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News Releases
EricPennella.jpg
EricPennella.jpg
Student Eric Pennella doesn't let cancer stop him from achieving his CADD dreams (Photo) - 04/18/19

SOUTHEAST PORTLAND, Ore. – Eric Pennella isn’t letting Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stop him from an education. Pennella, 32, started the one-year Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) certificate at Portland Community College's Southeast Campus (82nd Avenue and Division) three weeks after finishing chemotherapy.

“I had too many things holding me back, but I still wanted a good career,” Pennella said of choosing the short-term program. “I wanted to use my brain and not just my body.”

It wasn’t the first time health issues had derailed Pennella’s life.

At the age of 13, he was told he had the genetic disorder Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT), a degenerative nerve disease, and after age 18, his doctor told him he would need six surgeries over the next two years. He finished the final round of surgeries by the time he reached 23.

Pennella, who wants to become a mechanical engineer, had just started PCC’s Civil and Mechanical Engineering Program when complications from the chemotherapy interrupted his plans. As he took time to recover, he had a chance to rethink his education and decided to shift to the CADD certificate. Armed with this certificate he'll be able to find an entry-level job and use it as a stepping stone to Portland State University's Mechanical Engineering Program.

“The coolest part of the CADD program is learning how diverse the job market can be,” said the Tualatin resident. “The market is shifting-- you used to do a hand drawing and then machined your product, but now everything is 3D-modeled before they go through the process of building. I like seeing everything I digitally build come together in real life.”

Stories like his are what PCC is all about. In fact, the current legislative budget request for the state's community colleges would double the seats in high-demand CTE programs across the state the next biennium (2019-21), earmarking $70 million to grow CTE offerings like CADD.

The possibilities are wide ranging in this program: students can seek positions as a mechanical designer, CAD technician, design drafter, or a detailer that makes the fasteners, holes and various parts of the assembly.

“The CADD program is special because the students get both theoretical and hands-on training from people who all work, or have worked, in industry,” said CADD Chair Justin Mortensen, who provides hands-on demonstrations using parts he designed when he was an aerospace engineer. “It is wide-open, and employers continually want to come into our classes to meet our students. We have employers poised to hire before students have even graduated.”

Phil Eichmiller is an instructor who is setting a good example for students like Pennella. Eichmeiller has a full-time job in the industry. He works at Autodesk, a global leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. His favorite aspect about the CADD program is that students get to create projects in the “Design to Make” class for 3D printing and small-part CNC machining.

“Working with students really helps me see the programming through their perspective,” Eichmiller said. “Autodesk sees the value of me being able to work both at PCC, as well as at Autodesk.

“There’s nothing like seeing the design go from the computer screen to a physical thing in your hands,” he added. “Getting to do that before you get a job is really important.”

Eichmiller, who is a PCC graduate, serves on the CADD advisory board where he works with Mortensen and others in the field to ensure that the program is providing cutting-edge, up-to-date skills and training to meet the needs of employers and students. In addition, industry reps visit his classes to discuss employment opportunities and network.

And it’s working for the students. Pennella, who will earn his CADD certificate in June, was hired last term as a drafting technician at the engineering consulting firm Norwest Engineering.

“If it wasn’t for the CADD certificate, I wouldn’t have the job,” Pennella smiled. 

 

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 71,000 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: EricPennella.jpg
Job Fair
Job Fair
PCC's 22nd employment fair to attract hundreds of job seekers (Photo) - 04/08/19

NORTH PORTLAND, Ore. – Several of Oregon’s most admired companies will be on hand this year when the Portland Community College Job Fair returns for its 22nd year.

According to the Portland Business Journal’s 2019 Book of Lists, Columbia Sportswear, Oregon Health & Sciences University, Providence Health & Services, and New Seasons Market all rank among the most admired and respected companies in the state. They will be among more than 100 area employers represented at the PCC Job Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, April 30, in the college’s Cascade Campus gym (705 N. Killingsworth St.).

Becky Washington, career services coordinator at the Cascade Campus, said with the unemployment rate at or near a historical low, employers are competing for the most qualified candidates.

“It’s a good time to be a job-seeker in Portland,” Washington said. “This is a great chance to put yourself on the market.”

The job fair is a who’s who of Portland-area employers such as Amazon, Portland Trail Blazers, and OnPoint Community Credit Union. In addition, there will be a host of local and regional nonprofits and government agencies participating.

The PCC Job Fair is among the largest and longest-running employment fairs in the metro area, and is open to people of all ages and levels of experience. However, it can be particularly useful for currently enrolled college students, said Washington. Students in nearly all of PCC’s professional/technical programs can find an employer at the Job Fair that is related to their degree or certificate. Many job fair employers are offering internship opportunities, as well.

A complete list of participating employers can be found at www.pcc.edu/cascadejobfair.

“If you’re a student looking to connect with employers in your field of study, the job fair is a great option.” Washington said. “It’s a fantastic way to find a seamless transition from school to the workforce.”

Washington said one of the most appealing aspects of the fair is the opportunity to meet with and speak to a number of employers in succession. This means a job-seeker is able to compare and contrast the compensation packages available from various employers and industries, and get an idea of how his or her qualifications measure up.

“The PCC Job Fair places job-seekers face-to-face with employers from a wide range of industries in both the public and private sectors where they can learn about available openings, pay scales and benefits, and the amount of education needed to obtain a given position,” she added.

The 2019 PCC Job Fair at Cascade Campus is sponsored by Pamplin Media.

The fair’s web site, www.pcc.edu/cascadejobfair, has tips on how to dress and what to say, including a brief video on developing an “elevator pitch” for employers.

“We encourage people to dress like they’re going to an interview,” Washington said. “And because we attract lots of job-seekers, it’s also a good idea to show up early.”

For more information, call (971) 722-5613 or visit the website above.

 

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 71,000 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: Job Fair