School Opening

New Oregon Technical College Set to Open in April

Baker Technical Institute, a technical college whose main campus is in Baker City, Ore., announced this week that it’s opening a second location in Prineville, Ore., about 200 miles west. According to a press release, the institute will open next month to provide career and technical training to Central Oregon residents to meet the needs of skilled labor in the area. BTI recently received approval and a license from the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) to open the Prineville location.

“Prineville City Manager Steve Forrester, the Shelk Foundation and other local partners had the vision to bring a technical school to the area and connected us with regional employers who shared the need to develop a…highly skilled, licensed workforce,” said BTI President Doug Dalton.

Dalton also said that partnering with regional employers and industry experts to build a curriculum was essential. The ultimate goal is to increase the pool of skilled workers in industries like construction, welding, manufacturing, mechanics, truck driving, and more.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Prineville and the region to train local talent, attract new talent for these nationally recognized courses, and tailor specialized training for our existing industries and companies,” said Kelsey Lucas, Prineville Area Director for Economic Development for Central Oregon. “The hands-on approach implemented by Baker Technical Institute complements the emphasis that the Crook County School District has placed on interactive and practical learning that can be applied across various industries through their Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.”

The release notes that even though half of the Crook County School District’s CTE were cut 20 years ago, the economy has grown since then, and the demand for hands-on workers has once again increased. The American Trucking Association, for example, has estimated that the industry will require about 1.1 million new drivers in the coming decade. The gap comes from both industry growth and the number of seasoned truckers projected to retire.

BTI has consulted with the Professional Truck Driving Institute to learn more about the demand for workers and the skills required, and the new Prineville campus will feature a truck driving school. The four-week truck driving and logistics course set to debut in April will offer students the training required to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

“In today's transportation industry, there is a continuous shortage of truck drivers,” said President of Western Heavy Haul and BTI advisory board member Scott Porfily. “I'm excited about BTI and its approach to a quality hands-on program that will not be just another CDL school. It is a real-life solution for a real-life problem.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].