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News Releases
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DACA advocate Liliana Luna earns statewide 'Women of Achievement' honor (Photo) - 02/14/18

BEAVERTON/HILLSBORO, Ore. -- Portland Community College's own trailblazer Liliana Luna is a recipient of the 2017 Women of Achievement Awards through the Oregon Commission for Women.

Luna, the Rock Creek Multicultural Center coordinator, is being recognized for her outstanding leadership in promoting equity and diversity opportunities for women within their education and civic engagement service. She will receive her award during a ceremony on March 1 that will be part of the Women's History Month proclamation signing by Governor Kate Brown.

The 26 year old serves as an educator, advocate and role model through her work with the Multicultural Center at Rock Creek (17705 N.W. Springville Road). According to the commission, "she demonstrates a commitment to equity and inclusion for students, especially women of color." A DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient, Luna possesses an associate degree from PCC, a bachelor's in criminal justice from Portland State University, and is working toward a master's in counseling education, also at PSU. She is responsible for providing an inclusive environment at the Multicultural Center and does this by supporting, retaining and empowering diverse students to help them achieve academic excellence and become leaders within the college and their communities.

"Liliana has truly made a difference at the Rock Creek Campus," said Rock Creek President Sandra Fowler-Hill. "She has made a marked and sustained impact on equity and inclusion. Because of her, this is a better place. She exemplifies leadership and accomplishment in Oregon, in education and civic engagement. She has had a demonstrable impact on the community she serves."

Additionally, Luna leads the Diversity Council at the campus, developed a partnership with the Mexican consulate to provide scholarships to undocumented and DACA students from Mexico, and founded the annual DREAMers Gala to raise money and awareness for undocumented students. Her latest accomplishment is helping to open the first Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Center at PCC. The center is the first of its kind in Oregon at a community college or university, providing resources and support for undocumented and DACA students and their families. According to Luna, there are roughly 400 DACA students at PCC, with an estimated 200 based at Rock Creek.

In 2015, Luna began her educational journey as an undocumented student at PCC -- the first in her family to go to college -- and eventually got involved in campus life through student government. She became a part-time casual employee leading the Rock Creek's Multicultural Center and overseeing its projects, like the Oregon Leadership Institute and the equity ambassadors.

Luna helped lead the effort to develop PCC's DREAM Center, which offers a variety of resources: legal services, the facilitation and processing of initial DACA applications and renewal applications, workshops on student support and college navigation resources, and academic/career advising sessions. It serves 20 families and 20 students per academic term.

"The students really pushed for this initiative to happen," Luna said. "They saw the need for center and put in a lot of activism to get it done. They went to board meetings, and met with President Mark Mitsui and the campus presidents. I'm proud of how they pushed it through.

"This is a huge accomplishment for me, too," she added. "When I was a student I couldn't say I was undocumented because it was taboo. Now, I can hold my head up high."


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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Community colleges to ask legislature for $32 million to mitigate tuition increases (Photo) - 01/31/18

PORTLAND, Ore. -- This legislative session, the state's 17 community colleges will ask the Oregon Legislature to allocate an additional $32 million to the Community College Support Fund (CCSF) to mitigate tuition increases and restore funding for student advising in the second year of the 2017-2019 biennium.

At the end of the 2017 legislative session, the Joint Ways and Means Committee restored more than $70 million to the Public Universities Support Fund (PUSF) to keep the cost of tuition down, but only invested $6 million to do the same at the community colleges.

The lack of funding at the state level forces tuition increases at the local level at both community colleges and public universities. Each are critical parts of the education continuum, and the legislature must support both.
In the last two biennia, the legislature's investment to the PUSF has grown at twice the rate of property tax and general funding going toward the Community College Support Fund (CCSF). For example, in the 2017 session, general fund dollars into the

PUSF increased nearly 27 percent compared to just 13 percent for the CCSF.

"The lack of funding at the state level forces tuition increases at the community college level. Our colleges serve students with the greatest academic, financial and social challenges, but receive less per student in public funding than our university counterparts," Dave Hunt, Oregon Community College Association vice president and Clackamas Community College Board of Education member, said. "The legislature must work to ensure students in both community colleges and public universities have the support needed to succeed."

