Legislature Funds Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Center in E. Oregon

State Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner) watches a student use simulator equipment at the Hermiston High School Career Day on Wednesday, March 30. (Photo courtesy of HSD)

The Hermiston School District got an investment from the Oregon Legislature in a local Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Center in Eastern Oregon to support a wide range of trade craft opportunities for students.

The $1.5 million general fund capital construction appropriation from State Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner) during the 2022 Legislative Session will create a bridge between the current career technical education (CTE) offerings and BOLI certified pre-apprenticeship programs.

“Investing in CTE programs makes sure all students have a pathway to a career or further education following their K-12 education,” said Hermiston School District Superintendent Dr. Tricia Mooney. “Rep. Greg Smith has been a vocal advocate for these programs in the district and we’re thrilled to be able to add new opportunities for students.”

 The Hermiston School District has been regarded as a leader in innovating CTE programs for K-12 students, and the center will expand opportunities for students in western Umatilla County and Morrow County.

“Providing pre-apprenticeship training allows high school students to try out skills and trades to figure out what they like and then find a tangible pipeline from their education directly into careers with family-wage salaries and opportunity for growth,” said Rep. Greg Smith.

Mooney will work with Smith to establish an advisory committee to oversee the construction of the center, as well as an advisory committee that ensures the program meets the needs of the local and regional workforce.

“What’s important is that people have the ability to train and work in their communities,” said Jim Anderson, business manager for Operating Engineers Local 701. “It’s the people who are able to work close to home who become the football coaches and den leaders, because they have the time available to give back to their communities.”