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White House names PCC model in Ready to Work initiative
Photos and Story by James Hill
At a press conference yesterday, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden signed H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and named Portland Community College’s Career Pathways Program as one of 30 examples nationwide that are making a difference in job training.
View interactive map of the examples.
In his 2014 State of the Union address in January, the President tasked Vice President Biden with leading a review of federal employment and training programs, with the aim of making them more job-driven. That review is complete, and now that the White House has identified what is working across the country, the aim is to multiply those examples. The Vice President’s report highlights successful job-driven training strategies, details executive actions that are being taken by the federal government, and new commitments by employers, non-profits, unions and innovators to help spread what’s working and to support more Americans in getting and moving up in in-demand jobs and careers.
The Portland Community College Career Pathways Program has built pathways in a number of industries in partnership with the local workforce investment board, other community colleges, local employers, the state department of health and human services, and other entities. Career Pathways offers training that leads to credentials in a range of industries and serves 1,300 students per year. Average wages for Career Pathways completers one year after employment is $19.40 per hour, higher than the regional median wage.
The 15-year-old program also provides stackable credentials where students can earn multiple certificates that lead towards one-year certificates and two-year degrees. There are 35 Career Pathways certificates in career/technical education, or vocational English for Speakers of Other Languages training. The program provides internships for people who might not have much work history or are in a career transition. Plus, it guides students in career planning with employment specialists, learning how to market themselves to employers, network, use social media and practice interviewing via mock interviews.
View more details on the report or the press conference.