Help can come in many forms. It may involve social services, education, skills training or job placement. In many cases, however, a relationship-based approach with different types of assistance is what’s needed to help people transform their lives through education.
That approach is a hallmark of Portland Community College (PCC), which provides educational and career development services to residents of five Oregon counties, with support from the PCC Foundation. The organization’s extensive experience with Black and Latino communities, vulnerable populations — including people with health challenges, those with a history of housing insecurity or incarceration, and English-language learners — helps coordinate education, social services and job assistance so each participant can achieve economic self-sufficiency. Its Willow Creek Center (WCC) acts as a hub for families connect with local employers, access individualized career coaching and explore high-wage careers such as manufacturing, health care, computer information systems and the trades. They can take college and career preparation classes and train in essential workforce skills.
As Oregon enters a post-Covid recovery, the WCC training programs are in high demand, underscoring a need for additional funding for the organization to provide comprehensive support for local residents and businesses. Bank of America supports the work of WCC through a Neighborhood Builder award, funding that will allow WCC to expand capacity, develop best practices, enhance student services — and help get members of the community into family-wage jobs.