Oregon automotive training programs get boost with expansions, remodels

After years of decline, new funding measures drive program growth and renewal

Portland, Ore.—Automotive training programs in Oregon are experiencing growth, expansion and rejuvenation, according to a recent report by the Northwest Automotive Trades Association (NATA).

In the 1980s, Oregon had 110 automotive programs in high school and post -secondary programs. By 2012, that number dropped to just 41 programs.

The good news is that Oregon is up to 49 programs, and with the influx of new state funding through Measure 98, CTE grants, Career Pathways funds and voter-approved bonds, many expansions and remodels are occurring.

Here is a brief rundown of the some of the program remodels thus far:

• Hillsboro High School: The shop will be remodeled next spring, adding than 1,900-square-feet to the shop.”There are no plans for additional hoists or other things, but getting more floor space is great,” Glenn Campbell, the program instructor, said.

• Sabin Schellenberg Skills Center: The remodel of school’s Auto, Welding, and Manufacturing facility started in June. Classes will be held at Camp Withycombe during the remodel.

• Gresham High School: As a result of a bond and Measure 98 funds, the school is building an all-new shop, essentially tripling the size. The new shop will be outfitted with mostly new equipment including three new lifts and a new Hunter Alignment rack. The tool room will be all-new and stocked with new tools. In addition, Measure 98 funds were used to purchase Snap-on certification kits, according to instructor Mike Ruff.

• Beaverton School District: The automotive program at Aloha High School, which serves the entire distric, is undergoing a remodel and expansion funded by a bond. The project was due for completion in June.

• Tigard High School: The school will be removing a mezzanine where the storage areas are now, and adding three additional lifts, lighting, power, air and exhaust system. It will be adding new tool boxes and work benches and storage for all six of the work stations, and will be getting some replacement storage outside. They are spending Measure 98, bond, and Career Pathway dollars to complete the project, according to instructor James MacDonald.

• Clackamas Community College: A recent bond has allowed the college to build an Industrial Technology Center, which has freed up a lot of space in Barlow Hall, thus allowing expansion and remodel of both the Collision Repair and Automotive Service Technology programs. The project is due for completion this fall.

• Crescent Valley High School: For nearly two decades, students had to travel to Corvallis High School to take auto shop — if Corvallis High had space for outside students. That’s changed now, with the opening of auto shop classes at Crescent Valley.

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