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PCC’s Coffee Creek School of Cosmetology graduation underscores the excitement of ‘commencement season’
Photos and Story by Kate Chester
It’s “that time of year”: springtime and the season of graduation and academic completion ceremonies at Portland Community College.
Completion ceremonies celebrate the accomplishments of graduating students who have participated in a variety of projects and roles throughout the academic year. They also serve as an opportunity to honor the commitment and support of faculty and staff. Collectively, these festivities generally precede the college-wide commencement ceremony, which this year takes place on Friday, June 10 at the Memorial Coliseum.
Of the many completion ceremonies so far, one of the most sentimental has been PCC’s School of Cosmetology’s graduation at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility for women.
Held earlier this spring, the ceremony celebrated the achievements of 11 inmates who graduated with certification from the Oregon Health Authority’s Health Licensing Office in Hair Design, Nail Technology, and Esthetics. The cosmetology program is supported by PCC’s Workforce Development division, which offers classroom instruction and hands-on training.
Students learn about hair care including cutting and designing, coloring, giving permanents, applying relaxers and weaving. Skin care is also part of the educational program, and students learn how to give facials and apply make-up. Finally, they learn how to give manicures and pedicures, and apply artificial nails.
The ceremony featured a fashion show with the graduates, their speeches and remarks from Marc Goldberg, associate vice president of PCC’s Workforce Development division, William Rooker of The Perfect Look, and Tammy Kennedy, trainer for the cosmetology program at the correctional facility.
“I am so proud of these women and the time and effort they’ve put into this program, which is 2,300 hours or approximately two years,” said Kennedy.
“Our goal for these women is that they gain the skills and knowledge necessary to become employed immediately after release. As such, we’ve partnered with several industry professionals as a means to ensure that the training they receive is current and up to today’s standards.
“The program also requires a high degree of accountability and integrity,” said Kennedy, values and attributes that will help these women long term both professionally and personally.
Research indicates that adults in custody who participate in correctional education programs have a lower rate of recidivism and are more likely to obtain employment upon release from incarceration.
Coffee Creek is Oregon’s only prison for women. Managed by the Oregon Department of Corrections, the minimum and medium security correctional facility opened in 2001 and has the capacity for 1,685 inmates.