Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties don’t have enough high school students to support a regional skills center, the Longview School Board was told Monday night.
Jill Diehl, the district’s coordinator of career and technical education, told the board about recent efforts to create a county skills center similar to those in Clark and Thurston counties. The study group includes representatives from education, government and industry, Diehl said.
Skills centers include courses often taught in partnership with business or industry. Sample classes in the Clark County Skills Center are construction technology, fashion merchandising/management and agricultural science/environmental education.
Starting a center requires a minimum of three programs and a minimum total registration of 150 full-time equivalent students, and the study group concluded that a program here would not attract that many. It learned that increasing graduation requirements for graduation have a negative affect on skills centers because they reduce the number of elective courses students can take.
Kelso High School offers three off-campus regional courses that would fit in a skills center: fire science, police science and health science. Enrollment in that program is well under the 150 minimum, Diehl said. She noted, too, that student enrollment is in decline in the county.
In lieu of creating a skills center, local school districts will be advised to strengthen their existing career and technical education offerings, she said.
In other business, the board decided to hold a budget study session May 20 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Northlake Elementary School.
The board canceled meetings for these dates: June 3 study session and May 27 and July 8 board meetings.