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As PCC grows, it becomes more of a solution to economic woes
Photos and Story by James Hill
Portland Community College, ranked 19th nationally in community college enrollment, has grown by 42 percent in credit students the past five years.
This fall term, the growth has not slowed down, as PCC experienced an increase in enrollment for the 17th consecutive term. Total headcount and full-time equivalent (FTE) students have grown by 8.7 percent, respectively. In total, the college grew to 45,022 students this term, a surge of 3,613 from this time a year ago, and to 10,137 FTE, an increase of 811 compared to fall term 2010.
In the economic downturn PCC has been a resource for not only students saving money on their first two years of college, but for businesses as well. The Small Business Development Center – part of the CLIMB Center for Advancement – served more than 900 clients last year, creating 167 new jobs and retaining 129 more. With an annual budget of approximately $538,000, the center’s return on investment comes to 329 percent – $3.29 benefit to taxpayers for every $1 invested by stakeholders.
“This institution really has allowed thousands and thousands of people to get good family wage jobs, which of course has made our community even stronger,” said Gov. John Kitzhaber of PCC at a recent October event. “And as we work to rebuild Oregon’s economy clearly we need to create even more family wage jobs and spur innovation and I have no doubt whatsoever that Portland Community College, with its 93,000 students and its connections and partnerships with business and industries like Intel, will definitely be a part of the solution.”
Last month, the City of Portland and Portland Development Commission selected the PCC SBDC for a $120,000 grant to help strengthen existing small businesses through technical assistance and training, translating to assistance for approximately 150 to 200 businesses during the course of the next year.
“This shows how critical PCC’s services are to the health and wealth of the small business community in Portland,” said PCC District President Preston Pulliams. “We are pleased that we have this grant funding from the Portland Development Commission to extend our services to businesses that have been historically underserved.”
By campus, here is how fall term enrollment has unfolded across the district:
Southeast Center (2305 S.E. 82nd and Division) – The center’s core enrollment increase by 34.6 percent.
Sylvania Campus (12000 S.W. 49th Ave.) – It experienced a 7.4-percent increase in total student enrollment and 6.1 percent growth in its FTE.
Cascade Campus (705 N. Killingsworth St.) – It grew by 7.5 percent in FTE and 9.9 percent in overall headcount.
Rock Creek Campus (17705 N.W. Springville Road) – Credit students increased by 9.9 percent and total headcount by 9.7 percent.
In addition, the enrollment growth has led to transportation programs aimed at getting students to drive less to campuses due to high parking demand.