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News Releases
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GregHarris.jpg
Greg Harris chosen to lead PCC's Marketing and Communications (Photo) - 06/06/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Community College didn’t have to look far for its next marketing guru.

PCC has picked Greg Harris, director of marketing, public relations and student recruitment for Chemeketa Community College in Salem, as its new director of marketing and communications. Since 2008, he has been responsible for marketing, student recruitment, media and community relations, event planning and internal communications for Chemeketa. Harris, who possesses decades of advertising agency experience, was the director of marketing for Concordia University between 2004 and 2008. He will start in his new role on July 9.

“This is an exciting time for all of us at PCC as we begin a new chapter in our division,” said PCC Executive Vice President Sylvia Kelley, who oversees College Advancement. “Greg brings a wealth of experience of not only managing diverse teams, but also having web and mobile marketing expertise, and a deep understanding of student recruitment and retention. It’s a pleasure to welcome him to our team.”

The Marketing and Communications Department oversees PCC’s marketing and branding efforts that include integrated marketing and communications strategies that align with college priorities, consulting PCC departments seeking external and internal support, and assisting with presidential and strategic communications. In this role, Harris will collaboratively partner with the directors of Public Relations and Community Engagement, Government Relations and PCC Foundation -- all offices that reside within College Advancement.

In his decade as Chemeketa’s marketing leader, Harris helped to reshape the college’s identity in the community. He developed a new logo and brand identity system, created strategies, plans and tactics to integrate marketing with student recruitment, fostered initiatives for new media, and launched a new version of the website along with best practices on its use.

Harris has a master’s degree in Business Administration with a marketing emphasis from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. In addition, he has a bachelor’s degree in Geography & Asian Studies from the University of Oregon.

“I'm thrilled to join the PCC team, and look forward to what we will achieve for our students,” Harris said.

 

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 73,000 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/

 

Attached Media Files: GregHarris.jpg
Left to right, Chemeketa President Julie Huckestein, PCC President Mark Mitsui, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, Rock Creek President Sandra Fowler-Hill and Clatsop VP of Academic Affairs Margaret Frimoth
Left to right, Chemeketa President Julie Huckestein, PCC President Mark Mitsui, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, Rock Creek President Sandra Fowler-Hill and Clatsop VP of Academic Affairs Margaret Frimoth
Congresswoman Bonamici honored by community college coalition (Photo) - 06/06/18

BEAVERTON, Ore. – The Coalition of Adult Basic Education (COABE) gave Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici its highest honor and did it at Portland Community College.

On Tuesday, May 29, local members of COABE, which includes Portland, Chemeketa, Clatsop and Mt. Hood community colleges, handed Bonamici the Champion of Adult Education Award in front of adult basic education and English for Speakers of Other Languages students at the Rock Creek Campus (177705 NW Springville Road).

The organization honored the congresswoman for her work on the PARTNERS Act, which promotes registered apprenticeships and other work-based learning programs for small and medium-sized businesses within in-demand industry sectors. Along with the PROSPER Act (which prepares students through expanded access for careers and degree completion), Adult Basic Education students are able to find pathways to living-wage jobs and degree completion.

In addition, the Congresswoman and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt took the lead on a “Dear Colleague” letter to the appropriators that sought support for all Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act authorized programs.

“It’s really meaningful for me to be receiving this award at a community college,” said Congresswoman Bonamici, who got her start in higher education in the Legal Assistant Program at Lane Community College. “I’m honored to work on issues that recognize that within K through 12 education, not everyone is on the same path, and we need to engage all students regardless of what their passions or learning levels are. We have to make those opportunities available.”

Since 2012, Bonamici has represented the First Congressional District of Oregon, which includes Washington, Yamhill, Clatsop, and Columbia counties and part of Multnomah County. She is the Vice Ranking Member and a leader of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce. She sets national policies that give students support and opportunities that lead to their success in school and in life like with the PARTNERS and PROSPER acts. She is a regular at PCC, touring the college’s STEM labs, hosting roundtables to learn how to improve healthcare and careers for low-income students, and championing workforce training programs.

“She is such an advocate for our students and community colleges overall,” said PCC President Mark Mitsui. “She loves visiting students and is so inspirational. She is committed to their futures.”

