What Is A Non-Traditional Career?

When you hear "Non-traditional" career, it generally applies to careers your gender (boy or girl) does not "traditionally" go into. For girls these broad areas involve technology, trades such as construction and welding, and public services such as police and fire. For boys the areas involve early childhood education such as elementary school teachers, and healthcare careers in the field of nursing. There are many advantages to non-traditional careers, such as the ability to stand out in a field of applicants, and the fact that non-trad careers often pay exceptionally well!

Follow our blog for more info and to learn more about non-trad career events!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gaston High School Gives Back

Last school year the woods classes at Gaston High School illustrated the amazing positive impact a CTE program can have on its community.

One of the school district's bus drivers had recently fallen on hard financial times. Her kitchen cabinets were falling apart, but as anyone who has renovated a kitchen knows, replacing them was not exactly an affordable endeavor. That's when Gaston High School woods teacher Wade Sims proposed an idea: if she could pay for the raw materials, his class would construct her a full set of beautiful custom cabinets at no extra charge.

Take a look at the jaw-dropping results:

Advanced woods students did most of the actual construction, but students at every level were able to pitch in and help. In the end, a deserving member of the community got a beautiful new kitchen for a fraction of the price, while a group of dedicated students learned a valuable construction trade--not to mention the value of giving back.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Photojournal: The Astroturf Is Always Greener...

This year Banks High School horticulture teacher Tim Eggleston wanted to give his students a special hands-on project to put their skills and knowledge to use. A couple months later his class was putting the finishing touches on three fully functional putting greens.

To get started, everyone in the class submitted a putting green design. The class voted to choose the top 3. The students with the winning designs became the project bosses, guiding small groups of their classmates through the process of bringing their designs to life using wood, astroturf, and trigonometry. Mr. Eggleston wanted the process to mimic a real life construction project as closely as possible--from submitting designs to delegating tasks and negotiating leadership roles.

"It's fun to actually do the hands-on work," says student Garritt Schmidlkofer. "You're not sitting in a chair for an hour and a half and then switching classes and sitting in another chair for an hour and a half. You get to see the results of your work."

"If you're lazy, you're not going to like this class," says 8th grader Alina Boding. "I love using the tools."

Adds Bryton McKinnon: "It's cool to actually be able to build stuff. And also mini golf is my third favorite sport."

Check out Banks High School's budding golf course designers hard at work:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Role Models: Fire Fighter/EMT

One of the best ways to encourage young women to pursue nontraditional careers such as construction, technology, manufacturing, and law enforcement is to introduce them to strong women already succeeding in these fields. With that in mind, we'd like to unveil a new feature here at Do It, Learn It, Live It: Role Models.

Role Models will feature interviews with women and men working in nontraditional fields and a look at the steps they took to get there. First up, Teri Apodaca-Stonebarger, a Yamhill County fire fighter, EMT, and mother of three. She started training at age 42 and is on her way to accomplishing her ultimate goal of working full time as a paramedic (preferably in Hawaii). This is her story.

Name: Teri Apodaca-Stonebarger (pictured above, left)
Age: 47
Job: EMT/Firefighter, Carlton Fire District; EMT Volunteer, McMinnville.

Why were you drawn to this kind of work?
It is fun and exciting and every call and situation is different. I love the medical side of it the most and I knew by joining the fire department as a volunteer I would get my foot in the door and have more access. Fire fighting isn't something I will be able to do for a long time, given my age, but the medical part of it I can do much longer: it is physically demanding but not as much as fire fighting. I am getting my Fire Prevention degree as well as my Paramedic degree so I have something "fire" related to fall back on and a chance for a different career in the same atmosphere.

What does a normal work day look like for you?
General house duties, house cleaning, ambulance/fire engine check, run calls, run calls, run calls, eat, run calls, run calls, run calls, eat, nap, run calls, run calls, rest? McMinnville is very busy--we run anywhere from 15 to 25 emergency medical calls and fire calls in a 24-hour period. We get over 6000 emergency medical calls alone in a year which doesn’t count the fire alarms, wild land fires, and structure fires.

