Please note: This was published over a year ago. Phone numbers, email addresses and other information may have changed.
U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith to Award D.C. Internship to PCC Skill Center Graduate
Photos and Story by James Hill
U.S. Senator Gordon Smith will announce PCC student Jermon McLean as the 1999 Portland Community College Cascade Campus Minority Internship recipient on Friday, April 16, 2 p.m., in the foyer of the Student Services Building at the Cascade Campus, 705 N. Killingsworth. The community is invited to meet with Sen. Smith and McLean.
Smith established the internship last year to recognize the accomplishments and talent of PCC’s non-traditional students who enroll in the Skill Center, a short-term training program for unemployed and under-employed people primarily from North and Northeast Portland.
Smith first visited the program in 1995 as then-Oregon Senate President. The staff’s commitment to students and the students’ commitment to improving their lives impressed him. Since then, Smith has advocated for the program, been featured as a speaker at one of the Skill Center graduations and kicked off his 1996 U.S. Senate campaign at the Skill Center. He has called the program a fine example of "a hand up, not a hand out."
The 1999 intern is Jermon McLean, 24, who entered the Skill Center program after first obtaining his GED following a series of dead-end jobs. He moved to Portland from Florida four months ago with help from his aunt and uncle, Okianer Christian Dark and Lawrence Dark. Dark is president of The Urban League of Portland. The Darks encouraged McLean to enroll at the Cascade Campus Skill Center.
McLean said, "The award is a dream come true. I prayed for this. My aunt gave me passages in the Bible to help me mentally prepare for the interview."
He begins studies at the Cascade Campus in the fall and intends to major in elementary education. McLean says his hobbies range from volunteering as an assistant basketball coach at North Portland’s Holy Redeemer school to playing video games. He will begin his three month summer internship in Washington, D.C. in June.
Mildred Ollee, executive dean of the Cascade Campus, will emcee the ceremony. Speakers include Sen. Smith, McLean, PCC President Dan Moriarty and Margaret Carter, former state legislator and North-Northeast Portland community leader.