As an innovative public-private partnership between Salem-Keizer Public Schools and Mountain West Investment Corporation, the vision for CTEC is to prepare high school students for high-skill, high-wage and high-demand careers while developing the professional skills, technical knowledge, academic foundation and real-world experience to assure their success upon graduation.
Mountain West purchased the 150,000 square-foot former Neilsen Manufacturing facility in 2014 with a commitment to renovate the space and equip 10 different Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study by 2019. The total capital project budget is $17 million, with Mountain West contributing $9 million, and $8 million leveraged from the public sector, foundations, individuals and businesses.
As the other half of the public-private partnership, Salem-Keizer Public Schools develops the curriculum, recruits and registers students, hires faculty and staff, provides transportation and covers ongoing operating costs. CTEC programs align with high school graduation requirements as well as industry certifications and standards.
To learn more about the history and the successes CTEC is seeing, check out our CTEC Brochure (PDF), provided by Mountain West.
A CTEC Advisory Council comprised of District leadership, community leaders, higher education stakeholders and industry representatives advises and aligns programs to meet industry and educational needs. The committee has helped shape the center from its inception and continues to play a key role in the development and sustainability of CTEC.
Industry Advisory Committees (IACs) are established to support each program of study. IAC members contribute their expertise to advise program content, provide experiential learning opportunities, offer resources and connect students to job opportunities. Two on-site business liaisons—hired via the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce—link Industry partners with students, providing a variety of engagement opportunities, including industry presentations and demonstrations, site visits, career fairs, interviews, internships and jobs.
At CTEC, all of our students experience an integrated curriculum that includes rigorous academic standards and relevant industry-specific skills. Students directly apply and connect academic knowledge with technical skills to graduate with a competitive advantage as they head into their career of choice.
Professional Skill Development
CTEC focuses on teaching professional skills and establishes a professional work culture within the school environment. CTEC students are known in the community to stand tall, firmly shake hands, speak with conviction and problem-solve in an efficient manner. Through the integrated curriculum and connections to industry, CTEC students gain the professional skills needed to succeed upon graduation.
Industry at the Table
Industry is always present at CTEC. Each program is supported by an Industry Advisory Committee that meets quarterly to review curriculum, identify resource needs and share opportunities—ensuring that CTEC is always teaching relevant industry-specific skills and making career connections for students. Industry professionals interact with students on CTEC’s campus by providing presentations and technical demonstrations, offering feedback on assignments and leading engaging, hands-on activities. CTEC students travel out into the community to visit companies and experience the workforce in action.
Career Pathways/Competitive Advantage
All CTEC students participate in career exploration as they learn about the different requirements for their specific career goals. CTEC embodies a planning culture, giving our students not only the skills necessary for success, but also providing a map of how to accomplish their goals. All CTEC students identify a career pathway by placing a leaf on their program’s Career Tree. This process helps our students plan for their future in the industry of their choice.
Hands-on learning/Industry teachers
CTEC classrooms offer relevant hands-on experiences for all of our students and each program is taught by experienced educators and industry professionals. Educators at CTEC come straight from industry and are then licensed as CTE educators. All of the faculty at CTEC have significant experience and community connections, allowing our students to learn and engage at the highest level possible.
Impact & Evaluation
With a 98% graduation rate, we know that we are helping students succeed in school. Other key outcomes include earning dual-college credit, gaining valuable industry certifications, strong attendance, professional skill development, and 100% positive placement post-graduation. We anticipate longer-term positive outcomes as we track the career and college pathways students take after CTEC. CTEC’s programs and success are not only evaluated by the school district and the Oregon Department of Education, but also a third-party agency that tracks alumni success, student voices and industry experiences. This organization runs focus groups, surveys and community outreach to evaluate the growth and impact of CTEC.
CTEC students graduate high school with a career plan, as well as an internship, job, military or college acceptance. Positive placement is one of the driving missions at CTEC. We are developing our future skilled workforce and contributing to a thriving community.
Video & Game Design Animation
Before attending CTEC, I would often panic about where my life was going and what I was going to end up doing. I didn’t have direction for my life or interest in my future career goals. I heard about CTEC when I volunteered at CCTV. I heard about the Film Program there and thought that it sounded like something I was interested in. CTEC has really opened up my eyes to the industry and I’ve become more passionate about my future as I learned more through attending class. I have really loved my program and the many different things in it. I feel like it’s helped me to become a better leader personally, and pushes me to be more outgoing in class. In my professional career, I hope to be self-sufficient and to purse my dream in the Film Industry. Being at CTEC has really given me the passion and drive to achieve my dreams!
Manufacturing, Welding & Engineering
Before attending CTEC, I had no direction for my future or had any idea of what I wanted to do. I decided to apply to CTEC after going through a tour and got accepted Junior Year! In my first year, one of my teachers gave me some information on a possible internship at Boeing. I decided to apply for it and give it a shot. I ended up getting the interview and they said my resume was the best resume they’ve seen in years. A few weeks later I heard back and found out that I was one of the 12 people out of 70 that got accepted. What’s different about CTEC is everything is goal oriented. Everything we’re doing is specific to our industry, and it gives us a purpose to our work. Each teacher really cares about every individual student. They really get to know you and focus on your goals for your future. I feel like CTEC changed my life by teaching me the professional skills to get into a career like time management, getting homework done efficiently and not being on my phone. But it also taught me the basics on how to work in a shop and work along with people and visualize the steps ahead. Without CTEC, I wouldn’t have learned about that internship and have a life plan of my future career!
Modern Building Systems
Modern Building Systems piloted our Work-based Learners program, which allows students to engage with hazardous occupations under specific guidelines. This allowed students to experience more of what they could expect with full-time employment after graduation. Modern Building System has been a great partner and continues to hire CTEC students.
Salon 554 showcased their company at the May 2018 Career and Hiring Fair and attracted many of our cosmetology hair design students. They did on-site interviews and ended up hiring two of our students. These students were thrilled to go to work at a high-end salon right here in Salem!
Erectors Inc came to CTEC for the Career and Hiring Fair May 2018 and did on-site interviews. From those interviews, they hired three students. They told us, “With those 3 we have had a very positive experience with the individuals that joined Erectors from CTEC. Two of them are close to becoming certified welders. All 3 came to work with basic knowledge of tools and construction and are fitting in great.”