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, June 18, 2012

PCC Video Contest Winners!

Hi all,

As we head into summer we at PCC just want to give a shout out to all the high schools who participated in our non-traditional outreach program this Spring. As part of the program, we held a video contest for students to work on finding their "voice" and to explore their career of choice. We gave the students tech packs, categories of video, and some guidance, and let them have at it!

Here are the winners!

Winning Team: Savannah and Ashley
School: Hillsboro High School
Mentor: Don Domes

Winning Team: Cristina, Abby, Samantha
School: Century High School
Mentor: Trudy Botham, Scott Kellar

Winning Team: Danielle, Michelle, Sheilly, Kassandra, Tony
School: Merlo High School
Mentor: Matt Loughner

CONGRATULATIONS to the winning students! We applaud your efforts and look forward to seeing everyone again this Fall!

Have a fantastic summer!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Houses fit for Vikings in Forest Grove

When this project came across our desk we just knew we had to share it. Forest Grove High School's construction students have been hard at work this year on building a house. You heard me, building a REAL house. This isn't a theoretical project, it's a home that will be sold as a new construction and used to fund next year's project!

A select group of advanced construction students are gathered each year to work as a team on building a real house. The house this year is special because it will be part of a showcase of homes later this year in Forest Grove, called the Street of Affordable Homes. Taking it's name from Street of Dreams, this showcase will feature 5 homes priced more affordably at $300-470K. The "Viking House", as it is fondly referred to, will be one of the five homes showcased.

While the Viking House is well underway, ground has not even been broken on the other 4 homes built by professional builders. However, when invited for a visit to tour the construction progress, all of the builders had nothing but praise for the efforts of the students. They even joked that they needed to step up their game!

So proud of the Forest Grove high school students who are participating and contributing to their community in this way, and gaining real world experience. Kudos to the team, and to their awesome teacher, Mr. Chris Higginbotham.

Interested in viewing the house? It will be on display during the Street of Affordable Homes showcase July 5-29, 2012. The home's address is 1055 Lilac Street in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Who knows? Maybe it will be the site of your own next residence? At least you'll know it was built with love.


The PCC NTO Team

Find out more info here: http://www.forestgrovenewstimes.com/news/story.php?story_id=132806514965150300

What do software engineers, welders and nurses all have in common?

They were all careers that were highlighted in our 2012 PCC Non-Trad Spring Events!

PCC PAVTEC office held a series of 3 events in April, as part of our NTO (Non-Traditional Outreach) program. The events covered the following career explorations:

For girls: High Tech/Engineering; Construction, Auto Body and Welding; and Fire, EMT and Paramedic.

For boys: Healthcare specifically Nursing.

We had the assistance of some amazingly talented and passionate PCC staff involved in each of the respective divisions of education. We received very positive feedback from the students and it was particularly inspirational to hear the stories of real students and PCC instructors who had overcome various obstacles in their lives to continue their education and do something meaningful to them.

The format for the events was all the same: In the morning, the students did hands-on activities, facilities tours and heard small presentations given by faculty. Afterward, we gathered together in a commons area to have lunch, chit chat amongst ourselves, and to hear stories from students and staff about their real life experiences with the respective career fields.

The events took place at all three PCC campuses: Sylvania, Rock Creek, and Cascade.

Overall we believe it was a fresh experience for the students to not only get a "campus tour" but to hear about some real world advice and stories from people who are in these careers.

PCC will be planning more events for Fall 2012 and/or Spring 2013! We have learned so much from these events and may be narrowing in the focus even more to provide laser-focused attention to career areas that have high demand and/or turnover here in Oregon. Our goal is to provide students with real life info on how they can have a beneficial and stable career in fields that they will be able to find positions in after graduation.

Check out this YouTube video for a fun and energetic summary of the events!

Happy summer and looking forward to Fall 2012!

The NTO Team at PCC

Monday, March 26, 2012

Manufacturing Careers Listed by Employers as Most Difficult to Fill

A study by industry research experts Deloitte Analytics shows that, while many in white-collar fields such as high-tech and business management continue to struggle to find jobs, employers in the United States are having a difficult time finding enough resumes to hire necessary machining and other manufacturing-related "trades" jobs.

Many IT related jobs have gone offshore, for reasons such as lower cost of employment, and the fact that many of these jobs, such as call center support, can really be performed from anywhere. On the other hand many "trades" jobs either MUST be performed on US soil, for practical reasons, or employers simply prefer to keep their custom machinists and other tradesmen nearer their facilities. Other reasons for keeping the jobs on US soil include keeping company trade secrets from leaking internationally. There is a phrase "only outsource what you don't want to control" and many companies have found that outsourcing, while initially seeming attractive, has ended up a disaster. International companies may promise lower pay but also have lower morale or not as keen of skills as US-educated employees. They may work in countries with under-developed infrastructure, such that when a natural disaster strikes, the country (and the offshore workers) are out of commission for a much longer time, bringing production to a screeching halt.

The below chart shows the results of a poll performed by Deloitte which clearly shows that employers are facing a skills gap in the Trades and Manufacturing industry.

(Get the full report here: http://www.slideshare.net/DeloitteAnalytics/us-pip-2011skillsgapreport01142011-1)

So bottom line, what does this mean for our nation's next generation of workers (ie those in high school and college/trade school right now)? It means, for those considering a career in trades, that you can be more confident that you will be able to find a job sooner, and have greater security, than going into a field which is easily outsourced or offshored.

