My View: PCC bond renewal vital to area economy
Come November, Portland Community College needs your vote of support.
As we, the Portland Metro region, consider what we hope to be the future, it includes a vibrant economy with a highly skilled and educated work force. Community colleges play a vital role to ensure our region meets this goal. And PCC, Oregon's largest postsecondary institution serving more than 75,000 students, is a central part of this equation.
This November, PCC is putting bond Measure 26-196 on the ballot. This measure (www.pcc.edu/bond) seeks to improve work-force 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.
From the business impact standpoint, in 2015-16 PCC and its students added $1.9 billion in income to the regional economy, approximately equal to 1.8 percent of the region's total gross regional product. Added tax revenue, increased output of businesses, and benefits to taxpayers and the public sector show 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, 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 participation goal for MWESB (minority-owned, women-owned and emerging small businesses), 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 and our college more successful.
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 work force with up-to-date equipment and technology, helping students to land recession-resistant, family-wage jobs with career advancement potential.
With your help and support, PCC can rebuild Oregon's middle class through education, skills training and work-force development. We know that this will help our region to thrive.
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. Thank you for your support.
Kali Thorne Ladd, chair, and Denise Frisbee serve on PCC's board of directors. They can be reached at 971-722-4365.