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News Releases
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International climate change conference puts PCC's sustainability efforts on global stage (Photo) - 11/16/17

BONN, Germany -- Portland Community College showcased its sustainability accomplishments on the world stage.

PCC President Mark Mitsui and Sustainability Manager Briar Schoon attended the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) in Bonn, Germany, as part of 'We Are Still In' (WASI), a non-federal, subnational group committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement. COP 23, which took place Nov. 9-16, served as the conference for the next round of United Nations climate negotiations and attracted nearly 20,000 attendees from around the world. WASI, meanwhile, represents a collective of 2,550 mayors, governors, tribal leaders, CEOs, investors, university and college presidents and religious establishments from around the country -- more than 130 million Americans across 50 states and over $6 trillion of the American economy.

"The degree of international cooperation and innovation in this space is both impressive and necessary," said Mitsui. "There is much that we all can do locally and globally to address this challenge. It is clear that PCC and the other colleges and universities here in Bonn are leading the way in demonstrating the important role higher education plays in being part of the solution."

At COP 23, it was a chance for agencies to showcase their efforts and progress. WASI hosted the U.S. Climate Action Center, a first-ever pavilion and forum for American leaders to convene throughout the negotiations and share their contributions to address climate change. WASI also presented the "America's Pledge" report, which provides analysis on the scope and scale of actions taken by states, cities, businesses and higher education in the United States, to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions.

It was at the Climate Action Center that Mitsui served as one of three panelists in a session, "U.S. Higher Education Institutions: Forces for Global Climate Action." He was joined by panelists Dianne Harrison (president of Cal State-Northridge) and David Finegold (president of Chatham University). PCC's leader highlighted the key role that higher education institutions can play to nurture the next generation of leaders in climate action and sustainability. A shared commitment to carbon neutrality and specific strengths two-year and four-year colleges can bring to the effort also were highlighted.

"It was powerful to discuss with my peer presidents how community colleges and universities can work together to combat climate change," said Mitsui. "Engaging our campuses in best practices, educating the clean tech workforce, raising awareness of sustainable practices across sectors, and developing the next generation of leaders are ways we can demonstrate that we are still in."

Mitsui serves on the steering committee of Second Nature, which coordinates the higher education portion of the WASI campaign of approximately 320-plus colleges. PCC was one of the first signatories of this coalition.

The college also is a founding member of the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network (GPSEN), a United Nations University Regional Center of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development. And just last month PCC was chosen as the winner of the annual Second Nature Climate Leadership Award for two-year colleges -- a prestigious, national honor. Collectively, these efforts and honors contributed to PCC being tapped to attend COP 23 as part of WASI.

"The conference offered us the opportunity to share the good work PCC is doing with our peers, fellow WASI members, and the global community," said Schoon, who added that many of the signatories were able to demonstrate that the U.S. continues to make strides on climate action despite the absence of U.S. federal leadership.

"What is special about PCC's sustainability program is our holistic approach," said Schoon. "We've been very thoughtful to integrate sustainability throughout all of our systems -- academics, operations and administration -- and we're fortunate to have had President Mitsui speak to this as part of his panel session."

Schoon noted that being part of the WASI contingent at COP 23 enabled PCC to make connections with WASI members and international peer institutions. Their discussions focused on partnerships to support local climate action, best practices in resiliency planning, and inspiration for hands-on learning opportunities in sustainability/climate action.

And she confirmed that PCC is developing its sustainability plan and will be updating its climate action plan in the next few years.

"My goal is to incorporate what we've learned here, as part of this conference, into our programming at PCC, to ensure that our efforts continue to align with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement," said Schoon.

"This kind of commitment is central to PCC's sense of community -- locally, regionally, nationally and globally -- and to our values as an institution. Our behavior and action is crucial and makes a measurable difference to address climate change."


About Portland Community College: Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon and provides training, degree and certificate completion, and lifelong learning to more than 75,000 full- and part-time students in Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Columbia counties. PCC has four comprehensive campuses, eight education centers or areas served, and approximately 200 community locations in the Portland metropolitan area. The PCC district encompasses a 1,500-square-mile area in northwest Oregon and offers two-year degrees, one-year certificate programs, short-term training, alternative education, pre-college courses and life-long learning.

Visit PCC news on the web at http://news.pcc.edu/

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PCC garners nearly $3 million in grants, including childcare, career technical education (Photo) - 11/08/17

PORTLAND, Ore. -- This fall, Portland Community College's equitable student success plan got a timely shot in the arm.

The college has been tapped to receive almost $3 million in critical grants that help to foster student success. PCC was awarded a four-year, $1 million Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant, as well as a three-year, $622,000 Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE)/Career & Technical Education (CTE) Teacher Pathway grant. Both were given to the college by the U.S. Department of Education.

The CCAMPIS grant will continue PCC's successful childcare subsidy program, which covers the cost of daycare for up to 50 student parents per year, enabling them to stay in school as they work toward completing their studies. In addition to the subsidies, the funding will provide advising, financial aid assistance and outreach support. The program is available to student parents at all four campuses - Sylvania (12000 SW 49th Ave.), Rock Creek (17705 NW Springville Rd.), Cascade (705 N. Killingsworth St.) and Southeast (2305 SE 82nd Ave).

In addition, PCC is one of only five recipients in the country to receive the OCTAE grant, which will fund the college's Oregon High School CTE Teacher Pathway Project. The project seeks to increase recruitment and retention of skilled high school CTE teachers throughout Oregon in healthcare, construction, advanced manufacturing, and information technology. The college will work with state partners, school districts and educational service districts to establish clear pathways for high school CTE teachers to receive training and support.

