Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Think Powerful: Transform the Community Through Opportunity

PCC creates opportunity for students from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences while promoting economic and community development through mutually beneficial partnerships, community engagement, and agile workforce development programs that are responsive to community and business needs, promote lifelong learning, and develop exciting opportunities in emerging and existing industries.

Overview

PCC directly touches one in eight lives in the Portland metropolitan area. With "community" as its middle name, PCC is an integral part of the overall P-20 education picture and plays a key role in promoting the overall success and economic vitality of the region. Increasingly, student success at PCC requires that the college connect with the community in four directions: at K–12 to ensure adequate preparation for college and awareness of PCC as a preferred post-secondary option; at four-year institutions to ensure PCC’s programs are guiding students toward completion; with business and industry to ensure the college provides training that helps both students and emerging industries grow, succeed and develop a vibrant workforce; and with continuing education students to meet the need for lifelong learning, growth and development.

Automotive students with car

Strategic Intentions

  • 4-1 PCC builds partnerships with local school districts and community-based organizations to develop programs that focus curricula and planning on college readiness and inform pre-college students of the advantages of PCC as an educational resource.
  • 4-2 PCC’s innovative partnerships with government agencies, foundations and private sector entrepreneurs act as incubators for new products, industries, and ways of doing business – while developing academic and internship programs that prepare PCC students, faculty, staff and partners with knowledge and skills to pioneer innovations.
  • 4-3 PCC promotes economic development in the community by creating partnerships and providing education and training focused on small and emerging business development. PCC’s agility becomes an effective force in attracting new business and industries to the region.
  • 4-4 PCC creates opportunities for lifelong learning and civic engagement with Career Technical Education, skill-based, and Community Education that empowers, enlightens and expands horizons for students of all ages and prior education levels.
  • 4-5 PCC creates a seamless connection among high schools, higher education institutions and local employers, increasing high school completions, students seeking four-year degrees, employment in higher wage occupations, and acquisition of high levels of in-demand skills.
  • 4-6 PCC’s elected Board of Directors serve as ambassadors to all sectors of the community and advocate effectively for the college and the students it serves.
  • 4-7 PCC implements a responsive approach to meet the current and unrecognized needs of students and community partners.

A Living Example

Virginia Young and Janie Lowe
Virginia Young and Janie Lowe standing in their paint store

Virginia Young and Janie Lowe had a dream to make the world more colorful. Originally artists from New York, the two came to Portland with the idea of starting an environmentally sustainable paint business – one that would capture warm, vibrant colors without adding harmful chemicals to people’s homes.

Together they launched a fledgling eco-paint company called Colorhouse, which they managed and staffed themselves. Business was good, but they lacked the tools and knowledge needed to build their capacity. That’s when they came to PCC’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

"We wanted to change our service-based business into a business that could be more than just ourselves," said Young. "I had to repeat to myself over and over to delegate and move on to the next thing – to work on the business and not in the business."

SBDC counselors helped Young and Lowe with marketing, distribution, business and financial reporting systems. The lessons worked like a charm: today Colorhouse is a competitive paint business and lifestyle brand on the national market.

In a city where nearly 95 percent of all companies employ fewer than 50 people, PCC’s SBDC provides a vital service to entrepreneurs such as Young and Lowe. By helping independent business owners, PCC serves as an engine for the economic vitality of our region.

What We're Doing

Here's a few recent examples of how we're putting our strategic intentions to work!

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