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State, school district and economy leaders work on specialized work training

(KTVL/ Kimberly Kolliner)

Education and more specifically, Career Technical Education, is something Governor Brown says she'll continue to stress this short legislative session.

Community members, like Father & Son Jewelry owner Robert Galas, say they support that and would like to see it taken a step further.

"Kids today when they get out of high school usually go to college because they don't know what to do," said Galas.

He says our education system needs to do a better job at guiding our students.

"It would be nice if there was something that they could facilitate, to have them tested, and say ok you might work out to be better a plumber than waste four years in college," said Galas.

The Medford School District is doing one better than a test, by offering specialized coursework.

"In our two high schools, North and South we have automotive programs at both schools, we have culinary arts at both schools, we have woods at north, we have metal shops at both schools," said Dr. Brian Shumate, the Medford School District Superintendent.

Something Governor Kate Brown told North Medford students, during her trip on the first of the month, she's hoping to expand on so they have a clear path to success.

"My goal for you is that each of you graduates from high school with a plan for your future," said Governor Kate Brown.

Brown and Shumate say other options other specialized training will offer more alternatives to students.

"There's kids that need these types of programs. Number one, it'll enhance their abilities to make a living wage and really be productive in our community. There's also a need in our workforce," said Shumate.

State economists say by 2024, 27,000 career technical jobs will open.

In the rogue valley these truck, healthcare, and automotive jobs will be the fastest growing.

"Right now [trucking is] really our fastest growing job that both has the highest number of projected openings and current job openings, about 55 openings for truck drivers posted here in the Rogue Valley area. But below that a lot of jobs in healthcare,” said Guy Tauer, the Oregon employment regional economist.

And if none of those jobs appeal, Baby Boomer retirement will open up other slots as well.

"Even some occupations that aren't extremely fast growing will have openings because of those replacement needs," said Tauer.

Tauer says as of now there's a skills mismatch between the workforce and what employers are looking for, which is what the Medford School District is hoping to fix with their career technical programs.

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