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This content was published: September 29, 2014. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

Swan Island Trades Center opens for first classes

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September 29, 2014
By Karen Kane

The new Swan Island Trades Center was officially opened on Sept. 17, 2014. Classes began the following Monday.

The new Swan Island Trades Center was officially opened Sept. 17, 2014. Classes began the following Monday.

The Swan Island Trades Center opened for its first set of classes Monday Sept. 22. With 250 students registered in 49 classes, the brand-spanking new center is alive with activity.

“It’s exciting to see the end result,” said Rick Willebrand, Trades and Industry department chair and instructor. “To start with an old building used for a completely different purpose and end up a year later with classrooms sporting the best technology is motivating. It’s gratifying to know we are serving our students as well as the local business community.

The Trades Center, at 6400 N. Cutter Circle, is a direct result of the Portland Community College’s 2008 voter-approved $374 million capital construction bond. PCC invested $4.4 million from the bond, along with $1 million from the Department of Community College and Workforce Development, to purchase a five-acre property and 11,000 square-foot building. An additional 9,000 square feet was added to the building to increase classroom and lab capacity.

Community outreach from the bond program specifically showed the need for workers skilled in the trades, particularly for businesses in the city core, making the location an ideal site.  The new center, the nearby Cascade Campus and expertise from PCC’s CLIMB Center now create a premier resource for continuing education, training/retraining and professional development for Swan Island businesses.

To illustrate its commitment to working with local businesses, the new Trades Center was officially opened during a joint meeting with the Swan Island Business Association.  The event took place on Sept. 17, when  PCC President Jeremy Brown, Swan Island Business Association Executive Director Sarah Angell and Cascade Campus President Karin Edwards officially cut the ribbon on the new center.

The new facility provides more than 20,000 square feet of classroom and lab space for CTE and professional development classes. PCC also maintains a welding classroom and welding shop at Vigor Industrial at its nearby shipyard at 555 N. Channel Ave.

But the new center offers an additional benefit for those in the trades. Through the Oregon Community College Apprenticeship Consortium, a unique partnership with Oregon’s other 16 community colleges, students can earn AAS degrees and Certifications of Completion in a host of other trades.

“This pathway program will help provide Oregon businesses like those on Swan Island a wealth of highly skilled workers.” said Willebrand, “and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

See opening celebration photos

PCC’S 2008 voter-approved $374 million bond program is increasing opportunities for residents to access quality, affordable higher education close to where they live and work. Additional classrooms, updated equipment and technology, and advanced workforce training programs are helping to pave the way for future employment options. For more information, visit www.pcc.edu/about/bond/about

About Karen Kane

Karen Kane is the Community Relations Manager for the Sylvania Campus. A passionate storyteller and communicator, Karen has told the stories for several organizations in Portland, including the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and the ... more »