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PCC Part of National Computer Training Effort for Welfare Recipients

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PORTLAND — Portland Community College and nine other community colleges across the country, including Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, are part of a $4.9 million high-tech effort that pairs the colleges with Private Industry Councils, employers and welfare recipients.

The 18-month project, which began July 1, will place over 2,200 welfare recipients in five high-demand occupations where employers say they are having a tough time recruiting and retaining workers. In addition, people on welfare will improve their long-term earning and learning potential.

"This is an exciting opportunity to partner with employers in new ways by offering post-employment education and training at the worksite," said Nan Poppe, dean of Adult and Continuing Education at Portland Community College.

Under the program, which is funded by a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, workers earn a regular paycheck while receiving on-the-job computer training tailored to specific industries. Employees will also receive overall literacy education and workplace etiquette training. PCC and the other colleges will utilize the latest distance learning technologies to join forces with local PICs. The college-PIC partnership will serve approximately 200 participants each.

Targeted occupations include building maintenance, customer service, home care worker, office worker and security guard. The funds will be used in part to give community college instructors a way to monitor workers’ progress from a remote location and to communicate electronically with the trainees.

The project is sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges, the National Association of Private Industry Councils and Instructional System, Inc.

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