Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Local news: timber, child care, and trade skills

Our local news stories for the day cast a wide net in terms of workforce topics and areas of the state.

In Southern Oregon:
A new timber sale is boosting business for several Southern Oregon companies that are hoping it will kick start their industry. The sale from the U.S. Forest Service includes multiple types of products: salvage logging, biomass, and green timber. The timber from the Shasta-Trinity National Forest is keeping trucking and lumber companies busy. Rough and Ready, a local lumber company, says this could be the first step in cooperation between government and private logging markets to revitalize the industry.

Get more details (and a video!) in the full story at

In Eastern Oregon:
Parents seeking a day care provider for their children may have difficulty finding child care. According to Jean Johnson of Child Care Resource and Referral, the lack of licensed quality child care is nearing a crisis level in Malheur County. Other organizations express concern too. "We want to know if they [who look for child care but can't find it] are leaving children with family or declining work. People work better when they know [their children] are in a safe and secure environment."

Other issues raise concern as well, including difficulty finding care for children under the age of two, and finding a provider during work shifts in nontraditional business hours.

For more details, check out the Argus Observer article.

And in the Willamette Valley:
Electricians, mechanics, and workers in other skilled trades are nearing retirement age. Educators, legislators, labor officials, and students concerned about a lack of young people preparing for these occupations met at Corvallis High School on Wednesday. Their discussion focused on ways to bring trades education back into public middle schools and high schools.

In the past decade or so, public school districts have cut their career and technical education (CTE) programs, which traditionally taught industrial arts. The Corvallis School District has instead expanded its CTE programs. Students participate in pre-apprenticeship programs to learn a variety of skills including: concrete work, computer drafting, sustainable construction, and electronics.

One state legislator plans to introduce a bill this session that, if passed, would help restore CTE programs to other school districts.

The Gazette-Times has more information in the full story.

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