Single dad, student says childcare essential for college life at PCC

Photos and Story by | 6 comments

What would Jeff Martinez be doing today if he didn’t have access to daycare at the Sylvania Campus Child Development Center? In all honesty, he said, he doesn’t know.

What is known is that Martinez is well on his way to an associate degree at Portland Community College and eventually a bachelor’s in Business from Portland State University. This impressive journey, that includes a leadership position with Sylvania’s student government and the District Student Council, began in 2015 when he enrolled at PCC after having his daughter accepted into the campus’ daycare.

“Having access to high-quality childcare has allowed me to focus on school,” Martinez said. “It was definitely a deciding factor coming here. The biggest barrier for single parents like me, or parents going back to school is affordable childcare. If my daughter wasn’t in daycare at PCC, I’d have to drop her off at an off-campus facility and make numerous trips a day, which would be very hard. Here, it’s a one-stop shop where everything is centralized.”

PCC has listened to parents like Martinez and wants to have childcare available to students at every comprehensive campus. Right now, only the Rock Creek Campus doesn’t have a childcare center. As part of the 2017 bond measure, the college would build the $7 million Rock Creek Child Development Center.

This new facility would make the Rock Creek Campus more accommodating for current and prospective students with young children. These students, who often struggle to balance parenthood and pursuing their education, could take advantage of an 8,000-square-foot child care facility right on campus. The college would partner with a local provider to offer child development services similar to what is at Cascade and Southeast. The Sylvania Campus provides a lab-run system of daycare with high-quality services for parents combined with a teacher-student learning environment.

It’s an important piece of the bond. For PCC President Mark Mitsui, equitable student success is a big issue for him and the college going forward as the community’s demographics and economics change as the cost of living in Portland skyrockets. In response, PCC continues to develop its childcare network across the college, especially with upgraded facilities that will offer more slots coming online soon at the Sylvania Campus.

Martinez said the resources at PCC like childcare made the difference for him in this difficult time. A low-income, first-generation college student, he uses the free PCC Shuttle occasionally to save on gas to get to his classes, gets free food once a week from the Panther Pantries, and takes advantage of student resource center services and activities. To help with funding, Martinez was awarded Head Start and CCAMPIS grants to fund his daughter’s daycare so he can focus on earning the very first college degree in his family.

“These are opportunities I’ve never had before,” he said. “And, I’m taking advantage of them.”

Eventually, the Southern Oregon native wants to operate a music venue and creative marketing firm when his educational journey ends. Not bad for a man who watched his mom struggle with providing for his family while on disability and wanted to change that status quo, and smash the economic and social barriers to college.

“It has meant everything for me to be able to go to school,” Martinez said. “Having to work full time to pay for childcare leaves little time for school. It’s a cycle I needed to break because we weren’t going anywhere if that continued. Getting her into daycare at PCC has allowed me to go to school full time and get involved on campus.

“The end game now is my daughter doesn’t have to grow up where she can’t take advantage of college herself,” he added. “She’ll benefit from this change where we won’t have to worry about basic things like eating.”

What Would the Bond Do?

The PCC bond measure of $185 million would:

  • improve workforce training programs to better align with current and future jobs.
  • invest in training for Health and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs.
  • upgrade safety, security, building longevity and disability access.

If passed, it is estimated to the tax rate of 40 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for the next 16 years. Learn more about it!

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 »

Poppe with speech bubble

Comments

There are 6 comment for this article. If you see something that doesn't belong, please click the x and report it.

x by Jennifer Boehmer 3 weeks ago

Great story. An excellent example of how PCC lifts up the lives of individuals and families. Rooting for Jeff and his continued success!

x by Jade C. 3 weeks ago

This is a great article. It’s inspiring to me as a single-parent and college student. It makes me proud to be a PCC student.

x by Katelynn H. 3 weeks ago

Wow! I love this story. I can relate to this, my mom was a single parent with raising me and my little brother. I saw the struggles she went through trying to take care of us, and she wasn’t even in school. I’m glade single parents are FINALLY getting the help they need to help lift worry and stress off their shoulders.

x by Katy 3 weeks ago

too bad it is almost impossible for anyone to get childcare here at pcc.. ridiculous how hard it is.

x by Hailee Mcburney 2 weeks ago

Great story. Looking forward to the child development program coming back to the Rock Creek campus in the future.

x by Tabatha 1 week ago

Yeah I have already had to miss a few classes at Rock Creek due to lack of child care, which has effected my grade and participation. Having child care here would change my life.

Add to the discussion

PCC offers this limited open forum as an extension of the respectful, well-reasoned discourse we expect in our classroom discussions. As such, we welcome all viewpoints, but monitor comments to be sure they stick to the topic and contribute to the conversation. We will remove them if they contain or link to abusive material, personal attacks, profanity, off-topic items, or spam. This is the same behavior we require in our hallways and classrooms. Our online spaces are no different.

Follow

Email Subscriptions

Enter your email address to follow PCC News and recieve notifications of new posts by email.

What's Hot?

Archives

Search PCC News