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News Releases
Media Advisory: PCC Foundation announces $1 million gift to build first-year experience for students - 06/10/24

NORTH PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Community College Foundation is announcing one of its largest gifts by an individual donor at an event on June 12. The $1 million gift pledge will be fulfilled at $200,000 per year for the next five years to help build and expand the First-Year Experience initiative within the Future Connect Scholarship Program.

WHAT:

A celebration of a million-dollar gift by a local philanthropist for the expansion of Future Connect Scholarship Program’s First-Year Experience initiative to serve more students. Speakers and guests include State Senator Rob Wagner, PCC President Dr. Adrien Bennings, Future Connect Program students and Brigid Flanigan, founder and principal of Tenfold Senior Living.

WHERE:

Opportunity Center at 42nd Avenue
4299 NE Killingsworth St., Portland, OR
Map & Info

WHEN:

Program begins at 6 p.m., Wednesday, June 12.

WHO:

Brigid Flanigan is used to building things up and serving those often underserved. She comes from a philanthropic family dedicated to the value of education. A developer of senior living communities since 1992, Flanigan’s focus has been on building senior living communities in California and the Northwest. She founded Tenfold to develop a model for senior living that offers programs, amenities and a lifestyle to address unmet market demand. Prior to starting Tenfold Senior Living, Flanigan developed several assisted living projects in Northern California and in Portland. She will join the PCC Foundation Board of Directors, starting July 1. Learn more: https://tenfoldseniorliving.com/about-tenfold/

ABOUT THE FIRST-YEAR EXPERIENCE INITIATIVE:

This fall, Future Connect will reach more students than ever by piloting the First-Year Experience. The initiative will offer new students a connection to a coach, regular contact for career guidance, and support navigating college resources and targeted curriculum in college success. Flanigan’s gift will be used to expand Future Connect’s First-Year Experience initiative to a broader group of students at PCC.

  • Initial Year: Serve approximately 1,500 first-year, first-generation high school students.
  • Following Years: Serve approximately 2,500 first-generation students starting college regardless of age.
  • Final Goal: Serve all new-to-college students (approximately 5,000).

For more details: https://www.pcc.edu/first-year/

ABOUT FUTURE CONNECT:

Since 2016, Future Connect has welcomed approximately 330 new students annually with more than 4,000 students served since 2011. Future Connect will continue to provide full wrap-around support, including coaching, mentoring, and scholarships, with the help of public and private partners. This program works to eliminate the barriers for first-generation college students, and supports them throughout their college education so that they can reach their potential as active and productive members of the Portland metro area. Learn more: https://www.pcc.edu/future-connect/

EVENT RSVP:

James Hill, Director of Public Relations, at jghill@pcc.edu or 503-933-2664.

 

About the PCC Foundation: The PCC Foundation is a nonprofit organization that enriches lives and strengthens the region through support of education at PCC. The Foundation’s vision is that all students in the region have access to an excellent education at PCC and the support needed to succeed, regardless of their ability to pay. A tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the PCC Foundation mobilizes private support for student scholarships and educational programs. To find out more, call (971) 722-4382 or visit pcc.edu/foundation.

About Portland Community College: Founded in 1961, Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon and provides training, degree and certificate completion, and lifelong learning to more than 50,000 full- and part-time students in Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Columbia counties. PCC has four comprehensive campuses, 10 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/

2023 graduation
2023 graduation
PCC honors Class of 2024 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on June 14 (Photo) - 06/03/24

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Community College’s Class of 2024 is ready to celebrate a milestone in their education pathway this spring. PCC’s commencement ceremony takes place at 7 p.m., Friday, June 14 inside Veterans Memorial Coliseum (300 N. Ramsay Way) where thousands of newly minted graduates will walk the stage and celebrate their degrees and certificates in front of family and friends.

The ceremony will include a welcome from President Dr. Adrien L. Bennings, remarks by keynote speaker Executive Vice President Katy Ho and student Vladislav Kirilov, as well as music by the PCC Rock Creek Chamber Choir. Public parking at the coliseum is $10, or park free at the Cascade Campus (705 N. Killingsworth St.), and use the free shuttles, which begin at 4 p.m. and run approximately every 20 minutes.

“On behalf of our entire Portland Community College community, I congratulate you on this monumental achievement,” said Dr. Bennings of the graduates. “May your futures be bright, your dreams vast, and your contributions significant.”

Student Speaker: Vladislav Kirilov 

The international student is originally from the small town of Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan. Raised by a single mother, he navigated the world with impaired vision where he was exposed to compassionate ophthalmologists and technicians who inspired him to enter PCC’s Ophthalmic Medical Technology Program.

