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President Obama unveils initiative for community colleges

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President Obama today proposed a $12 billion investment in community colleges across the nation, saying the funding will drive expansions and reforms in the system that are needed to help people get educated in the struggling economy.

To see the Washington Post article on the plan, called the American Graduation Initiative, click here.

Preston Pulliams, president of Portland Community College, today praised the new initiative.

“There could not have been any better news than President Obama’s comments today,” Pulliams said. “It’s good news for PCC, for our many partners in the business community and, most importantly, for our students. This White House initiative acknowledges that community colleges will be a critical component of the economic recovery. This means more innovation in education, more trained Oregonians in the workforce.”

PCC is already doing its part

Several programs now in place at PCC are directly in line with the proposals President Obama outlined, during a speech at Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich.

Distance Education –For those unable to get to PCC campuses, the college has a renowned distance-learning program. From Web-based classes to telecourses to interactive television courses broadcasting classes from campus to campus, PCC is a local leader, which expands the ability of a student to complete their degree.

Future Green Jobs –PCC’s microelectronics and Electronic Engineering Technology programs have joined forces with the likes of SolarWorld, Vestas and other green technology companies to revamp curriculum and expand degree and options. The college currently is hosting a Summer Sustainability Institute to training college and high school instructors on how to tailor their instruction to the demands of future green jobs.

Industry Partnerships –The Swan Island Training Center was formed in 2008 to address the shortage of qualified welders. Vigor Industrial and a band of other local manufacturers teamed with PCC to expand its welding program to North Portland. The workforce development program also has developed partnerships with local chip manufacturing companies to provide free training to potential workers.

Bond Measure –Voters approved a $374 million bond measure last November, which will go a long way in allowing the college to address workforce shortages by expanding workforce training facilities and helping ease the surge in enrollment by modernizing core credit classrooms. By 2020, it is estimate 400,000 more people will move to Portland and PCC will be well positioned to serve them.

Support Care –PCC recently was awarded a half-million-dollar grant from the Portland Children’s Investment Fund to provide access to child care for low-income families. The college also partnered with Kaiser Permanente to provide free healthcare to needy women and their families in the college transitions programs. Both of these initiatives allow more people to continue on to complete their degree that otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance.

About James Hill

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