Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

New PCC program aims to satisfy its demand for skilled workers

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The field of civil engineering has been pandemic proof and able to grow its business despite other industries being hampered by the impacts of the virus. As a result, jobs in this field continue to grow and the need for trained workers is increasing.

In response, Portland Community College has created the Civil and Construction Engineering Technology Program (CCET). The program, which is based at the Sylvania Campus in Southwest Portland, will offer a two-year Associate of Science degree that provides technician training for employment within the public and private infrastructure construction and maintenance fields.

The curriculum, which replaces the former Civil and Mechanical Engineering Technology Program, incorporates hands-on training with the latest in technology.  CCET emphasizes materials testing, inspection, plan reading, surveying, project management, civil computer-aided drafting (CAD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Instructor Tara Nelson supervises student Zachary McKay during a civil and mechanical engineering materials testing lab.

Instructor Tara Nelson supervises student Zachary McKay during a civil and mechanical engineering materials testing lab pre-pandemic.

Starting this fall term on Monday, Sept. 27, the program is opening its doors to students and has a goal of enrolling 20 students. For any in-person classes or labs, faculty and students will follow stated college health and safety protocols required for the face-to-face portion of this class.

“This is a new program that was created using industry input,” said Tara Nelson, faculty chair of the program. “The CCET program will offer a blend of remote learning, online and hybrid courses. With the new infrastructure bill passed nationally, and the growing need to upgrade our infrastructure, we expect that the demand for technicians in this field will increase in the next several years.

“Program faculty and staff are supportive and responsive and will create opportunities to learn in a mixture of both online and face-to-face,” she continued. “This is a program for students who want to make a difference in their community.”

The new CCET degree will incorporate project- and community-based learning, as well as use industry examples. Faculty will train qualified workers for jobs in local municipalities like the City of Portland, City of McMinnville, Washington County, as well as private companies like KPFF Consulting Engineers and David Evans & Associates.

“To create this degree, we focused on what local civil engineering technicians told us they do on-the-job on a daily basis,” said Greg Gerstner, CCET instructor. “The result is a more focused industry-specific degree that will create industry-ready employees. We’re excited to get started.”

For more information about the Civil and Construction Engineering Technology Program, visit pcc.edu/ccet/.

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 »