Umpqua Community College is participating in the first National Career and Technical Education Letter Signing Day.

About 25 students from Douglas County are signing letters of intent to enter programs for careers like nursing, business and welding. Families and community members have been invited to encourage and celebrate the students, who will start their programs in the fall, at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Danny Lang Center at UCC.

“They actually sign a letter, they are given a hat and big fanfare,” UCC spokeswoman Tiffany Coleman said. “This is more or less for terminal degrees. They come here, then they go into the workforce and make a lot of money traditionally. There are occupations that don’t require a four-year degree.”

The event is led by the National Coalition of Certification Centers in an effort to make choosing a career with a certification mirror the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s National Signing Day for athletes who commit to play sports in college.

“Technical education training prepares students for strong careers,” Jason Aase, UCC’s Dean of Career and Technical Education, said in a press release. “These careers pay very well, and are often not possible to enter directly out of high school without some level of college education or training. By signing our incoming students to letters of intent, we are telling them that UCC has reserved a place for them and we want them here.”

Three other community colleges in the state of Oregon are participating; Linn-Benton ommunity College in Albany, Rogue Community College in Grants Pass and Chemeketa Community College in Salem. Nationally, approximately 60 schools are taking part.

“This is a brand new thing,” Coleman said. “We’re just trying to be an early adopter in Oregon. It’s more to recognize career and technical education as viable. Not everybody is cut out to go to a four-year university.”

Coleman said it is too late for other interested students to join the event, which they have been working on since October.

Janelle Polcyn can be reached at or 541-957-4204. Or follow her on Twitter @JanellePolcyn.

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Janelle Polcyn is a reporter at The News-Review, graduated from the University of Texas, and is a podcast enthusiast.

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