Program Overview

What We Do:

The Martin Luther King Education Center serves middle and high school students who have an active case with the Lane County Department of Youth Services (DYS). This program is a collaboration between DYS and the Lane Education Service District (Lane ESD). DYS staff are primarily responsible for campus safety, competency development, and vocational development. Lane ESD staff concentrate on teaching and assisting in academic goals and achievement.

Collaboration between agencies is a main component of the M.L.K. Ed. Center program. Partnerships with the M.L.K. Ed. Center include, The Center for Family Development (C.F.D.), which offers individual/family counseling and support for those students who would like extra help in this area. Additionally, CFD and local area colleges, such as the University of Oregon and Lane Community College, provide tutors and interns to work one-on-one with students to assist in overall program and youth development. The Lane Workforce Partnership, a federal workforce investment act grant, presents internships and employment support for youth.

 The purpose of the Martin Luther King Education Center is to provide wrap-around services and support to juvenile offenders who have experienced multiple interruptions in a traditional school placement. Because of the unique services we offer, we have observed dramatic, positive changes in youth’s behavior, performance, and attitude. With the combination of our educational/vocational program, we have seen an enhanced sense of campus safety and community for all youth. We are proud to note that the overall reading and math scores of students enrolled in the M.L.K. Ed. Center have increased by two grade levels and recidivism/re-offense has shown a 70% reduction.

Academic Component

The M.L.K. Ed. Center focuses on two main areas of academic education. The first option provides a setting for youth to work on earning credits and getting back on track towards obtaining a traditional or modified diploma. A second option concentrates on preparation towards earning a General Equivalency Degree (G.E.D.). Youth in the G.E.D. Program are age sixteen and above and lack sufficient credits to obtain a traditional high school diploma. Additionally, we have licensed staff in Special Education and Instructional Assistants in every classroom.

Vocational Component

The M.L.K. Ed. Center also focuses on job skills education and offers afternoon vocational programs to all youth. These programs teach not only job skills, but also offers students hands-on learning about careers and vocational paths. The vocational programs we offer consist of culinary arts, technology, and horticulture.

The Culinary Arts Program offers youth the opportunity to learn different jobs involved in food service and catering. Students gain skills and learn to safely use the equipment in an institutional and commercial kitchen that prepares meals for youth in detention, a residential treatment program, and M.L.K. Ed. Center. Students may participate in all aspects of catering including preparing foods, serving, customer service, set-up/take-down, and dishes. Each student will complete the Oregon Food Handlers Course and obtain their Food Handler’s Card that is valid for three years.

The Technology Program offers youth valuable experience in job training and knowledge surrounding the ever-growing industry of technology. One of the community agencies we are fortunate to partner with, NextStep Recycling, offers paid apprenticeships to youth refurbishing donated computers destined for donation in primary schools in places such as Guatemala. Further, the Technology Program also provides supplementary tours of technology-related firms in our area.

The Horticulture Program offers youth training in horticulture and landscaping techniques. The youth are involved with the building of a greenhouse, propagation of nursery plants, stream restoration and general landscape work. Young people in the Horticulture Program have worked on projects for the Bureau of Land Management, the City of Eugene, Birth to Three, and the Lane County Department of Youth Services. Future projects will include Lane County Parks and the U.S. Forest Service.

At the Martin Luther King Education Center, we pride ourselves on offering services tailored to the youth referred to our program, through a campus wide system of Positive Behavior Support. We provide opportunities for students to develop skills for success in school, at work, and in the community.

"My confidence in myself has increased, and I am better at talking and working with others.  I now believe more in my potential and would like to get another job working outside. Before, I was kind of shy and didn’t really talk to anyone, and now I like to be around people and talk to them.
Thank you very much.  I have enjoyed this experience a lot!"