Oregon Department of Education

Ready to Learn-Ready to Work Program

Salem Chamber of Commerce, Keizer Chamber of Commerce, and Salem-Keizer Public Schools

The Path to Realizing Your Goals

“I plan on becoming a plastic surgeon and I will be accepting new patients in 2018,” said a McKay High School student to the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce business members at their weekly networking event. The McKay High School’s Occupational Health class joined Salem Area Chamber of Commerce and the students participated just as any business person was expected to by introducing themselves to a group of 170 individuals. Instead of sharing their business name and tag line the students shared their education and career goals following high school.

Like many others, these high school students had completed a series of Career Mentoring workshops. The workshops expose students to employers in the community who discuss vital soft skills expected of their employees, ranging from attitude and work ethic, teamwork, communication and dressing for success. Students also develop resumes and have mock interviews.

Over 8,200 mid and high school students were impacted through Salem Chamber’s Ready to Learn Ready to Work workforce development program during the 2007-08 school year. The program is a partnership between the Salem-Keizer School District, Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, Keizer Chamber of Commerce, and the business community.

The partnership brings relevance to coursework by exposing students to the real world of work through classroom presentations, workplace tours, job shadows, internships, one-one and group career mentoring and, soft skills training.

The program’s goal is to broaden student awareness of the opportunities available to them after graduation; whether it is continuing their education at a community college or 4-year university, or moving directly into the work world, and to enhance the opportunities students have to explore careers and the training or education that is needed. Providing these resources to our students enhances their ability to develop, visualize, and ultimately realize their education and career goals.

Rich Clausen, Project Manager for Sunco Homes & Remodeling, discussed with students the various education and training routes for careers within the construction industry. He shared the importance of a strong work ethic and setting goals to achieve results. He tied his work into the math curriculum the class was studying (i.e. Pythagorean Theorem) by describing how blueprints are read and the importance of accuracy in planning in regard to quality and cost of construction. Per Monica Wade, math teacher at McNary High School, “He drove the point home that math is useful in the real world.”

Mike McLaran, CEO of the Salem Chamber notes, “Business driven and outcome oriented, the Chamber's workforce development partnership with the school district is achieving outstanding results. Though highly successful at surpassing many of the goals in its first full year, the program's real success will only be realized when all students are graduating from high school with the desire to be successful in their chosen field of work and ready to build upon their skills and education by attending Chemeketa Community College or a four year college, and returning to Salem to be a part of a vibrant workforce and economy.”

MaPS Credit Union LogoMaPS Credit Union is generously sponsoring a $500 grant award for the Ready to Learn - Ready to Work Program.

Contact: Sharron Seideman eMail, Salem Chamber of Commerce Special Events Manager, (503) 581-1466 ext 308