Please note: This was published over a year ago. Phone numbers, email addresses and other information may have changed.

PCC opens new center for Swan Island industry

Photos and Story by

The Portland Community College Swan Island Trades Center is open for business.

On Wednesday, Sept. 17, business leaders and college officials hosted a grand opening ceremony at the new center, 6400 N. Cutter Circle. In front of hundreds of interested onlookers, PCC President Jeremy Brown, PCC Board Chair Deanna Palm, Cascade Campus President Karin Edwards and Swan Island Business Association Executive Director Sarah Angell officially cut the ribbon on PCC’s new Swan Island location, which opened for classes on Monday, Sept. 22.

The Swan Island Trades Center ribbon-cutting featured (left to right) Swan Island Business Association Executive Director Sara Angell, Cascade Campus President Karin Edwards, PCC President Jeremy Brown and PCC Board Chair Deanna Palm.

The Swan Island Trades Center ribbon-cutting featured (left to right) Swan Island Business Association Executive Director Sara Angell, Cascade Campus President Karin Edwards, PCC President Jeremy Brown and PCC Board Chair Deanna Palm.

“We have to establish a pipeline to ensure that when the jobs are there we have the people to fill those jobs with the skills that are needed,” Brown said. “Our economic strength and vitality depends on an educated and developed pool of diverse and skilled workers who are connected to, and engaged with, our community. PCC is providing the skills and the job training for more than 20 different occupations in the trades. This is significant; this is exciting; and this is our future.”

This project is part of the college’s 2008 voter-approved $374 million capital construction bond with $3.6 million going toward the development of the Swan Island Trades Center (plus $1 million earmarked from the state of Oregon.). The ribbon cutting, open house and luncheon was organized in partnership with the Swan Island Business Association. SIBA partners with members to facilitate economic development on Swan Island, strengthen ties to adjacent neighborhoods by connecting residents to jobs on Swan Island and promotes awareness of community resources.

The primary focus of the new Swan Island Trades Center is the Trades & Industry Department, which moved to the new facility this summer from nearby Cascade Campus, 705 N. Killingsworth St. With a growing enrollment of 700 students, the department now has expanded space, integrated classrooms and upgraded technology to enhance training. The department includes Facilities Maintenance/HVAC-R, Fiber Optics, Pre-Apprenticeship and Electrical Trades programs. These offerings add to the training services provided by the college through its welding lab located nearby at Vigor Industrial (5555 N Channel Ave.).

“PCC has been a great partner and has demonstrated its commitment to working with industry to maximize the value of its educational offerings,” said Alan Sprott, vice president of Vigor. “The opening of this new facility is the continuation of PCC executing on its vision and strategy to provide the opportunities for people to build successful lives by matching their educational programs with the needs of employers.”

Degrees offered at Swan Island include the Facilities Maintenance Technology two-year degree; Facilities Maintenance Technology and HVAC Installers certificates; Millwright, Industrial Mechanics, Limited Maintenance Electrician, Manufacturing Plant Electrician and Stationary Engineer apprenticeships; and the Limited Building Maintenance Electrician training program.

Along with leadership from Cascade and expertise from PCC’s CLIMB Center for Advancement, Swan Island will be a resource for continuing education, training, retraining and professional development for Swan Island businesses. CLIMB will share a general classroom and a computer lab with the Trades & Industry programs.

The primary focus of the new Swan Island Trades Center is the Trades & Industry Department, which moved to the new facility this summer from nearby Cascade Campus.

The primary focus of the new Swan Island Trades Center is the Trades & Industry Department, which moved to the new facility this summer from nearby Cascade Campus.

“We happen to live at a time when the economy is really expanding rapidly and that’s certainly the case for us,” said Bill Wyatt, executive director of the Port of Portland. “There is a great fear about whether or not we’re going to have a qualified workforce to construct all of the facilities we see in our line of sight. This facility will be immensely helpful to us. I’m so grateful to PCC for the vision and the will to create this.”

The PCC bond program is constructing and renovating buildings to expand learning areas, working space, program labs and general classrooms all across the PCC district. At Swan Island, the college had a vision of creating a trades education center and purchased the 6400 N. Cutter Circle property in 2010. The five-acre parcel, which was formerly used as a motor pool facility by the state of Oregon, is perfect for PCC as it is situated in the heart of the Swan Island industrial and manufacturing community.

These days, few people can wipe that big grin off of Rick Willebrand’s face. On the day of the grand opening and public open house, the Trades & Industry instructor was busy giving tours to college staff, administration and business partners. Swan Island will provide his department with more education space to the tune of 20,000 square feet and integrated classrooms that have donated technology and software. For instance, students can now work in an expanded computer lab that connects directly to an HVAC room just down the hall where they can control an army of upgraded furnaces and air conditioners.

“We’ve never been able to do this before,” Willebrand said. “We’ve upgraded that classroom from eight to 21 computers. It will be tied in now with that HVAC lab so students can sit here in the computer lab and enter keystrokes and find out whether or not they’ve done it right.”

In addition, the Programmable Logic Controller lab the department uses is much bigger and all of the classrooms have new smart podiums and features (the PLC lab has high-sitting chairs for better over-the shoulder training). The equipment for the programs are donated by industry, including $700,000 worth of fiber optics technology, which Willebrand said will help prepare students for jobs connected to Google’s push to upgrade fiber optics equipment. Everywhere one looks, there’s equipment and technology at the Swan Island Trades Center, and Willebrand said there will be more coming.

“We buy real and working equipment instead of trainers,” he said. “This technology is changing every year because of the electronics and controls. We certainly now have the space to start upgrading even more.”

  • The Swan Island Trades Center ribbon-cutting featured (left to right) Swan Island Business Association Executive Director Sara Angell, Cascade Campus President Karin Edwards, PCC President Jeremy Brown and PCC Board Chair Deanna Palm.
  • The primary focus of the new Swan Island Trades Center is the Trades & Industry Department, which moved to the new facility this summer from nearby Cascade Campus.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

Poppe with speech bubble

Comments

Sorry, but the comments have been closed. If you see something that doesn't belong, please click the x and report it.

x by Jim Deatherage 3 years ago

Wow! Very impressive. I was especially impressed with the continuing upgrade of instrumentation and computer ties into the HVAC program. As someone who has worked in the HVAC field and has family who have done the same, suffice it to say, this is an awesome opportunity for your
students. As Mr. Willebrand states, (my paraphrase) “This is real equipment, real time training, and the necessary room to expand to meet new and challenging advancements.” Kudos to all concerned; this doesn’t just ‘happen.’ It takes planning, expertise, and dedication to the institution’s vision and goals to make all of this come to fruition. Everyone involved in making this move happen deserves a sincere thank you. It will provide a positive impact upon the lives of your students, now and in the future. Well done, indeed!

x by Feature: Bold strategic visioning effort to map out next five years at PCC | PCC News 3 years ago

[…] for an associate’s degree at the new Southeast Campus. This comes on the heels of the Swan Island Trades Center, a new 20,000-square-foot trades education building, that opened earlier in September. It is a […]

x by Christopher Swenson 2 years ago

Focusing on Trades is long past due.
Wondering if you will be expanding the campus to focus on other Trades such as Appliance Repair?

I’ve been looking for education and training programs in Oregon and am not finding them. Seems only a few states in the mid-west, the south, and eastern states actually have college courses devoted to this Trade. Would love to know PCC’s expansion plans for this well deserved career choice.

Follow

Email Subscriptions

Enter your email address to follow PCC News and recieve notifications of new posts by email.

What's Hot?

Archives

Search PCC News