Gorge college, career expo draws high schoolers

More than 140 students from 11 high schools across the Mid-Columbia explored family-wage careers and the skills to qualify for those jobs at the 2022 College & Career Expo, held in the Columbia Gorge Regional Skills Center in The Dalles on Friday, April 22.

Columbia Gorge STEM Hub spearheaded this event as part of its career-connected learning work, with support from Oregon Community Foundation in collaboration with Columbia Gorge Community College and Career Connect Southwest Washington. Columbia Gorge Regional Skills Center, completed last fall, is on the college’s The Dalles Campus. Career-tech programs  in the skills center include construction, welding, additive manufacturing and metals fabrication … just some of the skills highlighted last week.

“The Columbia Gorge has such a diverse array of promising careers and high-quality local programs to prepare youth for those jobs. Knowing what those jobs are, what might be the right fit for someone, and how to purse them can be elusive.” said Christy Christopher, Columbia Gorge STEM Hub director. “This event was part of a regional effort to help connect the dots for Gorge students.”

“We plan to make this an annual event,” added Kate Wurster, associate director of student outreach and recruitment at CGCC. “It was refreshing to see so much enthusiasm and life on campus again — we certainly hope this marks the start of many more such events to come!”

Employers participating in last Friday’s “Micro-Hiring Fair” included Cardinal Glass, Fred Meyer, Youth Compass, Innovative Composite Engineering, Skamania Lodge, USA Jobs/Army Corps of Engineers, IBEW Local 48, North Wasco County School District, Mt. Adams Fruit, Oregon Veterans Home, The Next Door, Child Care Partners @ CGCC and One Community Health.

Two-thirds of the participating high schools were from Oregon counties in the Mid-Columbia, with the other third from the north side of the Gorge. (There is no out-of-state tuition at CGCC for neighboring counties in Washington State.)

“Thank you again to all those who helped, from facilities staff to Gorge Scholars, to faculty who led the workshops, and staff who plugged in wherever needed,” Wurster added. “It was truly a collective campus effort. This is just the beginning of positive momentum in promoting CGCC as the community college of choice for our local students and community (and beyond)!”