Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Pathways to Opportunity Council

Team Description and Charge

The Pathways to Opportunity (PTO) Council is charged with leading PCC’s work related to addressing students’ unmet financial needs. This focused work recognizes that these unmet needs – housing, food, childcare, healthcare, etc. – are a key barrier to completing college for many of our students and disproportionately impact students of color, due to the historic intersection between race and poverty.

This work is connected to the statewide Pathways to Opportunity initiative.

Progress and Milestones

During the 2020-21 academic year, PCC’s Pathways to Opportunity Council began the creation of a local action plan to map out existing basic needs work at the college. They began by prioritizing institutional strategies, including expanding access to SNAP/STEP resources and coordinating collegewide implementation of SingleStop. They also successfully supported advocacy efforts for House Bill 2835, which will fund benefit navigators at public universities across Oregon to help students access aid, such as food and housing assistance. 

The council was intentional about engaging stakeholder feedback and began partnership conversations with the District Student Council Food Justice Task Force, formally bringing them in as an official subgroup of the Pathways to Opportunity council. This work brought together collegewide stakeholders and centered our students of color and culture all along the way.

Next Steps

During the 2021-22 academic year, a newly identified team of Academic and Student Affairs leaders will guide the Pathways to Opportunity efforts through further implementation and monitoring phases.

Division Leadership
Student Belonging and Wellbeing Lauren Smith, Dean
Student Life and Engagement Josh Peters-McBride, Dean
Academic and Career Pathways Karen Paez, Associate Vice President/Pathways
Pathways to Opportunity Jaime Clarke, Dean of Pathways to Opportunity
Pathways to Opportunity Christina Shafer, Manager of Career Pathways & STEP

This work is guided by the following priority projects in support of the college’s Strategic Plan:

  • Establish Academic and Career Pathways Pathways cross-functional operating teams that apply an equity-conscious continuous improvement process to assure:
    • Program and pathway level curriculum that meets sector demands and living wage jobs;
    • Student progress monitoring and proactive support; and
    • Effective transitions to employment or further education.
  • Evaluate, modify and expand targeted programming for marginalized students and communities to mitigate barriers created by systemic inequality and improve access, progress, and completion of educational goals.
  • Expand and consistently integrate a new student onboarding process inclusive of all learners (credit and non-credit) and aligned with Academic and Career Pathways entry and goal completion.