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!

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."