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In its 45th year, PCC is all about diversity, access

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Community College begins the 2006-07 academic year as not only the largest community college in Oregon, but the most diverse.

PCC will open its doors to students on Monday, Sept. 25. The college is the most racially and ethnically diverse institution of higher education in Oregon. More than 25 percent of the college’s enrollment feature students of color and nearly 60 percent of the degree-seeking enrollees are first-generation college students. Plus, there are 5,000 students enrolled in English for Speakers of Other Languages programs.

“Community colleges have historically served as the gateway to higher education and economic opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds – including immigrants, older students, people of color, women, and people with disabilities,” said Preston Pulliams, PCC District President. “PCC is no exception. Our students are very diverse. Our community and our students will only become more diverse in the coming years.”

The college turns 45 this year. The college began offering classes in 1961 at the old Failing Elementary School in the Ross Island area of Portland with a dozen students earning diplomas the following year. The college is a local success story, now serving more than 88,200 full- and part-time students in a multi-campus system.

For the 2006-07 year, the college will continue to open doors to its diverse community and help students from all walks of life thrive. Here are some of the initiatives and news happening at PCC in 2006-07:

* The English as a Second Language and English as a Non-Native Language faculty and administrators have joined forces to implement the streamlined English for Speakers of Other Languages program.

* The college has successfully completed all of the projects from the 2000 bond program. This was done with record use of minority and women-owned contractors and suppliers.

* The PCC Foundation raised a record amount of contributions during the past year, eclipsing $1 million dollars raised for scholarships and programs.

* During the past year, the college received grants in excess of $25 million dollars. This included PCC earning another five-year, $1.1 million “Talent Search” grant from the U.S. Department of Education to the Rock Creek Talent Search (RCTS) Program. The grant will help PCC provide educational services to 600 low-income and potential first-generation college students in the Beaverton and Forest Grove School districts.

* The PCC Cascadia Regional Sustainability Education Institute was recognized with a National Science Foundation grant. This grant will help the college become a regional leader in the education and training necessary to support sustainable development.

* The Gateway to College program, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, continues to replicate its success with high school dropouts at 17 community colleges nationwide.

* The Center for Business and Industry starts its second year after a successful 2005-06. The center is a one-stop contact for PCC’s comprehensive training, consulting and pre-employment services for local business.

* Portland Community College was awarded the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for 2005. It’s the fifth straight year PCC has received this honor. The Portland Community College Board of Directors also voted this summer to adopt the general fund budget of $146,009,939 for the 2006-07 fiscal year.

Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon, serving approximately 88,200 full- and part-time students. For more PCC news, please visit us on the Web at PCC has three comprehensive campuses, five workforce training and education centers, and 200 community locations in the Portland metropolitan area. The PCC district encompasses a 1,500-square-mile area in northwest Oregon and offers two-year degrees, one-year certificate programs, short-term training, alternative education, pre-college courses and life-long learning.

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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