February 23, 2018

Three Lakes and Riverside High School Students Expand Career Options with Forklift Training

From: Marcia Latta

Riverside High School students are putting their new forklift to good use. So far, 15 students have completed the on-site certification program, which will qualify them to work in high-demand, medium-skilled jobs as material movers for factories or warehouses. 
The forklift was purchased for Oak Creek Correctional Facility students by Oregon Youth Authority last year to provide another career training option for students. “We are excited about being able to offer this certification as an additional skill to put in our student's bag of ‘job readiness’,” said Principal Joy Koenig.
MESD teachers Greg McGowan and Roger Snell have earned certification to teach the basics of forklift safety and material moving operations. They follow a standardized forklift safety training program that emphasizes safe use and proper operations. The program includes an interactive PowerPoint presentation, followed up by a test. All of the information is based on federal and state regulations. The final process is a hands-on practical exam and proficiency test that includes a course with pylons and pallets to simulate some of the physical obstacles one may face in a warehouse. 
The certification takes each student several weeks. “It is comprehensive,” said Snell. “We make sure they know what they are doing,” he said. 
Forklift training is a popular program in both schools. “Driving a forklift is really cool, and I didn’t know I could do it,” said one student. “It’s not easy, but it is fun.”
This training is one of the many new training programs at Three Lakes and Riverside. “With tangible skills like driving a tractor, welding, and using a forklift, obtaining a degree – not to mention the ability to think critically, synthesize and analyze research, and even leave with some college – our students leave with the ability to do better. They have more opportunities than they had before,” said Koenig. 
One of MESD's other OYA schools, Ocean Dunes in Florence, also offers forklift training for their students. Both OYA employee Marc Barnum and MESD's Kelly Kawahara are certified in forklift training. 
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