Oregon community colleges use state investment package to support students

Community college students across Oregon are beginning to see the benefits of a multi-million dollar statewide workforce package.

Universities have begun offering free or discounted courses, funding student needs, and expanding programming using funds from Future Ready Oregon. This is his $200 million investment in vocational training and education passed by the state legislature last year.

Of that $200 million, Future Ready poured about $15 million into 17 community colleges in Oregon to improve short-term programs focused primarily on hands-on industries. These career path initiatives may lead to more schooling or directly into the workforce. I’m here.

Related: Oregon Legislature to invest $200 million in jobs

Clackamas Community College received approximately $980,000 from Future Ready Career Pathway grants. We are using some of that funding to offer low-fee or free programs to students starting next week.

CCC offers discounted classes in over 90 career technology programs. They prioritize students from underrepresented communities, including people of color, women, low-income earners, and veterans.

Britany Ellerbrook, director of CCC’s Future Ready Oregon Career Pathways, told OPB:

In this file photo, welding instructor John Phelps holds an airplane component made by one of his students after completing the Metallica Scholar’s program at Clackamas Community College. With additional funding from the Oregon Legislature, the university offers extra support for students in the Pathway program to weld other subjects.

Jeff Thompson / OPB

Ellerbrook said the university is providing even more support for pathway programs to healthcare, welding, irrigation and computerized numerical control operations. In those areas, she said, the university offers additional academic support to students participating in programs such as Adult Basic Education and English for Speakers of Other Languages.

Ellerbrook said financial aid cannot cover many programs because it does not provide students with enough credits to meet aid requirements.

“Now I can actually pay for my tuition with this money,” she said. “I really couldn’t do it before.”

Ellerbrook said that if students were able to cover their tuition fees through scholarships or other means, the university would provide future-proof funds to meet needs such as housing, transportation, childcare, and textbooks. We can provide.

“We look at students and their qualifications holistically and try to make the most of all those resources,” she said.

Students are eligible to receive about $3,000 for the winter semester starting this month, Ellerbrook said. If these students continue to take the program next semester, she is also eligible to receive $3,000.

“A career path is just the beginning…but it’s a great start,” Ellerbrook said. “In six months, we will be ready to be employed in some of these fields and industries that really need people with these skills.”

More student support with Future Ready

According to the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Board, 12 of the state’s 17 community colleges are using funds from Future Ready Oregon Career Pathway grants to provide tuition and fees support to their students. indicates that

Kemeketa Community College spends $300,000 in direct student assistance through wraparound support that covers tuition fees for Career Technical courses and helps students progress to college. gas card, childcare, etc. We also fund integrated education and training programs that provide additional support for students whose first language is not English.

A box-shaped building surrounded by trees

Health Career Center at Central Oregon Community College on the Bend Campus. The university has spent $22,500 to support students in many career technology programs, including nursing, by paying for tuition, fees, textbooks, and necessary tools.

Central Oregon Community College

Central Oregon Community College is spending $22,500 to pay for tuition, fees, textbooks, and necessary tools to support students in career technology programs such as nursing, graphic design, and manufacturing. An additional $125,000 will be spent on students this semester.

Both Clatsop Community College and Lynn-Benton Community College have invested in future-proofing funds for textbooks and other needs.

Many colleges are also applying for additional Future Ready grants through their local workforce development committees. Southwestern Oregon Community College received a grant from the Southwestern Oregon Workforce Investment Board and uses the funds to support students pursuing career pathway programs.

Portland Community College prepares to enhance programming for correctional facilities

Portland Community College is using a portion of its Future Ready Oregon dollars to fund a pilot program in preparation for the reinstatement of Pell’s grants to those incarcerated this July.

The university is sending four faculty members this winter to teach writing and college preparation at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Oregon’s Women’s Prison.

Coffee Creek has about 40 students signed up for one or both classes, according to the university.

File photo of Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, Oregon's only women's prison in Wilsonville, October 19, 2022. About 40 students at Coffee Creek have signed up for classes offered this winter, according to Portland Community College.

File photo of Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, Oregon’s only women’s prison in Wilsonville, October 19, 2022. About 40 students at Coffee Creek have signed up for classes offered this winter, according to Portland Community College.

Christina Wentz-Graf / OPB

Lisa Regan-Vienop, Correctional Education Transition Manager at PCC, said in an email.

Regan-Vienop said Coffee Creek expects to detain nearly 100 adults in the PCC service district over the next 18 months.

Related: Federal Grants Restored for Incarcerated Students

“The university, in collaboration with the Department of Corrections, will facilitate the transition of AIC back into society by creating a clear pathway to college and facilitating continuing education to increase AIC’s economic mobility. is well positioned to strengthen the

PCC will add more faculty in the spring to teach additional services at Coffee Creek, including math and health courses.

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