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PCC adds retail management to its program shelf
Photos and Story by James Hill
The state of Oregon has approved a new associate’s degree program that will help train future workers of the local retail industry.
Portland Community College’s Retail Management degree, based at the Rock Creek Campus (17705 N.W. Springville Road), will start this fall and was developed in partnership with the regional Western Association of Food Chains. The college, which already offers a certificate option, partnered with Kroger, Safeway, Haggen and Albertsons on the new program. According to Cherie Phipps, education director for the association, all Portland area grocery chains are excited about the new degree and are marketing the program to their employees.
Dale Bennett, training and development manager for the Intermountain West division of Albertsons, confirms that $5,000 in tuition, book and fee reimbursement is available for employees who take one class per quarter.
“The tuition reimbursement application process is rigorous and the program is designed to assist those associates desiring a career in retail management (who) have demonstrated by their performance an aptitude for this career,” he said.
According to Rock Creek Business and Humanities Division Dean Cheryl Scott, who is spearheading the new program, Haggen offers a similar incentive with a pay increase upon graduation.
However, the skills learned in the degree do not limit graduates to the grocery industry; new grads can apply their skills to all aspects of the retail sector. Program classes include accounting, HR management, macro and microeconomics, small business management, retailing, e-retailing and sales. A bonus: students already taking the three-month certificate option can begin applying their credits toward the degree. In addition, an official relationship between the 17 retail management programs at Oregon community colleges and the statewide Retail Management Consortium gives students mobility and flexibility in finishing this degree.
“If a student is working in Roseburg and has an opportunity to transfer in their position to Portland, he or she can continue the program at PCC and not lose any credits,” Scott said.
Both the certificate and degree options teach skills identified by the retail industry – as represented by the Western Association of Food Chains – which desires to provide a program of study for retail employees and for students who would like to advance to retail store supervision, store management and corporate leadership. Many regional employers encourage their employees to enroll in this course of study to enhance their professional development opportunities.