The Southern Oregon Workforce Investment Board is looking for high school seniors in Douglas County who want a career in manufacturing as part of the Made in Douglas campaign.
The board is partnered with three local manufacturers to provide recruitment, training and a job right after high school for 15 graduating seniors. All of the students accepted will receive the Certified Production Technician training and will go to work for Roseburg Forest Products, C & D Lumber or Swanson group.
“It’s a joint project we are doing with these employers who are really hoping to pick up on those youth that are not planning on going to college, but showing them, in manufacturing, there is a career path,” Program Manager Rena Langston said. “We’re doing outreach to all of the high schools.”
The students will start the training in May and will attend classes for six weekends. When they finish, they will go right into the workforce.
“This is an attempt to figure out how to make these opportunities available to the graduating and not college bound and connect them with experience,” Deputy Director Kyle Stevens said.
In Douglas County, 42% of the population 25 years old and older don’t have any college education according to the 2018 American Community Survey.
Stevens said most employers require at least nine months of previous work experience, but they have had a hard time filling positions, especially with young workers, but the companies are looking at the certification students will earn as work experience.
“It’s not your daddy’s, your granddaddy’s sawmill anymore,” Langston said. “It is very high tech. Most young people don’t even know what it would be like to be in a mill. It is all computer based, it isn’t all manual labor anymore.”
The employers are paying for the tuition and the workforce board is paying for a stipend for the students. The application is open at madeindouglas.com until April 30. The employers will interview and select the 15 students for the class. Candidates must be 18 years old by June 24.