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PCC, Mt. Hood one of 10 sites selected to pilot national welfare-to-work program

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Portland Community College and its partner Mt. Hood Community College were recently awarded a two-year, $232,000 welfare-to-work grant by the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant, one of 10 across the country, will help welfare recipients working in entry-level jobs to move up their career ladder through a customized training plan; and it will help employers reduce employee turnover and absenteeism.

The program, Career Transcripts System, was developed by the SCANS 2000 Center at Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies. The system the center has developed embraces a strategy called "work first and succeed," which starts welfare recipients on a path of continuous skill acquisition and lifelong learning, leading to economic self-sufficiency.

"PCC and Mt. Hood were selected to participate in the SCANS project because of the past history of success working with welfare-to-work programs," said Cheryl Furrer, a workplace liaison for the project. "PCC and Mt. Hood have also developed strong connections with local employers and a solid partnership with Adult and Family Services."

In the ’90s, Oregon, and particularly the Portland metro area through the community colleges’ Steps to Success program, received national attention for its ability to help individuals move from welfare assistance to family-wage jobs. In 1996, at its height, Steps moved 2,219 welfare recipients from public assistance to work.

Under this new national demonstration project, the SCANS 2000 Center at Johns Hopkins will work with Portland and Mt. Hood community colleges, as well as a broad

coalition of workforce development boards, private industry councils, other community colleges, and industry experts.

In Portland, several industry partners have been identified, including Oregon Health Sciences University, Finesse, Providence Health Center, and the Academic Book Center.

The program will guide supervisors and employees to the resources they need to develop the Career Transcript System. The participants can then use the system for job promotions, hiring, raises and other steps up the career ladder.

The skills participants acquire will be recorded on a "career transcript," which will be issued to the community colleges and monitored by the SCANS 2000 Center at Johns Hopkins.

In addition to Portland, other sites include Baltimore, Md.; Chicago, Ill; Davenport, Iowa; Hartford, Conn.; Long Beach, Calif.; state of Rhode Island; St. Lucie County, Fla.; and Yuma, Ariz. For further information, at PCC, please contact Steve Grote 943-2145, Jean Tanney at 943-2143, or Cheryl Furrer, 943-2237.

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 »

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