Grant helps students plan careers

The Rogue Workforce Partnership has received the second installment of a three-year $120,000 grant from the William and Florence Schneider Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation.

The $36,000 allocated to the group this year follows the initial $60,000.

Jim Fong, who oversees the local Job Council office, said the money will help Jackson County students get a better understanding of business-related opportunities, readying them for the work world, while reducing high school dropout rates.

"Our second-year funding is mostly capacity building," Fong said, explaining that work will focus on creating alignment between business partners and the education system.

"We've got those partnerships solidly in place now," he said. "We went after the low-hanging fruit the first year, making sure students understood the dual-credit options with RCC and SOU were clear and accessible. Our hope is people are thinking about life after high school and about their career paths."

In round two, Fong said the goal is to dramatically increase participation in job shadowing, industry tours, career fairs and internships by high school and college students.

"We want to makes sure traded-sector companies (firms whose products and services are sold outside of Oregon) are represented in these things,"

Fong said.

— Greg Stiles

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