 

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 73,000 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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Sen. Jeff Merkley to speak, and inspire, at PCC's 56th graduation (Photo) - 06/04/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Community College’s 56th commencement ceremony will feature a nationally respected political figure and a student from Columbia County who wants everyone to embrace their warrior side.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley keynotes the college’s signature, culminating event, which begins at 7 p.m., Friday, June 15 in the Memorial Coliseum, 300 N. Winning Way. He will inspire 900 graduates, who will walk across the stage to receive their associate degree or certificate. In total, nearly 5,800 total degrees and certificates will be awarded this year.

“We are honored to welcome Sen. Merkley to this year’s commencement to inspire our graduates,” said PCC President Mark Mitsui. “Sen. Merkley has long been a champion of education, which we know changes lives and opens doors to opportunity that benefit the greater community.”

Sen. Merkley earned an undergraduate degree from Stanford and a graduate degree in Public Policy from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Following his education, he worked as a national security analyst at the Pentagon and at the Congressional Budget Office.

Elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014, he continues to fight for living-wage jobs and to push back on unfair trade policies that ship Oregon’s jobs overseas. He has worked to make college more affordable for students and retirement more secure for seniors. Sen. Merkley serves on the Senate Committees on Appropriations; Environment and Public Works; Budget; and Foreign Relations.

Pushing the inspiration even more is student speaker Awen Moon Gatten. The 49-year-old mother from Columbia City (Columbia County) is an accomplished student leader at the Rock Creek Campus. Gatten, who sports a 4.0 grade-point average, served as the Rock Creek chapter president for Phi Theta Kappa (two-year honors society), earned the 2018 All-Academic Team scholarship from the state of Oregon, is a PCC Foundation scholarship recipient, and was recently elected to serve as PTK’s Northern District Executive for the Rocky Mountain Cascade region.

Gatten’s dream is to work as a high school math teacher once she completes her degrees at Portland State University in the mathematics and education programs.

Her enrollment at PCC in winter of 2016 to begin her associate degree was a pivotal moment for Gatten. A 35-year-survivor of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault, Gatten’s academic success at the community college enabled her to close of that chapter of her life. She was able to leave her abusive husband and situation at home, and head toward a new career in mathematics.

“I wanted more for myself,” reflected Gatten, who works at St. Helens High School as an Avid Tutor volunteer and as an Aspire mentor. “It clicked (at PCC) and showed me that I can do this. I had a knack for teaching math, and PCC reminded me of how much I enjoyed it.”

Commencement Details

PCC’s graduation is open to the public and no seating tickets are required. Parking will be free at the college’s Cascade Campus (705 N. Killingsworth St.) day of the event, with free shuttles running to and from the Memorial Coliseum. Shuttles will leave from Cascade beginning at 4 p.m. and will run approximately every 15-20 minutes and will continue until one hour after the ceremony.

Due to increased security, the Memorial Coliseum is implementing a new strict bag policy to help insure the safety of attendees. The new policy only allows bags that are no larger than one foot wide and one foot long and six inches deep, or smaller inside the venue. Anything larger will not be allowed.

For further information, visit https://www.pcc.edu/commencement/

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 73,000 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/

Attached Media Files: JeffMerkley.jpg , AwenGatten.jpg
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PCC's GED Certificate provides key pathways to opportunity and completion (Photo) - 05/23/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Community College’s Adult Basic Education Program can be the lifeline people need to reclaim energy and purpose in an effort to complete a degree or find employment, no matter where they got their start.

Khaleda Aqaei, 23, is proof that for those in the ABE program, earning a GED is the key to personal and professional success. Six years ago the Southeast Portland resident and her family immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan by way of Iran, where they were living as refugees. Aqaei had no formal education, as attending school in Iran was cost prohibitive — a pattern that could have continued in the U.S. upon learning she couldn’t enroll in her local high school.

“Because I was 19, I couldn’t get into high school,” said Aqaei, who soon discovered PCC’s nearby Southeast Campus.

Realizing she needed an alternative, Aqaei found a caseworker, who helped steer her toward the GED program at PCC.

“I knew very little English, but I just signed up,” she added. “Through those classes, I improved my English, and when I was ready for college courses, I was able to place at college-level English.”