Five years ago, Kirilov immigrated to Upstate New York to play collegiate basketball when the pandemic hit, forcing him to move across the country as his school shut down. Without speaking much English, he began his PCC studies by attending online classes, completing his ESOL requirements and prerequisites. He balanced the demand of rigorous academics of the OMT Program with basketball, being a student advisor and completing a clinical rotation at the VA hospital.

“These individuals were my heroes, guiding me toward a clearer future,” he said of the ophthalmologists who helped him as a child. “Now, I am inspired to follow in their footsteps, aspiring to become a hero for others facing visual challenges. I hope to empower individuals with the same care and support that once transformed my life.”

Keynote Speaker: Katy Ho

The long-time PCC administrator has held various leadership roles in student and academic affairs, showcasing her commitment to fostering educational excellence. Ho has served as the vice chancellor of Academic Affairs at Honolulu Community College and most recently as vice president for Academic Affairs before becoming the college's executive vice president this spring. Her contributions extend beyond PCC, as she serves on the Portland State University Board of Trustees and the Partners in Diversity Leadership Council.

Ho's educational background includes a doctorate in Community College Leadership and a master’s degree in Student Services Administration from Oregon State University. She also holds a degree from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, emphasizing Public Relations.

For more event details, visit pcc.edu/commencement/.

2024 Commencement Stories

Machining A Perfect Fit For This Grad – From high school robotics to advanced manufacturing, Class of 2024’s Kennedy Godfrey is skilling up thanks to the Machine Manufacturing Program. Read Her Story.

A Graduate's Journey of Resilience – Gigi Giangiobbe has been named a Bronze Scholar on Coca-Cola’s 2024 Academic Team due to her dedication and hard work. Learn More.

Creating His Secure Future – Capping a long journey, Gilbert Lopez’s freshly earned associate degree in Cybersecurity is providing him with many career options. Read More.

 

About Portland Community College: Founded in 1961, Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon and provides training, degree and certificate completion, and lifelong learning to more than 50,000 full- and part-time students in Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Columbia counties. PCC has four comprehensive campuses, 10 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: 2023 graduation , Vadislav Kirilov , Katy Ho
Kennedy Godfrey.
Kennedy Godfrey.
Next-generation machinist finds her calling in metalworking (Photo) - 05/30/24

HILLSBORO, Ore. – Portland Community College machine manufacturing students are learning the latest techniques on state-of-the-art tools as they train to become the future of machinists in Oregon.

They have plenty of options. The PCC OMIC Training Center, located at the Columbia County Center, provides access to academic, workforce training, community enrichment programs and support services. And PCC’s Machine Manufacturing Technology (MMT) Program at the Sylvania Campus in Southwest Portland and the Mechatronics Lab at the Willow Creek Opportunity Center in Hillsboro provide great opportunities for students.

“With advancements in manufacturing technology, there is a growing need for trained manufacturing professionals,” said Patty Hawkins, program dean of PCC Mechatronics and Advanced Manufacturing Technology. “The OMIC Center helps new students and adults enter these exciting, well-paying, in-demand careers with career training, certifications and job search support. The newly built, state-of-the-art training facility also has the latest equipment and technology and flexible learning options that will work for students. There are opportunities to learn advanced trades like manufacturing, welding, and technical design.”

These skilled, soon-to-be employees are much-needed as the industry is falling short due to senior machinists' retirements. While only 29% of U.S. manufacturing employees identify as female, Hillsboro’s Kennedy Godfrey is undeterred, "Trades are where it’s at!" About to graduate this spring term with an associate’s degree in Machine Manufacturing, Godfrey hopes to soon be working as a machinist for an intermediate sized shop (less than 50 employees).

“I was on the FIRST Robotics team as a main builder at Hillsboro High School," said Godfrey, who custom-built 40-pound robots with 3-D printing to compete. Using her hands this creative way hooked her, starting the plan to become a machinist.

With machine manufacturing training, the Oregon Employment Department forecasts that machinist employment in the Portland area will grow 10.9% through 2027 and the average annual salary is nearly $60,000. The MMT program is focused on the computer-aided manufacturing software to control, manipulate, and manage precision computer numerically controlled machinery, further solidifying the college’s reputation as a leading provider of hands-on training in advanced manufacturing and drawing in students throughout the region who are in-demand in the industry.

“I picked PCC since it was a college close to home, and my brother was attending the PCC automotive program,” said Godfrey, who first enrolled at the college during the pandemic and has persisted into her third year while working part-time as a lifeguard. Godfrey received the Oregon Promise grant and financial aid while studying at PCC. Because she kept a busy schedule, she especially appreciated the flexible hours in the MMT Program that allowed her to work and get her hands-on shop time and studying done.

