Hillsboro, OR (April 5, 2021) – The COVID-19 pandemic forced schools nationwide to cancel in-person classes, but a suburban Portland high school used the lockdown as an opportunity to introduce students to a new form of learning. With help from construction companies like Rosendin, Sherwood High School developed a virtual, elective class to teach students how their new high school was constructed and expose them to potential careers as skilled craft workers.
Sherwood High School CTE Teachers Allison Meadows and Jon Dickover developed the 9-week program featuring speakers from approximately 15 construction-related companies, unions, and local businesses, some of whom built Sherwood’s new state-of-the-art high school, completed in late 2020. Rosendin, the electrical contracting company, helped shape the program.
“Rosendin has been a keystone of this project and we are thankful to them for helping us build relationships with local contractors and businesses,” said Jon Dickover, Sherwood H.S. teacher and Association of General Contractors club advisor. “We are especially thankful to Tim Moore, who helped us structure the lessons in the same order as they would happen during the construction of the school. It gave students a practical understanding of the construction timeline.”
“This was an exciting project to work on because I want young people to know that the construction industry offers career growth, pay equity, and good benefits, whether you choose to attend college or take an apprenticeship,” said Tim Moore, Rosendin Operations Manager. “Rosendin was established on a mission to help build people within our community and I appreciate the chance to share my experience with the next generation.”
General contractor Skanska USA Building was also involved, along with Anning Johnson Company, Apollo Mechanical Contractors, Coffman Excavation, Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscaping, and The Sowles Company. Additionally, representatives from Ironworkers Local 29, Northwest Carpenters Union, Sheet Metal Institute/Sheet Metal Workers Local 16, and UA Local 290 Plumbers and Steamfitters participated. Students were also given information about the three apprenticeship programs offered by the Oregon-Columbia NECA-IBEW Electrical Training Center, which combines on-the-job and classroom training in licensed electrical industry crafts.
The result was an overwhelming success. On the first day of the virtual vocational program, only three students out of 180 expressed an interest in pursuing a career as a craft worker. At the end of the 9-week program, approximately 50% of students were interested.
“We want to reframe the conversation for students about options for a career path to end the stigma of college as a necessary first step for everyone,” said Allison Meadows, Sherwood H.S. teacher and Future Farmers of America club advisor. “We aim to empower every student, whichever career they choose to pursue, to show they can have very successful and fulfilling careers in a variety of trades.”
Meadows and Dickover are repeating the class and have 140 students enrolled this session with plans to expand the trades program in the 2021-2022 school year.
“This program is a continuation of our plan to provide strong education and career opportunities for all Sherwood students,” said Sherwood High School’s Principal, Melissa Baran. “Our new school will include a state-of-the-art career and technical education wing that will host all future vocational courses.”
The new 350,000-square foot school will also feature a skybridge and four-story classroom wing with 110 classrooms – 12 just for the sciences. Students will also enjoy a new sports stadium with a 2,000-capacity grandstand and a performing arts wing with a 600-seat auditorium.
“We are proud of the key role Rosendin played in helping young people understand more about the construction industry, as well as our role in constructing the new high school building,” said Michelle Doyle, Rosendin Division Manager. “It is the perfect combination of our company’s professional capabilities and community-focused mission.”