TALENT, Ore. — Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle marked "National Apprenticeship Week" by visiting several programs in Jackson County that help people learn the tools of a trade.
The day kicked off just before noon in Central Point, with Hoyle addressing the audience and reminding them of the importance of apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in the Rogue Valley.
These programs provide an opportunity for young adults to look into different trades as potential options for discovering a passion and kicking off their carriers — without having to look very far from home.
"It's important that we provide jobs and training in the communities people are in — in Southern Oregon — so that people think they have to leave here to get another job or go to the Portland Metro area," said Hoyle. "There are a lot of jobs that are available and if we provide the training, then this workforce will be exactly what's needed to build up our communities."
Hoyle said that since the removal of shop classes in Oregon about 20 years ago, the average age of an apprentice has skyrocketed from just under 20 years old to where it is now, at 27. She insists that it's important for kids to be thinking about their future career path as early as age 16.
"We want to provide opportunities for kids and understand that the apprenticeship model can allow kids to have mastery in a skill, make a good wage, with benefits and have no college debt," Hoyle said.
Throughout the day, Hoyle visited Crater Lake Electrical JATC, 71Five VoTech Center, and Talent Maker City.