PCC secures funding for pathways to jobs for underrepresented students, small business and veterans

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Portland Community College has scored more than $250,000 through three grants that pave the way for people to get critical employment training.

The largest of the three is a $175,000, two-year award to the PCC Foundation from the Meyer Memorial Trust. The funding will implement the Workforce Connect Program, which aims to build job readiness skills for underrepresented, first-generation and low-income high school students in Columbia, Multnomah and Washington counties.Luis

The new initiative will tap the resources of the college’s successful Future Connect and Career Pathways programs to bolster access for these students in career and technical education (CTE). Students will receive integrated coaching and scholarship support to improve student achievement, postsecondary completion, and career readiness. Long term, Workforce Connect seeks to to help create careers for these students with the region’s top employers, at the same time it builds workforce diversity.

“Workforce Connect improves access to career and technical education pathways for incoming high school students,” said Kate Kinder, director of PCC’s Career Pathways and Skills Training. “These pathways can offer economic mobility and careers with advancement opportunities. They also build upon the best practices of successful program models to increase workforce diversity and equitable opportunity in our community. The project aligns outreach, college and career counseling, and wraparound services to increase CTE enrollment and completion for first-generation/low-income students.”

For more details, contact Career Pathways and Skills Training Director Kate Kinder at (971) 722-6271, or by email at skinder@pcc.edu, or Future Connect Manager Josh Laurie at (971) 722-6119, or at josh.laurie@pcc.edu.

SBDC to use Zidell funding to help small biz owners

PCC’s Small Business Development Center received a $10,000 grant from the Zidell Family Foundation to create a small business scholarship for owners who want to take their enterprise to the next level.

The grant will provide scholarships to selected owners, who will receive training within one of three tracks – retail business builders, restaurant business builders, or retail small business management. The scholarship will allow participants to attend the program’s classes at the college’s CLIMB Center in Southeast Portland, where they will learn essential business skills required to grow a healthy company.Luis

“The entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset,” said Charlene Zidell, board chair of the Zidell Family Foundation. “It’s an attitude that embraces innovation and seeks out change. The Zidell Family Foundation prizes humble beginnings, and we celebrate the spirit to build something great from a unique idea. It is our privilege to partner with PCC and the SBDC to provide training, support and specific education to help today’s entrepreneurs achieve their goals and attain long-term success for themselves and their families.”

PCC’s SBDC is uniquely positioned to take advantage of such philanthropy. The center provides business advising and training to small businesses in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Columbia, and Yamhill counties. It works to connect small businesses with specialized statewide services through the state’s network of 18 SBDCs.

“Every day they face challenges in starting and growing their businesses, accessing resources, and learning how to be a business owner,” said Tammy Marquez-Oldham, director of PCC’s Small Business Development Center and Global Trade Center. “The Zidell Family Foundation grant supports opportunities for learning, growing and engaging with other small businesses, specifically retail and restaurant small businesses. This grant will make a difference for these small business owners.”

For enrollment information, call (503) 939-8648, or email leslie.hildula15@pcc.edu.

Southeast Veterans Resource Center now a reality thanks to state grant

PCC secured a $85,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs to bolster its Veteran Resource Centers across the college’s district.

The funding will primarily help expand the Southeast Campus Veteran Resource Center (82nd Avenue and Division), and increase staffing and enhance programming throughout the college. The goal of the grant is to support veterans arriving to PCC, help them achieve their educational goals, and transition them into the workforce.Luis

The center is needed. There are about 140 student veterans whose primary campus is Southeast, with many more veterans traveling from other campuses across the district to take classes. According to Steve Gordon, PCC’s VetSuccess on Campus counselor, veteran resource centers are considered to be vital in helping veterans transition from military service to college life where they complete their education and, ultimately, move on to a successful career.

“It is awesome that the Southeast Campus is getting a veterans resource center,” Gordon said. “One of the most important predictors of veterans’ success in college is whether they’re able to to connect with other student veterans who have made good transitions. Veterans resource centers connect incoming student veterans with a community of support. It’s a great retention tool.”

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

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