Sutherlin schools get grant for career based programs

SUTHERLIN, Ore. -- In an effort to revitalize career and technical skills, the Oregon Department of Education has awarded grants to 140 schools, and Sutherlin is one of them.The Sutherlin School District has received over $300,000 to upgrade their CTE (Career and Technology Education) facilities in order to give their students a competitive edge in the workforce.Wes Crawford from the Sutherlin Agricultural Sciences & Technology Department, says companies are looking outside the area for skilled workers. "We're at the point where places in Portland in the last two years have been sending scouts, headhunters, to Europe, trying to bring welders over because we're in such dire need," he said.To fill the need for skilled workers, most of the grant will help upgrade Sutherlin's wood and metal shops with 21st century technology. "The opportunities are there for careers, and we're training and preparing kids for careers that are high demand, high wage and high skill."With a competitive job market looming ahead for graduates, should schools be pushing students toward higher education or more vocational skills?Justin Huntley, the principal at Sutherlin High School says we should be doing both. "Really, we need to do both, and this allows us to do that," he said. "That's the unique thing about public education, we serve everyone."