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This content was published: June 10, 2005. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

PCC Unveils New Plan to Business, Industry Leaders

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PORTLAND, Ore. – PCC is taking care of business. The college hosted an informational breakfast at the Portland Hilton on Tuesday, June 7, to solicit ideas for better service to the business community. PCC breakfast. Approximately 40 business leaders from the Portland metropolitan area offered feedback and comments. District President Preston Pulliams, who initiated a reorganization of the college’s business services, provided the welcome. Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Nan Poppe served as emcee. The group of business executives included Steve Pratt, president and CEO of ESCO Corp., Keith Fuller, director of strategic recruiting and organizational development of Fred Meyer, Cher Hinerman, Intel Corp human capital manager, Diana Daggett Oregon Public Affairs manager of Intel Corp, Robert Pallari, president and CEO of Legacy Health System, to name a few. Also on hand were editors and publishers from The Oregonian, Business Journal and Portland Tribune, as well as former Portland City Commissioner Jim Francesconi, who serves as a consultant to PCC on the initiative. Steve Pratt of ESCO and Hinerman of Intel highlighted the valuable partnerships the companies have with PCC in training their workforce. Other executives said they liked the idea of having one point of contact for business and industry. ESCO Corp worker. Elizabeth King, manager of education, training and development for ESCO, was also on hand to hear about the colleges new ideas for serving business.Earlier in the year, she participated in a customer service survey for her company to help gauge PCC’s short-term and customized training effectiveness. Currently, the college is helping ESCO’s non-native speakers learn specialized English for their jobs. "The training has been excellent," said King. "The college, however, is connected only at the training level, not at the executive level. To increase that value, for us and other companies, I believe PCC needs to make a stronger connection with senior-level management. That way, the training gains we have made will be easier to sustain."The need for stronger ties to a company’s senior executives is just one recommendation from a report called "The Portland Community College Education to Business Initiative." The plan will help the college better deliver business services to the regions employers. In the report, the college conducted a survey of key clients to gauge its effectiveness. The survey revealed that although businesses are generally satisfied with the actual training, development and recruitment services, there were challenges in ‘doing business’ with PCC due to a lack of single point of contact, a brand identity and the need for a stronger focus on business needs. Preston Pulliams, PCC President, knows there are market opportunities for the college to gain vital partners and become a leader for workforce development and economic development in the region. In turn, the increased focus on business training will bring in additional revenues to the college’s general fund. He is seeking support from Oregon’s congressional delegation to support the plan for The Center for Business and Industry."We have strong interest from our congressional delegation to bring this more focused, and strategic business training to our region," said Pulliams. The college is requesting $533,000 in federal start-up dollars to get the initiative off the ground, with self-supporting revenue intended by fiscal year 2010. In addition, PCC is proposing $200,000 from its general fund each year for three years.Congressman David Wu, is behind the proposal. "I am pleased to support Portland Community College in their efforts to restructure and enhance their partnership with Oregon businesses," he said. "Together, PCC and business leaders can better identify and address the needs of the labor market. Such efforts will result in a well-trained workforce that is able to adapt to the demands of Oregon’s dynamic economy."The five-year plan proposes an increase in market share to $4.7 million from its current $3.2 million by fiscal year 2010.Paul Wild, director of workforce training for PCC, sees great benefits in implementing the new reorganization. "PCC is a large institution with a lot of pockets, but not one face that works with industry that says, ‘we value your partnership.’ With this proposed business model, we have now created a better mechanism to respond to business and industry needs."Wild said the college wants to get to a point where they are able to anticipate business training needs by identifying trends and getting ahead to serve customers in a more timely way. "Business moves so quickly, so if we can identify the trends, and make an institutional and organizational commitment to raise our focus on their needs, we will better serve this community," he said.Some of the stumbling blocks in the past revolve around credit training and connecting with company CEOs and CFOs."We found out that what we deliver far outstrips our reputation with senior-level executives. This virtual center we are building will hopefully change that," Wild added. The college used a September 2004 report from the US Department of Education to guide its study, "The 21st Century Community Colleges: A Strategic Guide to Maximizing Labor Market Responsiveness."The key recommendations for the PCC plan include standard pricing, centralization of business services, integrated marketing for brand identity and the development of a centralized client-relationship management system for all the business service programs. Also included are standard measurement metrics, implementation teams, centralized marketing and two additional staff to facilitate the single-point-of contact concept and adopt the funding model.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, is the Director of Public Relations at Portland Community College. A graduate of Portland State University, James has worked as a section editor for the Newberg Graphic... more »