What steps did you take to make your career goals a reality?
I joined as a volunteer fire fighter in Yamhill and stayed there for a year, then I moved to Carlton where I am an EMS/Fire fighter volunteer. I was a student at McMinnville for fire and EMS for 2 1/2 years and am now an EMS volunteer there. While volunteering I have been going to school full-time. Within the next year I'll have my Associate's Degree in Fire Prevention and a certificate in Management in Fire Prevention. I have taken fire classes to become a fire fighter (structure) an engine boss (wild land), so I can go to the big wild land fires and be the "boss" of my crew. I was a First Responder, then an EMT Basic, then an EMT Intermediate, and now I am trying to get into a paramedic program.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?
I love working the wild land fires--the fires in trees, grass, etc.--they are fun and exciting. I like structure fires but not the loss of people’s belongings and homes. I also really like the patient care aspect of the job. I am really excited about getting my EMT Intermediate because I can start IV's and give drugs, and this is one step down from my ultimate goal of becoming a paramedic. I got to start a 16 gauge IV on a trauma patient the other day, it was the first 16 gauge I did (they are huge needles). I knew if they needed to push fluids or give drugs right away while transporting him by helicopter that IV could help save his life...so it is little things like that I love. And the rush of it all!

Least favorite?
Loss of a life, for the family and friends that are left behind to grieve. I have seen some pretty sad people and it is very hard to watch a mother be devastated because she lost her son.

Have you run into any challenges as a woman in this field?
At first, especially at my age, I was "challenged" at the fire department in subtle ways. I was left to do everything, all the grunt work, and some of the guys wouldn't talk to me at all. I would ask them a question and get nothing, no reply. After a while they figured out I could actually do the job and pull my own weight, and then I was treated just like the guys. Even with the challenges, it was a great experience for me and taught me a lot about being out on an ambulance and fire engine.

What skills are important for success as a firefighter/EMT?
Compassion, quick thinking, thinking things through, trying to quickly diagnose what is wrong with the patient and taking action without panicking. Laughing and not internalizing what you had to do or what you had to see, and trying not to be judgmental.

What advice would you give to people, especially young women, who are considering a career as a paramedic?
Study, study, study, become the best you can be, and know your stuff! Be confident but not cocky... it is a very fine line. You have to prove yourself--to your colleagues and to yourself.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Excellence in Education

Technology teacher Don Domes (right). Photo by Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian

Hillsboro High School's technology teacher Don Domes was recently selected as a finalist in the OnPoint Excellence in Education contest. Here's what parents Sheryl and Curt Loberger had to say in their nomination letter:

“Mr. Domes is like the energizer bunny. After 30 years of teaching he is still going strong with new and fresh ideas to keep the students motivated and learning. As technology is constantly improving so is Mr. Domes, his Technology department, and his teaching skills. Mr. Domes takes pride in his program and has made it one of the best in the state. He knows each student is an individual and helps develop each of them to become self-sufficient in the real world. He is a teacher who believes in hands-on training for his kids as they build, create, and solve various problems.”

The award comes with a $1500 cash prize for Mr. Domes and a matching $1500 prize for HilHi.

This is not the first time Mr. Domes has been acknowledged for his extraordinary work: In 2004 he received the Software Association of Oregon Foundation's Oregon Technology Educator of Year award.

Congratulations to Mr. Domes, a great example of the enthusiastic and knowledgeable CTE educators making a big difference in our local schools.

Extra Credit:
Hillsboro Robotics Teacher Learns Along With Students

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Photojournal: Wood Magic in Sherwood

Walk into the Sherwood High School construction classroom and you might be surprised at the wide variety of projects students are working on. Their teacher, Jon Dickover, has his students learn the basics of construction safety, complete some required projects, then encourages them to get creative. This results in everything from artistic bowls to skateboards to lawn chairs.

Here's what some Sherwood High School construction students said about the class:

"We get to create our own projects. It's awesome."

"I'm working on a desk right now. It's a little more complicated but I really like challenging myself."

"I love the independence. I can express myself in this class."

"For my job I'd like to work with my hands. In my freetime I'll just grab a piece of wood and start carving."

