Applications deadline for OTEC Scholarships is January 31

BAKER CITY – Applications are being accepted for several scholarships through Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative.  Joseph E. Hathaway, Communications Manager for OTEC sat down with Elkhorn Media Group to discuss the scholarships, what they are and how those who are interested can apply. 

(Q) When will those who are interested be able to apply for the scholarships?

(A) Our academic scholarships opened up on November 1st and most of them close January 31st. So, we’re just trying to get the word out as much as we can.

(Q) What sort of scholarships are available?

(A) The academic scholarships, we have one for graduating high school seniors, that is open to all graduating high school seniors across our service territory, including homeschool students.

Then we have a returning college student and adult scholarship.  We really want to emphasize the adult aspect of that too. Because a lot of people see that and just think it is for returning college students.  We need to get information out that adults can apply to.  If you’re looking to return to college or start college for the first time, we really want we want people to know that anyone can basically apply if they are an OTEC member, an active OTEC member, you are eligible to apply for a scholarship.

It is also important to mention that this is the second year we have had the OTEC/EOU Rural Scholarship Program.  This is a big one we are really excited about.

(Q) What does that scholarship entail? 

(A) The opportunity to attend Eastern Oregon University for four years with all tuition and fees paid.  It’s a great partnership that we have with EOU.

(Q) How can people apply?

 (A) It is super easy to apply to go to

We have a list of all the scholarships so if you see one or several they want to apply to, just click on the link and it will take you to our website SmartSelect, a website that we use for scholarships and applications, it’s a really easy process.

(Q) How are recipients chosen?

(A) We have committees in each county, scholarship committees made up of different community leaders and educators. It is a confidential committee. So, there’s no conflict of interest and in each one of the counties they review the applications and then they bring forth the recommendations for the OTEC board to approve. 

(Q) Is there anything else about the application process or the scholarships that you wanted to mention that you haven’t already?

(A) It’s really important to remember that if you are applying, especially those who are applying to Eastern Oregon University’s, apply for both the graduating high school and the OTEC/EOU.  And we really want to emphasis the deadline, January 31st. All scholarships require three letters of recommendation and sometimes it takes a while for those applicants to get those letters back those people, and we don’t want to have any applicant not be eligible because they missed deadlines. So, try to apply early as early as you can perfect. 

(Q) You also wanted to mention Trade School and Lineman School?

(A) Yes, we also offer, we are proud to offer Trade School and Lineman School Scholarships year-round. Those are great opportunities, especially trade school for this day and age.  Sometimes college isn’t for all students, but you know, there’s a lot of demand and high-paying jobs out there for kids who want to get in trade.  

People have the opportunity to go to trade school, to leave trade school pretty much debt free with a high paying job. So, it’s a really good opportunity.  We offer four of those each year. And those are open year-round.

For the lineman school we offer two 5,000 dollar scholarships for anyone interested in working in the electric utility industry and that’s a really good opportunity too.

(Q) Any final comments?

(A) At OTEC we’re owned by the community. And anytime we can we want to give back to the communities that we serve and we know that education powers leaders of tomorrow and with our commitment to community youth education we are really pleased to be offering scholarships to eligible students and adults across all our service territory. 

We are committed to helping our future leaders grow in our scholarship program.  We recognize our responsibility to support the communities we serve. And we are proud to sponsor these educational opportunities for members and their families in Baker, Grant, Harney and Union Counties.