Rumbling bass can be heard from blocks away. It’s June. It’s a celebration. The city of Albany, Oregon is hosting the 7th annual Albany Pride event downtown, in front of the Linn County Courthouse. 

The Hub had a table demonstrating support for the local LGBTQIA+ community, and welcoming all to hand-make a graphic button while discussing the benefits of STEAM activities in the classroom and the empowering nature of career technical education. Knowledge is power – especially for those groups that are fighting for empowerment, recognition, and acceptance. 

The Hub was in good company, our partners Linn-Benton Community College and Ophelia’s Place were also in attendance. Even Governor Kotek made a surprise appearance at the event. 

In these times, it is important to show welcoming support to marginalized groups into educational spaces, one of which being young LGBTQIA+ people. Pursuing an education in STEAM and the skilled trades can help lower the staggering poverty rate of LGBTQIA+ adults in the US. According to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, “LGBTQIA+ people collectively have a poverty rate of 21.6%, which is much higher than the rate for cisgender straight people of 15.7%”.

By supporting one another, everyone in Linn and Benton counties has the opportunity to flourish in economic prosperity. 

Careers like mechatronics and non-destructive testing technicians, welders, graphic designers, phlebotomists, and surgical technicians can be obtained with certificates and degrees in two years or less. These types of jobs pay livable wages and offer room for growth into high-paying careers. 

If this sounds like something you or a young person you know would be interested in pursuing, check out some of the career technical education programs at Linn-Benton Community College.