A private-public partnership creates new facility
A private-public partnership designed to commit more resources to skilled trade development reached a major milestone Tuesday when a new Skilled Trades Center opened on the campus of Evergreen High School.
Members of the building industry, including several who donated money and more to the project, celebrated with the superintendent of Evergreen Public Schools, school board members, high school administrators, teachers, students, and the mayor of Vancouver.
Evergreen has had a strong Career and Technical Education program for years, but now a new, large facility that will allow for the construction of tiny homes, and other projects, is ready for use.
“This program bridges the gap between the classroom and the real world,” said freshman Savza Sosnovskiy, who is in the geometry in construction program at EHS. “We study geometry and then venture into our skilled trades center where we apply the knowledge we’ve gained in practical settings.”
Sosnovskiy was one of two students who spoke in front of several dozen supporters of the project.
“Our class is modeled after a real job, which includes the importance of showing up on time, having a strong work ethic,” Sosnovskiy said.
Leslie Guel, a sophomore, also gave a glowing recommendation of the CTE program at Evergreen, and she is excited to be able to use this new facility for the rest of her high school studies.
“I have had the privilege of learning practical skills that are essential in the construction industry, such as safely operating tools and power equipment, understanding the various components of building a wall, and constructing stairs.”
She added that those stairs actually work, too, getting a good laugh from those in attendance.
“Out of all the skills that I have developed, the most important is how to lead others,” Guel said.
Building industry leaders who were present Tuesday had to love hearing that. They are hoping programs such as the one at Evergreen will lead to more skilled workers in the future.
That was the goal of Douglas Greene, who donated a substantial amount of money to buy the steel building for the center. He offered to do so a couple years ago under the condition that Evergreen Public Schools backed the project by designing the interior and a promise to support the facility with the proper equipment.
Today, that vision is a reality.
“Opportunities are endless in the trades,” said Greene, who promoted skilled trades jobs to the students in attendance.
Greene, philanthropist and industry leader, noted that there is a huge demand for workers in skilled trades as America prepares to repair its infrastructure. The country also needs new homes, and workers to build those homes.
All who spoke at Tuesday’s event thanked Greene. A commemorative plaque was unveiled as well:
“This facility was constructed in partnership between Evergreen Public Schools and Douglas C. Greene.”
With a quote:
“Empowering students to develop the skills to build their future.”
Sosnovskiy, on the behalf of the students, thanked Greene, too.
“Your generosity transformed a dream into a remarkable facility that will benefit our campus for years to come,” he said.
Greene thanked several others who also helped with the project, including Jon Girod of Quail Homes. Girod started a foundation, Building Futures Foundation, with the hope of building a skilled trades center in every school district in Southwest Washington
Danny Orrantia, the principal at Evergreen, said the state-of-the-art facility is a commitment to meaningful, hands-on learning experience and vocational training.
“Within these walls, our students will develop practical skills, critical thinking, and of course, a strong work ethic,” Orrantia said. “This center will ignite the passion in our students and equip them for success in the skilled trades industry.”
John Boyd, the district’s superintendent, acknowledged that for too long educators have pushed college while ignoring the trades.
“That’s no longer the case,” Boyd said. “We can do both. We can prepare students for the trades, we can prepare them for college, we can get them ready for any next step they envision for their future.”
For students such as Sosnovskiy, skilled trades is the future.
“We now see a promising, debt-free, and rewarding career path after high school,” he said.
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