As the eldest child, she has shouldered the duties of interpreting for family members, communicating with others on behalf of her family, and assisting them in finding services and resources. In spite of these responsibilities, Aqaei has prioritized her education: She is finishing up her associate of science degree and plans to transfer to the Biochemistry Program at Portland State University next fall.

“It was my dream to earn my GED,” Aqaei said. “Now, I want to be a doctor because I want to help not only my people, but others.”

ABE’s GED Certificate is for individuals who have not completed high school and who are at least 16 years old. Earning this certificate is crucial for those in the program as the GED is accepted as a high school diploma substitute by many employers, apprenticeship programs, community colleges and universities, and is recognized throughout the United States and Canada.

If students in the ABE program complete 50 hours of classes and obtain their GED, they are eligible for an $800 GED scholarship to continue their education at PCC.

“It’s for somebody who didn’t finish their high school education and wants to better their situation,” said Luis Rodriguez, interim Adult Basic Skills Program manager. “When you get your GED, your average earnings increase because employers are looking for people who are at a certain level of basic skills in reading and math. We help students transition to other programs, whether it’s a job, short-term training program or certificate like Career Pathways, or transferring to a college. And our faculty do an amazing job of encouraging and pushing the students to think about what is beyond a GED certificate.”

Many of the students enter the GED certificate program with the hope of changing their life’s trajectory. And what begins as a desire to earn a GED certificate can develop into something more — like continuing their academic journey to earn a degree and become part of the community in a way that is very meaningful on a personal level.

When it came to academics, Southwest Portland resident Erica Ryan felt like she didn't belong. In elementary school, teachers overlooked or dismissed Ryan, making her feel unimportant and not valued. Her classes were large, and she easily became “invisible,” and it didn’t take long for her to disengage and fall through the cracks. She was eventually tested for Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, but results proved negative. Rather than providing guidance or extra tutoring, however, teachers again ignored her.

At PCC, Ryan was encouraged by her instructors to ask questions, and it made all the difference in her academic career.

“Everybody learns differently and at PCC I had teachers that cared about helping me rather than saying that they didn’t have the time,” she said.

Ryan earned her GED in 2017 thanks to the $800 GED scholarship she received from the program. She now has a job as an assistant Spanish teacher at Nuestro Jardin Academy. Ryan has a child of her own, and spring term was her first as an official college student working on her associate degree in Early Childhood Education at the Sylvania Campus.

“I’m turning my negative experiences into positive impacts in other students’ lives,” said the 31-year-old. “I want to help those kids and make them feel even more empowered. I’ve astonished myself at how far I’ve come.”

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 73,000 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 Foundation breaks record, raising nearly $610,000 at annual gala (Photo) - 05/21/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – It was a record-breaking night for the Portland Community College Foundation.

The philanthropic division of the college hosted its seventh annual gala on Saturday, May 19, raising a record $609,757 for scholarships and success initiatives – nearly $100,000 more than last year. With the theme, “Kick Up a Storm for Student Success,” the PCC Foundation’s “An Evening for Opportunity” Gala attracted more than 480 attendees to the event held at the Downtown Portland Hilton Hotel. Funds raised will help hundreds of PCC students, many being the first in their families to attend college and with deep financial need, to be supported in their academic pursuits.

“The gala was sensational and a true transformation of opportunity for student success,” said PCC Foundation Board Chair Susie Lahsene, recently retired senior manager for transportation and land use policy for the Port of Portland.

To cap the evening, the PCC Foundation recognized Howard Butzer and Robert Wimmer with its 2018 Patron Award. The college awards this honor to people or organizations that have made a significant contribution to PCC to ensure access to education for students. Wimmer and Butzer, partners for 30-plus years, decided to create scholarships for students who need extra financial support in order to attend college. In addition to supporting scholarships in their names, the two have also included the PCC Foundation in their estate plans as members of the Amo DeBarnardis Legacy Society.

“Every dollar raised helps change the life of a student, and you could certainly tell from the student stories that the return on this investment is high,” said PCC President Mark Mitsui.

The PCC Foundation is a nonprofit organization that expands access to education by funding scholarships and educational programs that support students at Portland Community College, the largest higher education institution in Oregon.

 

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 73,000 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/