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Bus to Home Project in Full Swing at Armadillo Technical Institute

By News

Piper Tamler is no stranger to getting her hands dirty when it comes to projects.  As the Lead Builder of the bus project at Armadillo Technical Institute, Piper and the students at ATI are transforming a school bus into a home for a houseless family in the Phoenix-Talent School District. Piper is working with Talent Maker City, Southern Oregon ESD, the Skoolie Home Foundation, South Medford High school CTE teacher Justin Eager and many other community partners to build this bus into a home.

On September 8, 2020, the Almeda fire started near Ashland and burned a destructive path through Talent and Phoenix Oregon.  The fire left many homes and businesses in piles of ash and debris.  Families were displaced and many still do not have permanent residences.  There are signs of reconstruction but with the lack of tradespeople to fill construction jobs, the progress is slow.  That is where specialized training programs are stepping up to help fill the gap.

The Bus Project was developed through the collaboration of community and industry partners to “ignite” student interest in the construction trades by providing hands-on opportunities that build awareness, encourage exploration, and engage through real-world experiences that dovetail with regional pathways in high-wage, high demand fields.

The Skoolie Home Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing housing for families, donated the bus currently being transformed at ATI.  Students at ATI spent the last few months renovating the bus with plumbing, electrical, HVAC, cabinetry, and the standard creature comforts needed to help families back on their feet.  The design and layout are part of the curriculum developed by Talent Maker City. As part of the design process, students created a 3D model of the bus out of cardboard.  “We kind of came to it organically by looking at the space and having the students design it themselves” says Piper.  “The soft deadline for the bulk of the project is by Thanksgiving with the rest of the finish work going through the end of the year.

There are currently three bus projects taking place in Southern Oregon with several more beginning in 2022.

More exciting news and information about this and other IGNITE projects are coming soon!  Please follow us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/soesd.ignite, or visit our website at: https://www.soesd.k12.or.us/ignite/, to stay up to date on this and other IGNITE projects.

Bus Project Begins at Rogue Valley Trades Training Center

By News

by Chris Howard and Emily Coleman SOESD

“That is a huge bus!” says Shawn Wonnacott, Trades Career Coach at the Rogue Valley Trades Training Center (Equus Workforce Solutions), as he and Tabitha Carlson watch as the bus driver maneuvers his way down 5th St, around the block, and into the back alley.  “I sure hope it will fit in our yard.”

The 40-foot bus is one of many donated school buses in Jackson and Josephine Counties that will undergo a complete transformation into a home-on-wheels for a local family in need.  Ashland School District 5 Transportation Director Stacey Cheshire has been instrumental in providing the buses to project partners.

The Bus Project was developed through the collaboration of community partners and industry to ignite student interest in the construction trades by providing hands-on opportunities that build awareness, encourage exploration, and engage through real-world experiences that dovetail with regional pathways in high-wage, high demand fields.

Shawn first decided to get involved with the Bus Project after attending a job fair at South Medford High School.  After attending multiple meetings, it was easy for him to see the opportunity and benefits.  Located in Grants Pass, The Rogue Valley Training Center receives a lot of local support from multiple partners including Project Youth Plus, who sends many students his way.  Shawn will be reaching out to local industry businesses in Grants Pass with hopes to get donations of materials.

The program at the Rogue Valley Training Center offers many modalities of the construction trades and prepares students for the exams and certifications.  “Everybody wants to be and Electrician,” says Shawn, “That is the most competitive trade and requires the most skillset.  We do prepare our students to go in that direction, but they have to score platinum across the board on their NCRC.  That is the minimum requirement to get into the Union.”

When the next cohort of students start on the 29th of November, they will have the task of gutting the interior of the bus in preparation for the remodel.  This will require, construction, fabrication, plumbing, electrical and HVAC skills all taught at the training center.  Utilizing a pre-designed layout, the students will have the opportunity to “Earn while you learn,” while providing a much-needed service for homeless families.  According to Shawn Wonnacott, this project is going to take 4 to 5, eight-week sessions to complete.  “We are super excited!” says Shawn.

Students can enter the program at age 17 but cannot step foot on a Jobsite until they are 18 due to Oregon labor laws however, this program allows for students of all ages to explore the different modalities and learn the skillsets to advance in their chosen trade.

More exciting news and information about this and other IGNITE projects are coming soon!  Please follow us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/soesd.ignite, or visit our website at: https://www.soesd.k12.or.us/ignite/, to stay up to date on this and other IGNITE projects.

KCC Construction Apprenticeship Program Moves Forward

By News, Career and Technical Education

by Chris Howard SOESD IGNITE Coordinator

Klamath Community College is moving forward on a new Construction Apprenticeship program.  A groundbreaking ceremony was held on November 10th for the construction of a new Apprenticeship Center at the KCC campus.  Multiple Community partners and Leaders were involved in the ceremony.

The SOESD is supporting the program through the IGNITE Grant to match funds for the purchase of tools and equipment.  Recently, A 12-foot Cargo trailer was purchased by KCC that will haul tools and equipment from jobsite to jobsite.  KCC is in the process of purchasing the tools and equipment that will allow students to operate in the field as an actual construction crew, creating a “real-life” mobile classroom.

“This is a unique opportunity” says Jessie Dubose of SOESD.  “What sets this program apart from other Pre-Apprenticeship programs is each enrolled student will begin to apprentice in high school and once graduated, they will have earned credits toward the program.”  Additionally, enrolled students earn apprenticeship hours towards their journeyman license with on-the-job training while attending classes at KCC.  This is the first ever BOLI (Bureau of Labor and Industries) approved apprenticeship program in Oregon where secondary students have access to apprenticeship opportunities!

More exciting news and information about this and other IGNITE projects are coming soon!  Please follow us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/soesd.ignite, or visit our website at: https://www.soesd.k12.or.us/ignite/, to stay up to date on this and other IGNITE projects.

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