker, Union and Wallowa Counties
  • Better Together Central Oregon, Jefferson County
  • Coquille School District, Coos County
  • College Dreams, Inc., Josephine, Jackson and Douglas Counties
  • Lane Education Service District, Lane County rural districts
  • Lincoln County School District, Lincoln County
  • Malheur Education Service District, Malheur, Harney and Baker Counties

The Foundation received 43 proposals from across rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. Applicants represented school districts, high schools, community colleges, economic development organizations, workforce investment boards and community-based organizations. In making the selections, the Foundation looked at the strength of the partnerships supporting the projects, including secondary, postsecondary, workforce and industry partners.

Funded projects included Better Together Central Oregon, which is using strong partnerships across all sectors to create intensive internships for students in Jefferson County, with rigorous follow up and training for both students and employers; Lane ESD, which is leveraging already strong partnerships between K-12, industry and postsecondary to expand a successful program to develop computer science competencies in teachers and students in their rural districts; and Baker Technical Institute, which has worked with local industry to identify a long-term need for skilled heavy machine operators, creating a pathway to certification both for high school students and adults.

“We were pleased by the variety and creativity of the proposals, leading to a very difficult decision-making process,” said Anne Kubisch, president of The Ford Family Foundation.

In addition to supporting rural programs that lead to employability for young people, the Education for Job Readiness program seeks to learn more about innovative education and workforce development partnerships in Oregon and Siskiyou County.

"We want to refine the Education for Job Readiness program’s focus on strategies that go beyond skill building to create employment pathways leading to high-wage, skilled jobs with a clear connection to postsecondary programs and certificates," said Denise Callahan, director for postsecondary success at The Ford Family Foundation.

“A four-year college degree is not the only path to employment following high school," Callahan said. "Many students find success with technical training, apprenticeships, job skills programs and community college degrees. In rural communities, strong partnerships across sectors are crucial to creating paths of opportunity for students."

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