PCC’s New Opportunity Center Being Built for Students and Community
Training and Education Specialist Tracee Wells
Tracee Wells has been helping students and members of the public connect to opportunities and navigate their career paths at Portland Community College. She recently transitioned into a new role as training and education specialist. She supports a variety of programs and services at the Portland Metro Workforce Training Center (PMWTC) in Northeast Portland. The center helps people explore careers that will provide upward mobility in an inclusive environment. PMWTC will include 84 affordable housing units and other supportive services to be accessed by surrounding communities.
The facility is part of PCC’s Opportunity Centers, which work to close opportunity gaps to give people the tools they need to develop their skill sets and the confidence to be competitive for high-demand careers. They also help students navigate resources, find employment and connect to the right PCC certificate and degree programs.
PCC’s Community Workforce Development Department partners with the Oregon Department of Human Services and other community agencies to provide services at these centers like PMWTC. They work closely with college programs, such as PCC Clear Clinic, Career Pathways and the Outreach and Advocacy Project, to connect students to the unique resources that will help them navigate and be successful in their academic and career journeys.
“Many of the students are nontraditional and come through the doors of our Metro and Willow Creek opportunity centers with multiple barriers to work or school,” Wells said. “My goal is to help remove or minimize as many barriers as I can in my role and through leveraging the valuable internal and external partners who come together to support equitable success.”
Last year, Wells participated in a major college initiative called Yes to Equitable Student Success (YESS) that informed the development of PCC’s 2020-25 Strategic Plan. Wells served as part of a dedicated cohort of 140 staff and faculty who worked to design the new academic and career pathways in a way that keeps students and equity at the center.
“That’s meeting people where they are—culturally, mentally, emotionally and trauma-informed, so as not to create any additional stress on their lives,” said Wells. “We are giving them the support that they need to gain overall student success, and they feel a true sense of belonging.”