Studies have shown that students are 11 times more likely to persist fall-to-fall if they regularly meet with advisors. At Clackamas Community College, the student to advisor ratio is 683 to one, far from the recommended ratio of 300 to one. If community colleges can decrease the ratio, more students will persist and succeed.

A decrease in enrollment and funding by the state, coupled with rising costs, has forced Portland Community College to increase tuition to $104 the first year of the 2017-19 biennium and to $111 in the second year -- up from $97 in 2015-17. Raising tuition has a dramatic and adverse impact on students at both CCC and PCC. A large percentage of students at both colleges experience food insecurity; every dollar they have to put toward tuition is a dollar taken away from meeting their fundamental, basic needs, like food or housing.

Funding levels have impacted advising and support services at PCC, as well. Research shows that providing wrap-around support services (advising, tutoring, coaching, mentoring) improves students' chances for academic success and graduation. Limited investment by the state has pressed PCC to find ways to nest such identified support services into a handful of programs, funded through generous donations by municipalities and private donors. Future Connect, a scholarship and support program for low-income, first-generation PCC students, is one such example. The program boosts college completion or transfer rates within three years by 11 percent.

But the number of students with access to these service lines through specialized programs is small compared to the total number of full-time and part-time students PCC serves -- more than 75,000.

"Community colleges serve as a critical bridge between K-12 and the universities, and provide services to students across the continuum. Investing in community colleges helps build student success across the education spectrum," said Denise Frisbee, Oregon Community College Association president and Portland Community College Board of Directors member.

Oregon's community colleges are taking dramatic steps to create and implement transformative change on their campuses in an effort to best serve students. Guided Pathways is one model being adopted, which helps students understand how to successfully navigate their academic journey so they enroll in the right classes at the right time -- saving them time and money long term. Investment by the state in community colleges now will enable the institutions to continue this work, profoundly changing how they deliver services to students and achieve the highest outcomes.

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A 'dream' opening for PCC's newest resource center (Photo) - 01/29/18

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- On Monday, Jan. 22, a long-held dream of Portland Community College undocumented and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students and their families finally came true.

Amid traditional dancing by the group Mitotiliztli Tezcatlipoca & Titlakawan, directional prayers, poignant speeches and high-octane chants, students and staff cut the blue ribbon signifying the official opening of PCC's DREAM Center, the first of its kind at an Oregon community college or university. The center, located in Room 101 of Building 2 at the Rock Creek Campus, was made possible through a $50,000 grant from the Oregon Immigrant and Refugee Funders Collaborative and the Meyer Memorial Trust. The DREAM Act stands for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors.

"At PCC, we recognize that DREAMer students face unique barriers that require additional mental, emotional and financial support," said Liliana Luna, Rock Creek Multicultural Center coordinator and a DACA recipient. "The new DREAM Center focuses on the empowerment, support and retention of DREAMers and their families."

The resource center will offer outreach, education, advocacy and community resources, bilingual materials, and funding for urgent and emergency services for undocumented and DACA students and their families. Specifically, the center's provisions will include legal services, the facilitation and processing of initial DACA applications and renewal applications, workshops on student support and college navigation resources, and academic/career advising sessions. The center intends to serve 20 families and 20 students per academic term.

For additional support and resources, the center will partner with local community organizations Adelante Mujeres, the Hillsboro School District, Momentum Alliance, Centro Cultural, and the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

The idea for the center came from the students. They wanted to ease pressures on DACA recipients by taking down barriers to financial assistance and the navigation of college resources. Under the supervision of the campus' Multicultural Center, the students came up with a plan, did exhaustive research, and presented their final concept to college leadership.

"They met with me in my office two years ago and told me, 'This will happen,'" recalled Rock Creek President Sandra Fowler-Hill of the students' determination. "I'm so proud of their work. This new center will be instrumental in serving the greater Washington County area."

The opening of the first DREAM Center in the state fits into PCC's mission. Last year, the college's Board of Directors declared the institution a "sanctuary college," to aid and protect undocumented students. President Mark Mitsui emphasized concerns about the impact of potential changes in federal immigration policy on PCC's undocumented students as the reason for the decision. The students and their new resource center coordinator -- Jhoana Monroy -- appreciated the symbolism of the event.

