As we, the Portland Metro Region, consider what we hope to be in the future, it includes a thriving community where all can succeed; a vibrant economy with a highly skilled and educated workforce. Community colleges play a vital role in this vision and PCC, Oregon’s largest college, is a central part of this equation.
Right now, PCC has bond measure #26-196 on the ballot. This measure seeks to improve workforce training programs through modernized facilities; expand training for health professions and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) disciplines; and meet needs for safety, security, building longevity and disability access throughout the college. This is a renewal bond, so there is no additional cost to the taxpayer, but the return on investment is significant.
For more than 75,000 students in the metro region, PCC is changing lives. By 2020, two-thirds of all jobs will require some level of postsecondary instruction or specialized training.
The bond measure, if passed, would undergird PCC’s ability to educate Oregon’s future workforce with up-to-date equipment and technology, helping students to land recession-resistant, family wage jobs with career advancement potential. Our students benefit and so does the community at large: An educated community and skilled workforce benefit all.
PCC’s bond program also benefits the community through construction jobs, sustainable construction practices, partnerships with local business owners, and the ongoing betterment of neighborhoods. Specific to construction, our Board of Directors has a 20 percent goal for MWESB participation, and we are happy to say that through the last bond program we’ve exceeded this goal. This kind of collaboration is what makes our community stronger and our college more successful.
PCC is your community college but it is also a vital component of Oregon’s economic engine. It serves as a critical catalyst for the region’s educational, government, business, industry, community and philanthropic partners. Its diverse alumni are those who make our community work: the small business owners, technicians, teachers, manufacturers, emergency service providers and nurses who keep our economy strong and thriving. PCC creates pathways for students to reach their academic goals and complete their certificates and degrees. In turn, our graduates can land work enabling them to contribute to, and participate and share equitably in, a thriving local economy. Every dollar invested in PCC yields a $12.50 return. That’s the ROI we need.
With your help and support, PCC can rebuild Oregon’s middle class through education, skills training and workforce development. So, come November 7, we ask that you vote “yes” on the PCC bond. Our region’s long-term economic health and vitality depends on it.
If passed, PCC’s bond measure is estimated to maintain current tax rates for local homeowners, with the total principal amount of bonds authorized not to exceed $185 million. This is estimated to maintain the tax rate of $0.40 per $1,000 of assessed property value, for 16 years.
About the author: Kali Thorne Ladd is chair of the PCC Board of Directors and represents Zone 2, which includes Multnomah and Columbia Counties. She has served on PCC’s Board since 2012. Thorne Ladd holds a master’s degree in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University. She is a co-founder of KairosPDX, a non-profit organization focused on access to quality early learning opportunities for historically underserved children.