PCC Continues Discussion on Columbia County Center

Portland Community College (PCC) continued their discussions with local residents on October 21, 2014 concerning the potential course offerings at the planned Columbia County education center, scheduled to open in 2017.

This latest meeting was just part of the community outreach that PCC is conducting to gather input about what classes, programs and services the education center should provide.

Beginning in May of 2014 PCC has surveyed educators in Columbia County and also met with school superintendents and elected officials from Vernonia, St. Helens and Scappoose. (PCC’s service area does not include the Rainier or Clatskanie  school districts.)  They also met with key employers and stakeholders followed by two open community forums in Scappoose and St. Helens.  They then met with guidance councilor and school administrators from the three school districts and met and surveyed high school students as well.

The Columbia County education center is expected to consist of roughly three classrooms.  PCC is still seeking a location of  approximately twenty acres to site the campus, which would provide space for expansion in the future. A decision on the site is expected in March of 2015.   PCC is also re-examining the development of a Public Safety Regional Training Center, which would require a site of over 200 acres, and could be developed in conjunction with the Columbia County education center. 

During the latest meeting, which was held at Meriwether Place in St. Helens, PCC staff reported about the  priorities for programing for the new education center they have gathered through their ten outreach events with local community members.   Priorities identified by school  administrators, elected  officials, the general public  and business leaders included Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes,  4-year University transfer classes, basic computer and pre-employment skills, and GED classes.  High School staff identified CTE classes,  complimentary classes that extend learning already happening in high schools, dual credit classes that would allow high school students to begin earning college credits, and SAT prep classes as priorities.   High school seniors who were surveyed answered  somewhat differently, and overwhelmingly identified 4-year transfer classes as their top priority.   Students also identified career exploration classes as a need.

Other support priorities identified as needs at the Columbia County education center included career exploration and advisement, and financial aid assistance.

PCC is already holding classes in Columbia County including welding classes, a two-term Career Pathway Certificate in Customer Service and several outdoor non-credit classes. The PCC winter term begins January 5 and ends March 15.  PCC also has a Small Business Development Center which provides free business advising in Scappoose.

For more information about the Columbia County PCC campus go  to www.edu/about/location/columbia-county or search “PCC Columbia County”