When asked how her background prepared her for the trigonometry used in machining, she shared that while she does not consider herself the strongest math student, Godfrey said that she uses computer shortcuts. She found smart work-arounds like using a CAD program and a Google spreadsheet to solve her assignments.

“As for my favorite aspect of the classes, I like that at the beginning of the term I can get all the blueprints at once. For whatever classes you are taking, all the projects are due by the end of the term. It’s nice just having the one due date for most of the project classes as it makes everything feel a little less stressful,” said Godfrey.

To learn more, visit pcc.edu/programs/machine-manufacturing/

Godfrey and thousands of PCC grads will be honored as part of the class of 2024. The college’s commencement ceremony takes place at 7 p.m., Friday, June 14 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum where thousands of newly minted graduates will celebrate their degrees and certificates with family and friends.


About Portland Community College: Founded in 1961, Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon and provides training, degree and certificate completion, and lifelong learning to more than 50,000 full- and part-time students in Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Columbia counties. PCC has four comprehensive campuses, 10 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/

Gigi Giangiobbe
Gigi Giangiobbe
Graduate's journey of resilience earns a timely academic achievement (Photo) - 05/29/24

SOUTHEAST PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Community College student and soon-to-be college graduate Gigi Giangiobbe is all about being dedicated and a hard worker.

These traits recently paid off as she was named a Bronze Scholar on Coca-Cola’s 2024 Academic Team. Selected based on her performance in the All-USA Academic Team competition, sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Giangiobbe received a $1,000 scholarship and beat out more than 2,200 applicants.

“Receiving this recognition feels great,” said Giangiobbe, who is earning an associate degree in Creative Writing this spring. “I have worked incredibly hard the last two plus years, and there were definitely a couple terms where I briefly thought to myself ‘Can I do this? I don't think I can do this.’ But I quickly brushed those feelings of self-doubt aside and assured myself that I could accomplish any difficult thing I set out to do.”

Originally from Oakland, Calif., Giangiobbe found her home in the lush green spaces of Southeast Portland, where she has resided for the past few years. Her academic journey at PCC began when she was three months shy of her 31st birthday, a time marked by big changes and lingering self-doubt. Reflecting on her tumultuous 20s, she acknowledged the challenges she faced but emphasizes how finding stability reignited her drive and ambition.

“I struggled financially and in many other ways throughout my 20s, and I had completely written off college,” she said. “I didn't have the money, the time, the drive, and I didn't believe in myself at all – I had genuinely forgotten I was a smart person capable of hard things. I found some stability and that made it easier to breathe and set goals and have dreams. I took these new goals and dreams and ran with them, always moving forward, and the only time I look back is to remember where I've come from and to smile at the girl I used to be.”

Despite initially pursuing a degree in Environmental Science, her passion for writing, reading, and editing eventually led her to switch her major to English and Creative Writing. She will receive her degree as part of the class of 2024. PCC’s commencement ceremony takes place at 7 p.m., Friday, June 14 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum where thousands of newly minted graduates like Giangiobbe will celebrate their degrees and certificates with family and friends.

Looking ahead, she aspires to become an editor, a published author, and perhaps even a teacher. She attributes much of her success to the supportive community at PCC, from dedicated instructors to invaluable resources like counseling services and academic support centers. Giangiobbe found solace and encouragement in the Women's and Queer Resource centers, where she could seek guidance, access resources, and connect with peers who shared her experiences and aspirations.

“Having these communities, these instructors, and these resources helped me every day,” she said. “Honestly, I always had someone I could go to when I had questions, and I always had access to tea, snacks, and books – three of my favorite things. I have an incredible foundation outside of PCC, but these additional pillars within PCC have made all the difference. I don't know if I could have done as well as I did without the support of my instructors and peers.” 

 

About Portland Community College: Founded in 1961, Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon and provides training, degree and certificate completion, and lifelong learning to more than 50,000 full- and part-time students in Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Columbia counties. PCC has four comprehensive campuses, 10 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: Gigi Giangiobbe
PCC's Groundswell Conference celebrates student creative work on Cascade Campus in Terrell Hall on June 7.
PCC's Groundswell Conference celebrates student creative work on Cascade Campus in Terrell Hall on June 7.
PCC's Groundswell Conference celebrates student creative work (image) (Photo) - 05/23/24

NORTH PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Community College's upcoming Groundswell Conference will feature an array of themes that should captivate audiences. 

More than 40 students will present their original, creative and academic writings on a range of topics, across the disciplines, presenting their submissions at the annual conference of student work’s opening ceremony at 8:45 a.m., Friday, June 7 Room 122, Terrell Hall, at the Cascade Campus.  

