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Wu to Visit PCC Training Center, Meet Job Seekers
Photos and Story by James Hill
ALOHA, Ore. – Rep. David Wu will meet with dislocated workers and PCC workforce training managers at a Portland Community College training center in Washington County at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Capital Career Center, located at 18624 N.W. Walker Road, entrance "C?. PCC will use the congressman’s visit to discuss the Workforce Investment Act and reauthorization issues. The congressman is a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee and also the subcommittee for 21st Century Competitiveness. Wu will meet with PCC officials at 11 a.m. in room 1536, take a brief tour of the Capital Career Center, and meet with a group of 20 job seekers for a town-hall-type forum from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in room 1300. As Oregon’s unemployment rate climbed to 7.4 percent last fall, leaving thousands out of work, the need for PCC’s job training and job search services burgeoned. At the Capital Career Center, the college’s busiest short-term job training and job search center, 1,591 people received help during the last half of 2001, a jump from the previous year when 418 came in for help during the same period. Between July and December about 700 participated in the dislocated worker program at the center, up from 283 the previous year. The dislocated worker program assists people who have lost jobs as a result of a company layoff.In the month of January, another 441 people participated in programs at the center, said Jackie Sandquist, manager of workforce development programs. "We have been extremely busy. Our resource room is jammed with job seekers,"she said. "The numbers do not seem to be diminishing."The college oversees five dislocated worker operations in the Portland metropolitan area. In addition to serving people at career centers, PCC also works on site with individual companies who are planning layoffs. A "rapid response team"provides layoff services information and resources to employees. During the last half of 2001, the college worked with 36 different companies throughout the metropolitan area.According to Julie Wyckoff-Byers, director of the Capital Career Center, the economic downturn has hit Washington County particularly hard, due to the concentration of high-tech industry in the area. Dislocated worker programs receive federal funding, she said, through the Workforce Investment Act and PCC has applied for additional funding to help meet the demand. The career center contains a computer resource room and labor market library, computerized job listings, on-site recruitment, job search workshops, career counseling and assessment and training program referrals and partner agencies.