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Vote Yes to Make Our Community Stronger

PCC bond renewal aims at skilled and educated workforce

Kali Thorne Ladd | 10/31/2017, 5:48 p.m.
Portland Community College needs your support
Kali Thorne Ladd

Portland Community College needs your vote of support for the PCC bond levy measure. Ballots are due by 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7 at official county ballot drop boxes and election offices.

Our vision for the Portland Metro Region is a vibrant economy with a highly skilled and educated workforce. Community colleges play a vital role to ensure this vision becomes a reality, and PCC -- Oregon’s largest, postsecondary institution serving more than 75,000 students -- is a central part of this equation.

PCC put bond measure #26-196 on the ballot (www.pcc.edu/bond) to improve workforce training programs through modernized facilities; to 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 instance, in 2015-16 PCC and its students added $1.9 billion in income to the regional economy. Research shows that for every dollar invested in a PCC education, the college returns $12.50 in added state revenue and social savings.

PCC is more than a community college. It is 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.

Furthermore, PCC’s bond program benefits the community through construction jobs, partnerships with local business owners, and the ongoing betterment of neighborhoods. Our Board of Directors has a 20 percent goal for minority, women, and emerging small business participation, and we are happy to say that through the bond program we’ve met this goal! This kind of collaboration is what makes our community stronger.

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 land recession-resistant, family wage jobs with career advancement potential. Given that by 2020, two thirds of all jobs will require some level of postsecondary instruction or specialized training, this is critical.

With your help and support, PCC can continue to rebuild pathways toward employment and skills training for those in Portland, as well as provide jobs. These contribute to the foundation of a thriving community.

So, come Nov. 7, we ask that you vote “yes” on the PCC bond. Our region’s long-term economic health and vitality depends on it.

Kali Thorne Ladd is chair of PCC’s Board of Directors and represents Zone 2, which includes Multnomah and Columbia Counties. 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.