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Portland Community College Gets High Marks from Columbia County

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According to a recent survey conducted of Columbia County residents for Portland Community College, the college is well known and respected in the County. The survey, conducted by Public Affairs Council in Salem, found that 57 percent of Columbia County residents rate PCC as excellent or pretty good, and 59 percent believe the college is meeting the educational and training needs of the County. The remaining residents did not know the college well enough to offer an opinion.

Portland Community College commissioned the survey to determine how it could better meet the needs of residents of the County. "We want to provide educational services to all parts of our district, and for several years have been told we could do better for Columbia County," said Dan Moriarty, college president. "We wanted to get a scientific reading of the thoughts and needs of the County so we can plan improvements, and believe we have some very useful information to help us do so," he added.

One of the key findings of the survey was that residents want more computer and business classes in St. Helens and Scappoose. Other classes requested were "personal interest," vocational/training and languages.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents indicated they have access to a computer at home, at work or at both locations. More than half say they would consider taking a PCC course over the Internet, although a large number (62 percent) were not aware PCC offered such courses.

A majority of residents (58 percent) say that the PCC schedule of classes mailed to homes is their best source of information about the college, followed by flyers or direct mail (17 percent). Three-fourths (75 percent) of County residents remember receiving the class schedule in the mail, and of those 73 percent said they read or look through it. A very high percentage of County residents (87 percent) say they read their community newspaper.

"These findings indicate we need to offer more computer courses in the County and we plan to beef up our offerings in that arena. Also, we know for sure now that people find out about PCC through our Schedule of Classes," said Ed Kaiel, PCC’s community education coordinator for Columbia County. "We were also pleased to learn that a large majority (65 percent) of survey respondents know that PCC has an office in St. Helens," Kaiel added. "This means that we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping people informed about the college."

The survey was conducted in November 1997, of more than 300 adults in the PCC district in Columbia County. It was conducted by telephone and has a margin of error rate of plus or minus 5 percent. This means that the responses are 95 percent accurate for the County as a whole.

For further information about the survey or PCC offerings in Columbia County, contact Ed Kaiel in Portland at (503) 978-5303 or in St. Helens at (503) 397-1311.