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New Support for Head Start Families

Program to focus on balancing work, careers

2/19/2020, 10:48 a.m.
Thanks to a substantial grant from the Kresge Foundation, Portland Community College and Albina Head Start will have more resources ...
Combining early childhood education and support for adult student parents can help kids succeed and give current college and career-path students the ability to stay in school and graduate. Photo courtesy Portland Community College

Portland Community College and Albina Head Start will have more resources to connect low-income residents and students to human services and educational pathways to future careers as they balance work and childcare needs thanks to a new grant of $495,000 from the Kresge Foundation.

The funds will expand existing career-focused PCC education programs and support an additional 200 Early Head Start and Head Start parents. As part of this effort, staff will identify and reform organizational barriers, and develop better approaches to serve low-income communities of color.

“We will look at how we can use student-centered design to improve the way we communicate and connect with student parents,” said Kate Kinder, PCC’s director of career pathways and skills. “We’ll look at how we collaborate and align systems more effectively with partners, and what policies can improve college access, completion, and career opportunities for student parents.”

In 2018 the Oregon State Legislature passed HB4043, which called on community colleges to assess students’ financial constraints and determine how to increase access to federal, state and local benefits by low-income students. The Pathways to Opportunity initiative was thus launched, to close opportunity gaps and increase economic mobility across the state. PCC serves as the lead on the project, which includes a coalition of all 17 Oregon community colleges, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, Oregon Community College Association, community-based organizations, and state partners like Oregon Department of Human Services.