Oregon Tech Welcomes First High School Students into Transformational Business Partnership

The first 30 high school students were welcomed into Oregon Institute of Technology’s, “Oregon Tech’s,” Diploma to Degree program Wednesday, which will provide a gateway to college for Oregon high school students interested in business. The first of many scheduled launches were held at Mazama and Henley high schools as Oregon Tech presented checks for $1200 to each school to support the Future Business Leaders of American (FBLA) or DECA program at the high schools.

The events marked the launch for the Diploma to Degree program that was first previewed in April by the MOU signing between Oregon Tech President, Dr. Nagi Naganathan; Klamath Falls City School District Superintendent, Dr. Paul Hillyer; and Klamath County School District Superintendent, Glen Szymoniak. The program also referred to as “Jump into Business,” will provide increased access for high school students to business degree programs at Oregon Tech.

“My hope is for students to recognize this opportunity and use it to prepare themselves for the future,” said Mazama High School teacher and FBLA adviser, Sergio Cisneros. “The Diploma to Degree: Jump into Business program is yet another example of our schools’ commitment to serving and preparing our students. This new program not only allows students to work toward a rewarding career in business, but also provides resources for students to make their professional aspirations a reality.”

Students at participating high schools who are active participants in business clubs and take dual credit courses can apply for this accelerated pathway to a college degree. High school graduates in the program who enroll in an Oregon Tech bachelor’s degree program in Business will receive tuition discounts on their first and last terms at Oregon Tech. The program guides students into early credit opportunities while in high school, resulting in considerable savings of time and money, with seamless transfer and zero loss of credit for those who pursue a business degree at Oregon Tech. Dual credit courses taken as part of the program will also transfer to other Oregon colleges and universities.

A sophomore at Mazama, Brandon Gailey is currently enrolled in dual credit Advanced Chemistry and is excited to be part of the Diploma to Degree program. “I’ve always grown up in a business environment,” said Brandon. “My dad owns his own company so I felt like it’s a perfect fit.” Brandon plans to continue taking dual credit courses throughout high school to get a jump start when he starts college.

The partnership is the first of this kind, with the program expanding to business programs at five high schools in Oregon this academic year. Additional celebrations and recognition of students accepted into the program will be held at Klamath Union High School and Lost River High School, and Hidden Valley High School in Josephine County. Discussions are also underway with South Salem High School, which hosts the largest business program in the state. Business club sponsorship amounts are based on how many students are members of the clubs.

Klamath Union DECA adviser, Nat Ellis, is excited to bring the program to his students: “Oregon Tech developed a stellar business program with many options for students,” he shared. “Creating a link between Klamath Union courses, DECA and Oregon Tech will allow students to continue studying business at a high level while getting a kick-start in high school. I look forward to how this partnership will grow both KU and Oregon Tech programs.”

Professor Sandra Bailey, faculty lead from Oregon Tech’s Business Management Department, looks forward to using the program to build upon high school experiences known to increase persistence in college. “The experience students gain through FBLA and DECA competitions at the regional, state and national levels is invaluable,” stated Professor Bailey. “Oregon Tech is happy to support student participation in co-curricular activities developing professionalism and acquiring leadership and business skills.”

Specifically, the goals of this partnership are to:

  • Reduce barriers for students as they work toward and achieve their educational goals
  • Create new opportunities for students to access accelerated learning through dual credit courses at their high schools and on the Oregon Tech campus
  • Provide seamless coursework from high school to a bachelor’s in the field of Business at Oregon Tech
  • Improve student success, retention, time to degree and degree attainment

Alex Lumbreras, a Henley High School sophomore, was accepted into Oregon Tech’s Jump into Business Diploma to Degree program. He is interested in studying business at Oregon Tech after high school graduation. “I think it’s going to create new opportunities for me,” said Alex. “I’m interested in business, but I’m still debating. I’m interested in entrepreneurship and marketing.”

“Regardless of students’ future plans, business classes provide them with opportunities to rise to the top of their respective fields,” shared Henley High School teacher and DECA advisor, Luke Ovgard. “Though medicine, law, engineering, and education all represent noble professions, businessmen and women run the world.”

The Business & Technology programs at Oregon Tech provide students with technology-infused business skills, giving graduates the edge in today’s data-driven global marketplace. Programs include Accounting, Business Management, Cybersecurity, Health Informatics, Healthcare Management, Information Technology, Operations Management, Marketing, and Technology & Management.

Students apply to the Diploma to Degree Program through their local high school counselor or business teacher and must maintain a high school GPA of 3.0. Students must also participate in FBLA or DECA at their respective high schools. The program tuition discount is stackable with additional scholarships and awards for which students qualify. More information about the program is available at www.oit.edu/jumpintobusiness.

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