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J Bar J makes room for new vocational program


J Bar J Youth Services in Bend is building a new vocational program on its ranch campus east of Bend. To make room for it, Taylor Northwest brought in equipment Wednesday morning to tear down the current building on the site.

The vocational program will teach trades like carpentry, landscaping, woodworking, auto repair and computer technology, among other things.

The program director said the skills will put the boys in a position to contribute to the community in ways they might not be able to otherwise.

“These kids are underserved, typically in high school, and may not go on to higher education, but certainly have a lot to offer both the community and employers, and we want to position them to be ready to be a part of the family, be a part of the community, and be a part of Oregon,” Program Director Amy Fraley said.

One of the board members at J Bar J said the skills the boys will learn are in demand in Central Oregon.

“The subcontractors can’t find people that know anything about it,” Don Smith said. “These kids in the program learn to take responsibility for their actions, and now we want to give them something to be responsible for, which is getting a real job and helping the subcontractors in Bend.”

J Bar J has already raised a big chunk of the nearly $500,000 needed to build the vocational school, getting donations from local Rotary Clubs and foundations.

Learn more about the new program here.

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