"The kind of support offered by the CCAMPIS grant addresses a key economic barrier that prevents many students from achieving academic success," said PCC President Mark Mitsui. "Meanwhile, OCTAE pathways will assist with continuous improvements in the quantity and quality of high school career-technical education for our in-demand industries and occupations."

But that's not all. PCC was awarded a two-year, $629,000 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title II Adult Education & Family Literacy grant from the Oregon Department of Education. Funds will enable PCC to continue to offer Adult Basic Skills, Adult Basic Education, and English for Speakers of Second Languages (ESOL) services to learners from low levels of literacy to students transitioning to postsecondary education and training.

The project's manager, Luis Rodriguez Garcia of the Southeast Campus, expects to serve about 2,000 students and there's an option for potentially 2-3 more years of funding. Key to the success of the grant is the hiring of Adult Basic Skills navigators to support students. Navigators will assist and guide students toward completion of their GED, transition to postsecondary education (credit classes), and/or obtaining employment. Navigators will also connect students to the many services offered by PCC's workforce development partners in the one-stop system.

"This grant is all about supporting our equity and inclusion efforts at PCC," Rodriguez Garcia said. "It will help us support some of our most vulnerable student populations. For example, those who are immigrants and learning a new language, and those who have low basic skills in reading, writing and math. Our goal is to support students so they can obtain the skills they need to be able to fully participate in our community."

Lastly, PCC earned an Oregon Health Authority's Scholarships to Support Culturally Competent Alcohol & Drug Counseling grant of $131,700. It will increase the number of African American substance abuse counselors in the community through scholarships, tutoring, professional development activities and culturally-specific course materials.


About Portland Community College: Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon and provides training, degree and certificate completion, and lifelong learning to more than 75,000 full- and part-time students in Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Columbia counties. The PCC bond measure of $185 million would improve workforce training programs to better align with current and future jobs, invest in training for Health and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs, and upgrade safety, security, longevity and disability access. If passed, it is estimated to maintain the tax rate of 40 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for the next 16 years.

Visit PCC news on the web at http://news.pcc.edu/

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Single dad, student says childcare essential for college life at PCC (Photo) - 10/25/17

SOUTHWEST PORTLAND, Ore. -- What would Jeff Martinez be doing today if he didn't have access to daycare at the Sylvania Campus Child Development Center? In all honesty, he said, he doesn't know.

What is known is that Martinez is well on his way to an associate degree at Portland Community College and eventually a bachelor's in Business from Portland State University. This impressive journey, that includes a leadership position with Sylvania's student government and the District Student Council, began in 2015 when he enrolled at PCC after having his daughter accepted into the campus' daycare (12000 SW 49th Ave.).

"Having access to high-quality childcare has allowed me to focus on school," Martinez said. "It was definitely a deciding factor coming here. The biggest barrier for single parents like me, or parents going back to school is affordable childcare. If my daughter wasn't in daycare at PCC, I'd have to drop her off at an off-campus facility and make numerous trips a day, which would be very hard. Here, it's a one-stop shop where everything is centralized."

PCC has listened to parents like Martinez and wants to have childcare available to students at every comprehensive campus. Right now, only the Rock Creek Campus (17705 NW Springville Road) doesn't have a childcare center. As part of the 2017 bond measure, the college would build the $7 million Rock Creek Child Development Center.

This new facility would make the Rock Creek Campus more accommodating for current and prospective students with young children. These students, who often struggle to balance parenthood and pursuing their education, could take advantage of an 8,000-square-foot child care facility right on campus. The college would partner with a local provider to offer child development services similar to what is at Cascade and Southeast. The Sylvania Campus provides a lab-run system of daycare with high-quality services for parents combined with a teacher-student learning environment.

It's an important piece of the bond. For PCC President Mark Mitsui, equitable student success is a big issue for him and the college going forward as the community's demographics and economics change as the cost of living in Portland skyrockets. In response, PCC continues to develop its childcare network across the college, especially with upgraded facilities that will offer more slots coming online soon at the Sylvania Campus.

Martinez, who lives in downtown Portland, said the resources at PCC like childcare made the difference for him in this difficult time. A low-income, first-generation college student, he uses the free PCC Shuttle occasionally to save on gas to get to his classes, gets free food once a week from the Panther Pantries, and takes advantage of student resource center services and activities. To help with funding, Martinez was awarded Head Start and CCAMPIS grants to fund his daughter's daycare so he can focus on earning the very first college degree in his family.

"These are opportunities I've never had before," he said. "And, I'm taking advantage of them."

Eventually, the Southern Oregon native wants to operate a music venue and creative marketing firm when his educational journey ends. Not bad for a man who watched his mom struggle with providing for his family while on disability and wanted to change that status quo, and smash the economic and social barriers to college.

"It has meant everything for me to be able to go to school," Martinez said. "Having to work full time to pay for childcare leaves little time for school. It's a cycle I needed to break because we weren't going anywhere if that continued. Getting her into daycare at PCC has allowed me to go to school full time and get involved on campus.

"The end game now is my daughter doesn't have to grow up where she can't take advantage of college herself," he added. "She'll benefit from this change where we won't have to worry about basic things like eating."


About Portland Community College: Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon and provides training, degree and certificate completion, and lifelong learning to more than 75,000 full- and part-time students in Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Columbia counties. The PCC bond measure of $185 million would improve workforce training programs to better align with current and future jobs, invest in training for Health and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs, and upgrade safety, security, longevity and disability access. If passed, it is estimated to maintain the tax rate of 40 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for the next 16 years.

Visit PCC news on the web at http://news.pcc.edu/

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