"It's something different everyday."

And here are a few photos of the hardworking woodworkers in action:

Friday, July 2, 2010

CTE Star: Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson, 16, has taken woods classes at Gaston High School for the past 2 years, creating a variety of projects both beautiful and functional. Next year he's hoping to make a guitar. "He does probably the best work of anyone," says woods teacher Wade Sims. "He's really artistic and careful, and he's always taken what he learns here to heart."

Ben was kind enough to share his experience with us:

Why did you decide to take a woods class?
When I was in 7th grade, Mr. Sims had just gotten the wood lathes and I was really intrigued by it, so I decided to sign up. I really liked being able to get to build something and take it home tomorrow.

What do you like about this class?
I like thinking about what I can do in the future, with my career. There's so much you can do with such a vast array of machines and different types of wood. Mr. Sims is a great teacher; he lets us do things instead of just watching him do it, so it's good hands-on learning.

What's your favorite project you've worked on so far?
That would be last year, when I built a cabinet for my grandpa. He's always been there for me, and I actually changed my last name to Wilson for him, so it was really great to be able to create something especially for him. I made it out of pine, routed the name "Wilson" into the top, and added a dark blue inlay. Blue is his favorite color.

What has been the biggest challenge?
The tablesaw. There are so many things you have to keep in mind when you're running that thing. It's kind of menacing with its big blade. We were building new kitchen cabinets for a woman in the community and we had to use the tablesaw a lot, so that's how I overcame my fear of it.

What have you learned?
I've learned I have a lot of tolerance for things that go wrong. You've gotta have patience. Don't give up. Things always go wrong in the shop--things break, things don't come out the way you want--but you have to keep your head up and keep trying.

How is this class different from your other classes?
It's hands-on. You don't have to sit there and take notes. Even the tests are hands-on. This class teaches life lessons.

What would you say to other students who were thinking of taking a class like this?
I'd say do it. Come ready to work hard, and be disciplined. It's slow and tedious at first. Come prepared to work and come prepared to learn. Don't be scared. They'll take care of you.

What are your plans after high school?
I plan to be a school counselor. I want to help others, and I want to show people that if you work hard and keep your head up, you can do anything. You never think you can make something so pretty out of a piece of wood, and I think this applies to people, too. Maybe I'll help send somebody off to college who didn't think they could do it. I'm excited to help people find the potential they have inside, and help them accomplish their dreams.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Forest Grove Viking House Featured on NPR!

Last year's Viking House

Each year Forest Grove High School construction students build a beautiful single-family home known as the "Viking House," which is then put on the market and sold.

The Viking House is a great example of the power of hands-on learning, dedicated students, enthusiastic teachers, and support from the community, and now NPR is taking notice.

Please click here to listen to the story featured on NPR's Morning Edition.

Congratulations to teacher Chris Higginbotham and his class for another successful Viking House and many more to come!

Extra Credit:
Viking House official website
Forest Grove High students put finishing touches on 2010 Viking House (Oregonlive.com)
High schoolers building houses in self-funded program (The Oregonian)

Monday, May 31, 2010

St. Helens Students Place Third in Ford/AAA Trouble-Shooting Contest

Congratulations are in order for the St. Helens High School Automotive Technology program. Students Callen Prettyman and Thomas Noelcke, working as a team, placed third in the statewide Ford/AAA Trouble-Shooting Contest on May 14th. Prettyman and Noelcke were able to repair all but two minor defects in a 2010 Ford Fusion and drive it across the finish line within the 90-minute time allotment.

From right to left: Proud instructor Mike Herdrich, Prettyman, and Noelcke.

The team received trophies, scholarships for the Ford ASSET training program, and tools from Snap-on, Mac, and Cornwell tool companies. Their names will be forwarded to Ford Dealers, AAA-approved repair facilities, and others as potential employees.

