My View: I will work for PCC partnerships
My name is Tiffani Penson, and I am running for the Portland Community College Board in Zone 2. The board is responsible for setting the budget, providing policy guidance, and hiring and managing the president.
PCC enrolls 71,000 students in five counties with an annual budget of almost $600 million and growing. It is a critical path to success for many in our community with around 35% of the students being people of color.
Our hope of getting everyone the education they need to be successful in life is challenged by lack of resources. Every two years, the Oregon Legislature sets the budget for Portland Community College, and this year, like most others, PCC faces declining state support despite increasing enrollment. The governor's proposed budget for Portland Community College meets only about 70% of what is needed to provide the level of services our communities need.
Often the first to be cut are the programs that matter most to those who need what PCC offers the most.
To meet this challenge, I will bring my years of experience forging private-public partnerships to connect students with careers and to supplement what PCC can provide. I believe there is a strong need to increase corporate investment in our community and, by investing in students through apprenticeship and internship programs, companies can "pay it forward" as well as benefit from a highly trained and loyal workforce. In addition, PCC can support local business through its contracting and construction practices.
This is a skill the board needs and a skill I bring to the table. I'm running because:
• I want to ensure that PCC continues to provide high quality education and training for our community;
• To ensure students facing barriers of income, transportation, culture or learning challenges have the support they need to be successful;
• To help PCC continue to grow its partnerships with small businesses.
I bring years of experience working on education issues in the community:
• Working on the Mayor's Education Team;
• Volunteering on the Lincoln High School Site Council Design Advisory Group; and
• Serving on the board of Kairos PDX.
My work also includes bringing together business and government to provide work opportunities for youths through programs such as SummerWorks and the FutureConnect program at PCC.
I am proud to be endorsed by many community leaders including: Amanda Fritz, Portland city commissioner; Dan Saltzman, former city commissioner; Margaret Carter, retired state senator; Lew Frederick, Oregon state senator; Avel Gordly, retired state senator; Kali Thorne Ladd, PCC board chair; Tom Potter, former Portland mayor; Sam Adams, former Portland mayor; Chris Guinn, Dwell Realty; Serena Stoudamire Wesley; Rukaiyah Adams; and Rex Burkholder, former Metro councilor.
Thank you for reading my story. I would appreciate your vote on May 21.
You can contact Tiffani Penson at www.tiffanipensonforpcc.com.