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U.S. Secretary of Labor Walsh, Congresswoman Bonamici tour OMIC Training Center

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U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh with PCC President Mark Mitsui talks to the media about what they learned on the PCC tour.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh with PCC President Mark Mitsui talk to the media about what they learned on the PCC tour.

Cutting-edge workforce training and education took center stage on March 24 when U.S. Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh – joined by U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici and Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle – toured Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center (OMIC) Training Center at PCC’s Columbia County Center in Scappoose.

“I’m here today to look at what the future of labor looks like,” said Walsh, himself a community college graduate. “Whenever I go to a new state, I go to the community colleges, and I see the energy and the life that’s there. Community college gave me an educational foundation that I just didn’t get in high school.”

U.S. Secretary Walsh with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici.

U.S. Secretary Walsh with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici.

The OMIC Training Center is an outgrowth of the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center initiative, a groundbreaking public-private partnership which, in addition to PCC, includes Portland State University, Oregon State University, the Oregon Institute of Technology, and a wide range of private companies. OMIC’s mission, carried out both at PCC’s training center and at OMIC’s nearby research and development facility, is to develop innovative manufacturing technologies and processes, and to teach them to the next generation of Oregon workers.

Walsh, Bonamici and Hoyle toured the training center’s welding, machining and mechatronics labs, and heard from faculty about the equipment in use at the center – all of it current to industry standards – and from students about their experiences.

“OMIC and PCC have really helped me with my future career choices,” said Brandon Roady, a welding student and resident of Scappoose. “With what I’ve learned here, I know I can find a good job just about anywhere.”

In his remarks, Secretary Walsh mentioned the recently-passed federal infrastructure legislation, noting the important role played by community colleges in training the 21st-century workforce.

“The way to invest in the future of labor is through community colleges,” he said.

To learn more about the PCC OMIC Training Center, visit https://www.pcc.edu/locations/columbia-county/.

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