Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Top Stories Part 1: Student support and success take center stage in 2021

Photos and Story by

In 2021, it was another year of mostly remote learning and work for the Portland Community College community.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, stories abounded of staff and faculty stepping up to support students. The two years of remote operations has challenged all students, especially those experiencing financial hardships or basic needs insecurity. From laptop giveaways to fostering a safe return for many of the college’s career-technical programs, the PCC community stepped up to support equitable student success.

In the next two weeks, we are featuring the top-10 inspirational stories from 2021. This week, we cover stories 10 through 6. Enjoy!

Nursing student washes his hands.

No. 10: Returning to Campuses

Developments and lessons learned during the pandemic and resulting remote operations have put PCC in a good position as it transitioned to a “sustained reopening” phase this past fall. However, as PCC moves to a wider reopening, having employees and students return to a more comprehensive learning and working environment will look very different than before COVID-19.

AI graphic

No. 9: Training the A.I. Workforce

AI is becoming more and more entrenched in people’s lives and in the daily business of companies. In the future, the need for a trained work force in the AI realm is becoming more and more important. Co-chaired by President Mark Mitsui, a statewide task force is looking at leveraging private, public and educational partners to focus on AI education and training.

Student picking up laptop

No. 8: Laptops for Students

In September, the PCC Foundation and Cascade Campus staff handed out 250 Dell Chromebooks and food to PCC students in need. The effort was on top of the college partnering with Comcast’s Internet Essentials and the foundation to cover the cost of internet service for students adversely impacted by the pandemic.

Robert Greenup cooking

No. 7: Recipe for Business Success

Robert Greenup loves noodles and world cuisine. That’s why he opened the Southeast Portland restaurant Baka Umai, which offers Japanese-inspired ramen sources with fresh local ingredients. This dream of owning a business was made possible by attending the Portland Community College Small Business Development Center’s Restaurant Business Builders Program to get advice, resources and ideas on attracting customers.

Katie Dover packs food.

No. 6: Pantry at Home

With campuses still closed last summer, PCC’s student food pantries staff decided to take the food to the students. Volunteers put together 400 boxes of non-perishable food donated by the Oregon Food Bank during the Panther Pantry@Home Project and PCC Bookstore staff loaded the boxes in their operations vehicles and delivered them to students’ homes around the Portland area. This one-time event served up to 200 student parents and guardians who were struggling with food insecurity.

Next week: Part 2!

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 »