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The money is intended to support the college's expansion of job training opportunities in high demand careers.

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - Manufacturing and wood products are some of the highly in-demand skilled labor jobs needed. Google hopes to fill the workforce pipeline by funding local programs.Google is granting $85,000 to the Columbia Community College Foundation, the company announced September 26.

Google operates data centers nearby in The Dalles, and the college has plans to significantly expand job training opportunities.

Kate Franko is the regional director of external affairs for Google's data centers in The Dalles.

"This is an investment in both our future and current workforce here in Wasco County," Franko said. "And it's another example of how Columbia Gorge Community College and its partners are preparing more Oregonians for higher-paying, in-demand technical jobs."

The training programs provide specialties in manufacturing, metal fabrication, agriculture and more tech-based careers, and will be supported by the money through the purchase of advanced industry-standard manufacturing equipment, according to Google.

The equipment will be added to the college's Columbia Gorge Regional Skills Center, which was built to provide underserved students with high-demand technical skills to locals. Lathe equipment as well as computer numerical controlled milling are some of the pieces of equipment planned for purchases, and are used in a variety of industries from wood products to aerospace to agriculture and manufacturing.

Wendy Patton is the executive director of the college foundation.

"Industry partnerships like this elevate the college and provide opportunities for our students to excel," Patton said.

This comes after Google pledged to invest more than $50 million in Oregon this year, and already directed $150,000 in funding to Oregon Tradeswomen.


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