Panel topics are cultural identity, gender expectations and feminism, mental health, music, social justice, domestic violence, social media and technology, education, creative writing, and more. Held since 2017, this event is an opportunity to bring students, faculty, and the greater community together from across the district for one day to celebrate students and engage in conversation. 

Free and open to the public, Groundswell panels are from 9:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The three main sessions, with several topics each, are held for 45-minutes with a small break between with refreshments. In fact, there is a volcanic multimedia student-made composition from PCC’s All-Oregon Academic Team member Yogev Toby, viewable here.

“It’s a truly unique event that honors and showcases our students’ work from any and all disciplines,” said organizer and PCC English instructor Melissa Manolas. 

Times of sessions on June 7 are: Session 1 from 9:45-10:30 a.m.; Session 2 from 10:45-11:30 a.m.; and Session 3 from 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 

For more information visit https://www.pcc.edu/events/groundswell/.

 

About Portland Community College: Founded in 1961, Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon and provides training, degree and certificate completion, and lifelong learning to more than 50,000 full- and part-time students in Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Columbia counties. PCC has four comprehensive campuses, 10 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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From left, Oscar Arana (NAYA CEO), Patricia Rojas (regional housing director at Metro), Ivory Mathews (executive director of Home Forward), Dr. Adrien Bennings (PCC president), Helmi Hisserich (director of the Portland Housing Bureau), and Natasha Detweiler-Daby (director of Affordable Rental Housing Division).
From left, Oscar Arana (NAYA CEO), Patricia Rojas (regional housing director at Metro), Ivory Mathews (executive director of Home Forward), Dr. Adrien Bennings (PCC president), Helmi Hisserich (director of the Portland Housing Bureau), and Natasha Detweiler-Daby (director of Affordable Rental Housing Division).
PCC and partners break ground on affordable housing next to new Opportunity Center (Photo) - 05/20/24

NORTHEAST PORTLAND, Ore. – A significant milestone was reached May 15 with the groundbreaking of the PCC Killingsworth apartment community in Northeast Portland. The event, celebrated by Portland Community College, Home Forward and the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), was attended by leaders from the Portland Housing Bureau, Metro, Oregon Housing and Community Services, housing advocates, and various partners.

The new development, set to be a vibrant community hub, will feature 84 income-based apartment homes, including 18 studios, six one-bedroom units, 45 two-bedroom units, and 15 three-bedroom units. Key amenities include bike storage, Wi-Fi, outdoor courtyards, a family room, a community kitchen, a large laundry room, and an experiential playscape. The project will be co-located with the new PCC Opportunity Center at 42nd Ave., enhancing the community's resources and opportunities.

Ivory Mathews, CEO of Home Forward, expressed her excitement, stating, "This collaboration is a testament to what can be achieved when organizations come together with a shared vision of creating opportunities for families to thrive and communities to prosper."

Dr. Adrien L. Bennings, president of PCC, emphasized the project's broader impact, highlighting the Opportunity Center's role in community development. "This project exemplifies our commitment to holistic community development. Through collaboration with key partners, we've created more than just a center; we've created a hub for opportunity and stability."

The neighborhood revitalization effort will also include a 16,000-square-foot plaza for community events and a casual amphitheater. Additionally, the Oregon Department of Human Services will have an on-site office, and the Multnomah County Health Department will open a community health center next year.

The PCC Killingsworth development, scheduled for completion by summer 2025, exemplifies best practices in community-driven solutions and economic mobility support. Funded by the 2018 Metro Housing Bond and other sources, this project aligns with regional goals for housing affordability and accessibility. 

PCC’s new Opportunity Center at 42nd Avenue (located at 4299 NE Killingsworth St.) opened last fall to the community. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by the Department of Human Services, NAYA and Home Forward, offering a comprehensive array of services, educational resources, and workforce development initiatives.

This center’s primary mission is to address racial and economic disparities by providing residents with access to education and career-track employment opportunities. The services offered include career exploration, coaching, skills development, and comprehensive support systems to help individuals achieve their goals.

Funded by the 2017 PCC bond measure, the 50,000-square-foot Opportunity Center at 42nd Avenue is a state-of-the-art structure aiming for LEED Gold certification for integrating Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). This is a sustainable and eco-friendly construction material that contributes to the building’s warmth and inviting atmosphere.

For more information, visit the Opportunity Center’s webpage

 

About Portland Community College: Founded in 1961, Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon and provides training, degree and certificate completion, and lifelong learning to more than 50,000 full- and part-time students in Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Columbia counties. PCC has four comprehensive campuses, 10 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/