Another report from Industry 2011 had the following list of most difficult trades to hire/find qualified applicants for:

2011 Manufacturing Skills Most Difficult to Hire

1.  Welding (42% of industries polled)
2.  Machining (40% of industries polled)
3.  CNC Programming (39% of industries polled)
4.  Tool and Die Makers (33% of industries polled)
5.  GD&T (32% of industries polled)
6.  Machine Maintenance Techs (31% of industries polled)
7.  Press Brake Operators (28% of industries polled)
8.  3D Designers (CAD) (25% of industries polled)
9.  Robotic Programmers (23% of industries polled)
10.  SPC Statistical Process Control (13% of industries polled)

What does this mean for our non-traditional students?? Go get 'em, girls!

PCC Non-Trad Outreach Coordinator

Beaverton Culinary Arts Teacher Named "Teacher of the Year"

We want to offer our most enthusiastic congratulations to Lora Wells, head of the Culinary Arts program at Westview High School in Beaverton, Oregon, for achieving "Teacher of the Year"! Westview participated in the annual Oregon Prostart High School Culinary Championships.

Westview is the only high school in Beaverton's school district that currently offers a culinary arts program.


To read more about the championships, and see what high school came home with top honors (along with the breathtaking menu they served up in less than 60 minutes), see the Oregonian's article here:


Make it a great week!

PCC Non-Trad Outreach Coordinator

Friday, March 9, 2012

All-Girls Engineering Classes: A Good Idea?

Studies and surveys show that even in the heart of the Silicon Forest, boys still vastly outnumber girls when it comes to any kind of technology education, both at the college and the high school levels.

When Sherwood High School looked into the reasons more deeply, surveying some of their female students, the reasons why girls weren't attending the classes was surprising: it had nothing to do with lack of interest or perceived lack of ability to handle the intellectual demands of such classes. Instead, it was more about the presence of the boys. As one junior girl put it, "I felt like it would be intimidating" (to be so outnumbered in the class). Another girl who was actually a part of a class said that boys tended to just take over and dominate group projects, and asked or left the girls to be the note-takers. This makes sense because boys traditionally have had less interest and ability in communications including writing. Many boys feel their handwriting is atrocious and openly admit that girls is far better. Because boys tend to be more aggressive and girls more passive due to biological differences in brain wiring, hormones, and social expectations, it stands to reason that in heavily disproportionate classes, one gender or the other may feel out of place and intimidated.

And what Sherwood High School did to compensate is just amazing...a role model for other schools and a surefire method to get more girls engaged in science, technology engineering and math (STEM) classes. So, what did they do?

Sherwood added an all-girl engineering class to their curriculum. They named it an intimidation-busting "No Boys Allowed", and developed coursework related to CAD, woodshop, and other traditionally boy-dominated subject matter. The girls design a 3D object on a computer and then have it laser cut, or build it themselves.

So how successful has the class been? A whopping 60 girls jumped at the chance to take it, the very first year it was offered. Compare this to other schools who have a handful of girls in each class, sometimes none at all.

Aloha and Westview High Schools are planning to offer all-girls engineering courses in the next year or two, based on the success in Sherwood.

Interestingly, after this large amount of girls takes the Level 1 "No Boys Allowed" Engineering classes, there is no increase in the coed Level 2 and beyond classes. Instead, what girls have said overwhelmingly is that they want to continue the No Boys Allowed classes at higher levels. This seems to suggest that even though they are interested in technology and manufacturing careers, the factor of being an only-girl or one of a handful in a male-dominated class turns girls off to the point that they aren't willing to pursue that career.

At some point, obviously, females will have to come to grips with the fact that if they follow a non-traditional gender career path, they will have to dela with their feelings of "odd man out" and have to integrate with their male colleagues. However, if all-girl engineering classes are offered all the way through high school, how will they deal with college? Will colleges begin to offer these classes? And if so, how will women integrate themselves into the real, coed world when they have had exclusive and protected environment for up to 8 of their formative educational years? Should there be another course offered at the end of each program to help women re-integrate? How far do we go with separating men and women, girls from boys? After all, the right to study right alongside boys and men is something that women's rights fought for a long time to achieve.

What are your thoughts?

Karyn Reohr
PCC Non-Traditional Outreach Coordinator

More information about this topic: http://www.oregonlive.com/washingtoncounty/index.ssf/2012/01/even_in_washington_countys_sil.html

Hillsboro High School Receives $35,000 donation to Engineering and Auto programs

WOW! Hillsboro High School got a call from the Schwab Charitable Fund a couple weeks ago letting them know that an anonymous donation was being made to their Engineering and Auto Tech programs, totalling a whopping $35,000! Someone in our community has a huge heart for these kids and is a very generous philathropist as well.

The total amount donated to the programs for this year totals over $46,000 which meets their original target!

In addition, St. Helens high school's auto tech program is donating a vehicle to Hillsboro High School, with the idea that the vehicle will be auctioned off and proceeds used to support HilHi's program. You can read more about the car and the donation made by St. Helens High school on Oregon Live:


Congratulations to HilHi on both donations, and to the anonymous donor, and the St. Helens High school students....congratulaions to you too, for helping make a difference in the lives of students who were at risk of losing precious classes and resources!

The Team at PCC Non-Trad Outreach