About Innovate Willamina

How did Innovate Willamina start?

When a local community member discovered what OnlineNW was doing in Dayton, they explained what a great opportunity Willamina would be for the program. After a group of interested community members met with the directors of OnlineNW and Innovate Oregon, they formed a committee for Innovate Willamina and the rest is history. Their goal is to bring community members, businesses, and the Willamina School District together to launch this incredible opportunity to inspire learning and creativity.

Innovate Oregon is a strategic initiative launched by the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) focused on re-imagining how we develop the talent needed to build an inclusive, innovation-based economy. This initiative recognizes that every aspect of our economy is being rapidly transformed by new digital technologies and that it is essential we develop a workforce with the skills and mindsets necessary for innovation.

The partnership of Innovate Oregon and the Willamina School District has been transformative for the school and the community. Not only has Willamina established its own Innovate initiative, the school is continuing to develop new teaching methodologies utilizing an agile learning approach modeled after leading industry practices. It has launched a new Career Academy and is piloting its first after-school team focused on building and using autonomous drones in agricultural applications.

What is happening currently?

Willamina is currently embarking upon a campaign to gather as many pre-registrations as possible to make their community the next choice for fiber internet. This campaign includes sending post cards through the mail, utilizing social media, and visiting neighbors to spread the word. They have until October 31st to get 40% of households to pre-register.

On Oct. 8th there will be a Make-A-Thon event, organized by Willamina School District, where community members and youth will come together to solve a problem utilizing technology. It is sponsored by OnlineNW, Innovate Oregon, and SparkFun Electronics. The Make-A-Thon begins at 8:30 am and the public will be allowed to view a showcase beginning at 2:30 pm. The event will be located at the Willamina High School cafeteria. If you’re interested in participating, please call Superintendent Carrie Zimbrick at 503-876-1501.

Once fiber internet is available in Willamina, the committee and school will embark on several strategic agreements with companies to develop new innovation initiatives with a particular focus on issues related to agriculture, the mainstay of our local economy.

How can I help?

There are two ways to help out this initiative. First, you can pre-register for OnlineNW, there is no obligation! Signing up simply means you would be interested if fiber internet were available. Second, we want to provide the students at Willamina High School with every opportunity to grow as we continue to develop a culture of innovation. This involves not only monetary support, but also mentorship and skill support.  If you, or someone you know has a special skill that you think would be beneficial to students growth, please contact the school for more information.

Thank you!

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