The Oregonian featured the St. Helens seniors, along with their instructor Mike Herdrich, on the front page of the Autos section earlier this month:

The St. Helens automotive technology program doubles as a business, Mike's Automotive, which gives students hands-on experience in the very real world of an auto repair shop. Mike's Automotive is the only high school in the United States that is AAA-certified and open to serve the community.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

CTE Star: Melissa Sandstrom

Melissa Sandstrom, 17, is a senior at Vernonia High School and a standout student in Mr. Lower's web design class. Between creating websites and learning the latest programs like Flash and Adobe Illustrator, we were lucky to track her down for an interview.

What do you like about web design and graphic design?
I really like art, and I wanted to find something that I could make into a career, instead of fine arts. I think graphic design is really booming right now thanks to technology.

Why did you decide to take this class?
I got interested in graphic design last year. Our junior year we study 3 different careers and graphic design was one of the jobs I chose. I visited the Art Institute last summer, and after that I really wanted to take this class. I like that this class is self-led, but we can get help if we need it.

What's your favorite project you've worked on so far?
I did a website. I just started with HTML code. I'd never used it before and I had no idea how it worked, but I created my own website about dogs, and now I'm starting a portfolio page of what I've done.

The header of Melissa's first website.

What has been the biggest challenge?
Definitely learning HTML. A lot of times I'd try things and they wouldn't work and I'd have to ask Mr. Lower. I always take a long time to ask him because I want to figure it out myself, but when I finally ask him, he can help me.

What have you learned about yourself while taking this class?
I learned that I like to work on the computer. I really like to create things, and see how colors and patterns come together.

What are your plans after high school?
I'm going to the Art Institute of Portland to study graphic design. I'd already decided to go there before I took this class but now I feel a lot more confident.

Extra Credit:
VHS Students Learn Graphic Design
7 Female Graphic Designers That'll Rock Your Socks Off
Biographies and Stories: Female Web Designer

Monday, May 17, 2010

Preschool Palace: No Ordinary Preschool

Peek into Preschool Palace and you'll see children laughing, playing, drawing and learning. But don't be fooled: Preschool Palace is no ordinary preschool.

Based in Grant Watts Elementary School in Scappoose, Preschool Palace is staffed and run by Scappoose High School's Child Development class. Under teacher Robyn Grabhorn's guidance, high school students do everything from writing lesson plans to setting up snack time to cleaning up after the 40 preschoolers enrolled in the morning and afternoon sessions.

"In this class, you don't just sit at a desk and learn from a book," says senior Jessica Norvald. "Here, you actually do it, and that's how you learn."

Every high school student is assigned a preschool "buddy" and works with them one-on-one (buddies rotate throughout the semester) on subjects like counting and writing. This system provides individual attention for every preschooler and allows the high school students to personalize their lesson plans and better understand the different learning styles and personalities in the group. "You get to know what level the kids are at," says student Lida Means. "You learn to set goals for them and for yourself."

High school students also rotate through the "teacher" role, which puts them in front of the whole class reading stories, singing songs, and teaching a lesson plan they designed from start to finish. "This class has opened my eyes to how kids develop and how to manage a classroom," says Rachel Pingle.

Grabhorn and one of her preschoolers.

"A big misconception is that we are just here to babysit," says Grabhorn. "People don't see how much work goes into this, and how much learning happens here."

Students write reflection papers about their lesson plans that are graded to state writing standards. They learn universal skills like teamwork, public speaking, and communication. Within the next few years, Grabhorn hopes to offer dual credit for the course through Portland Community College.

Many of the students want to work in early childhood education or related careers when they graduate. "When I started doing this class, I realized this is what I wanted to do," says Means.

Luckily for these hard-working high schoolers, word is getting out Preschool Palace's success. Grace Christian Preschool, located in Scappoose, recently contacted Grabhorn to see if any of her students were looking for employment. The school was so impressed after hiring one of the program's past students, Clairissa Williams, that when an assistant job opened up, they knew just where to look.

Says Grabhorn: "They had so many great things to say about Clairissa and liked that she had so many well-learned skills prior to her employment with them."

With Columbia County's unemployment rate hovering at 13.4%, it's no exaggeration that Scappoose's Child Development program is giving students a chance at a brighter future.

That's not to say it doesn't brighten up their present day, too: "There's never a dull moment," says Means, "and that makes it all the more fun."