"It's something big and unique we are going through," said Monroy of the DREAMers' uncertain future. "This is an honor for me to be serving these students, who strive for success, education, advocacy and, above all else, to further their dreams."


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 secures funding for pathways to jobs for underrepresented students, small business and veterans - 01/23/18

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Community College has scored more than $250,000 through three grants that pave the way for people to get critical employment training.

The largest of the three is a $175,000, two-year award to the PCC Foundation from the Meyer Memorial Trust. The funding will implement the Workforce Connect Program, which aims to build job readiness skills for underrepresented, first-generation and low-income high school students in Columbia, Multnomah and Washington counties.

The new initiative will tap the resources of the college's successful Future Connect and Career Pathways programs to bolster access for these students in career and technical education (CTE). Students will receive integrated coaching and scholarship support to improve student achievement, postsecondary completion, and career readiness. Long term, Workforce Connect seeks to to help create careers for these students with the region's top employers, at the same time it builds workforce diversity.

"Workforce Connect improves access to career and technical education pathways for incoming high school students," said Kate Kinder, director of PCC's Career Pathways and Skills Training. "These pathways can offer economic mobility and careers with advancement opportunities. They also build upon the best practices of successful program models to increase workforce diversity and equitable opportunity in our community. The project aligns outreach, college and career counseling, and wraparound services to increase CTE enrollment and completion for first-generation/low-income students."

For more details, contact Career Pathways and Skills Training Director Kate Kinder at (971) 722-6271, or by email at skinder@pcc.edu, or Future Connect Manager Josh Laurie at (971) 722-6119, or at josh.laurie@pcc.edu.

SBDC to use Zidell funding to help small biz owners

PCC's Small Business Development Center received a $10,000 grant from the Zidell Family Foundation to create a small business scholarship for owners who want to take their enterprise to the next level.

The grant will provide scholarships to selected owners, who will receive training within one of three tracks -- retail business builders, restaurant business builders, or retail small business management. The scholarship will allow participants to attend the program's classes at the college's CLIMB Center in Southeast Portland, where they will learn essential business skills required to grow a healthy company.

"The entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset," said Charlene Zidell, board chair of the Zidell Family Foundation. "It's an attitude that embraces innovation and seeks out change. The Zidell Family Foundation prizes humble beginnings, and we celebrate the spirit to build something great from a unique idea. It is our privilege to partner with PCC and the SBDC to provide training, support and specific education to help today's entrepreneurs achieve their goals and attain long-term success for themselves and their families."

PCC's SBDC is uniquely positioned to take advantage of such philanthropy. The center provides business advising and training to small businesses in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Columbia, and Yamhill counties. It works to connect small businesses with specialized statewide services through the state's network of 18 SBDCs.

"Every day they face challenges in starting and growing their businesses, accessing resources, and learning how to be a business owner," said Tammy Marquez-Oldham, director of PCC's Small Business Development Center and Global Trade Center. "The Zidell Family Foundation grant supports opportunities for learning, growing and engaging with other small businesses, specifically retail and restaurant small businesses. This grant will make a difference for these small business owners."

For enrollment information, call (503) 939-8648, or email leslie.hildula15@pcc.edu.

Southeast Veterans Resource Center now a reality thanks to state grant

PCC secured a $85,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs to bolster its Veteran Resource Centers across the college's district.

The funding will primarily help expand the Southeast Campus Veteran Resource Center (82nd Avenue and Division), and increase staffing and enhance programming throughout the college. The goal of the grant is to support veterans arriving to PCC, help them achieve their educational goals, and transition them into the workforce.

The center is needed. There are about 140 student veterans whose primary campus is Southeast, with many more veterans traveling from other campuses across the district to take classes. According to Steve Gordon, PCC's VetSuccess on Campus counselor, veteran resource centers are considered to be vital in helping veterans transition from military service to college life where they complete their education and, ultimately, move on to a successful career.

"It is awesome that the Southeast Campus is getting a veterans resource center," Gordon said. "One of the most important predictors of veterans' success in college is whether they're able to to connect with other student veterans who have made good transitions. Veterans resource centers connect incoming student veterans with a community of support. It's a great retention tool."


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/