CTE Month Highlights District Accomplishments

logo of CTE Month

Schools across Oregon are celebrating Career and Technical Education (CTE) during the month of February, and school districts in Morrow, Umatilla and Union counties have plenty to celebrate. In January, the Oregon Department of Education released statewide graduation rates. In eastern Oregon CTE students studying Agriculture, Manufacturing, Business, Hospitality & Tourism Management (Culinary), Design and Applied Arts, Engineering, Information & Computer Technology are graduating at significantly higher rates. Data shows that 2017 graduates in Morrow, Umatilla and Union counties who took at least a year of CTE in high school graduated at higher rates than the overall graduation rate in their county.

Class of 2017

CTE grads

All grads

% difference

Morrow County




Umatilla County




Union County




State of Oregon




The diploma-earning boost that CTE provides to underserved students is even more dramatic.

According to Jennifer Pambrun, regional CTE coordinator, school districts are making the most of resources by partnering to build programs of study that prepare students for careers and college. “No matter what vocation our students choose, a combination of rigorous academics and relevant CTE provides a competitive advantage. If CTE earned a grade for helping all students cross the finish line, it would clearly be an ‘A’,” Pambrun said.

CTE programs are strengthened by partnerships that build and sustain opportunities for students. In eastern Oregon, business and industry advisors work with Blue Mountain Community College to ensure that skills taught through their certificate and degree programs line up with skills needed for high- demand, high-wage careers in the region. High school programs of study consist of hands-on, sequenced courses, beginning in the 9th grade, that teach technical and professional skills, reinforce academic learning and provide experiences that expose students to the opportunities at BMCC and beyond.

In addition to higher graduation rates, Pambrun also points out that academic achievement is consistently higher for CTE graduates because their programs of study answer “why are we learning this?” Results for 2017 CTE graduates in the InterMountain CTE Consortium are more than 17 points higher in Math and more than 12 points higher in English Language Arts than the statewide 11th grade benchmark results. Project-based or experiential learning, student leadership organizations like FFA, FBLA and TSA, job shadows and other experiences allow students to practice professional skills and explore what types of career paths and workplace environments they do or do not like.

In the past few years, the State of Oregon has committed increased funds to support CTE programs. Oregon voters, legislators and school boards are investing funds to upgrade equipment, technology and learning spaces and expand CTE offerings for students. Paired with school administrators, counselors and community partners, the financial investment provides a foundation for students to benefit from CTE.

Pambrun summarized the celebration of February as CTE Month, saying, “CTE instructors in eastern Oregon are delivering that powerful combination of technical, professional and applied academic skills with experiences that will help our students map their paths forward. Over 90 percent of our region’s 2017 CTE graduates successfully completed the first leg of their journey -- now that is something to celebrate.”

The IMESD CTE Consortium serves Umatilla & Morrow County high schools, La Grande High School and Blue Mountain Community College and collaborates with the Eastern Oregon Workforce Board, Eastern Oregon University, GO-STEM, the Oregon Employment Department, Oregon Department of Education, the Office of Community Colleges & Workforce Development, neighboring consortiums and business & industry partners throughout the region.

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