Education and Career Opportunities for Underserved Communities
(from left) Kien Truong, PCC Board Member; Sherrelle Jackson, Oregon Dept of Human Services District Manager; Susheela Jayapal, Multnomah County Commissioner; Dr. Adrien Bennings, PCC President (with scissors); Tiffani Penson, PCC Board Chair; and Rob Wagner, State Senator.
Portland Community College marked a significant milestone in its commitment to advancing education and career opportunities for underserved communities with the grand opening of the Opportunity Center at 42nd Avenue.
This transformative facility, located at 4299 NE Killingsworth St., is a collaborative endeavor supported by the Oregon Department of Human Services and the Native American Youth and
Family Center, offering a comprehensive array of services, educational resources, and workforce development initiatives. PCC worked with Living Cully, a partnership of nonprofit groups committed to supporting the community by building economic, social and environmental opportunities, to conduct outreach to the neighborhood to plan for the resources the community needed..
"The use of CLT in the building of the center is helping PCC meet the sustainability goals of our bond-funded project," said Tiffani Penson, PCC board member. "The center aims to provide a warm and welcoming environment where our students and community members can access many services like workforce training, healthcare, childcare, and SNAP benefits -- all in one place. I love that. Centralized services make it so easy for our students and members of our community."
This center's primary mission is to address racial and economic disparities by providing individuals with access to education and career-track employment opportunities. The services offered include career exploration, coaching, skills development, and comprehensive support systems to help individuals achieve their goals.
PCC's Opportunity Centers, such as the new 42nd Avenue facility, play a pivotal role in reducing opportunity gaps by equipping individuals with the skills and confidence necessary to pursue high-demand careers. These centers assist students in navigating resources, finding employment, and progressing in their academic and career pathways.
"It is spectacular," said Rebecca Ocken, Planning & Capital Construction director. "I want to acknowledge the contributions that the center's staff made to the design of this building. The dedication and commitment that you gave to the process is transformative. This building is the way it is because of all of you."
The grand opening is just the beginning for this vital community resource. In the coming year, public art installations reflecting the values of the center and college, as well as the diverse stories of the community, will be added. Additionally, Multnomah County is set to open a 10,000-square-foot health clinic, offering healthcare and dental services. Home Forward will begin construction on an 84-unit affordable housing complex in partnership with PCC, including NAYA's Early Learning Center for child development services.
"With our new health clinic, we will be able to serve more than twice the number of people we serve at the current location," said Susheela Jayapal, Multnomah County commissioner. "We'll go from 2,000 to 5,000 people. But the Opportunity Center is not just about this clinic, it's also about housing, education, wrap-around services and childcare -- all of which demonstrates PCC's commitment to workforce development."
For more information on the center's services, visit https://www.pcc.edu/locations/42nd-ave/