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PCC boosts jobs in AI training; Aurora's airport booms; Beaverton nets a new superintendent.

COURTESY PHOTO: PCC - Portland Community College received a windfall $800,000 to expand its artificial intelligence (AI) training programs. The college already offers courses in creative coding and immersive technologies for artists and designers.

Portland Community College gets $800,000 for career training in the artificial intelligence field

The grant money was part of a more than $10 million funding package secured by U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer and signed into law by President Joe Biden earlier this month.

PCC President Mark Mitsui said the goal is to help Portland students from marginalized communities get trained on modern and emerging technology to land good-paying jobs. And the curriculum will be grounded in principles related to ethics and methods of rooting out implicit bias and algorithmic inequities in artificial intelligence searches.

The grant will benefit PCC's Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center, in Scappoose, which combines university and college partnerships such as Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Portland State University with manufacturing companies to advance research and job training. — Courtney Vaughn, Columbia County Spotlight

Estacada community meets finalists for the city manager job

Community members logged into a virtual open house on Tuesday, March 15, to get to know the two remaining candidates for Estacada city manager. The finalists are Melanie Wagner, interim Estacada city manager, and Jennifer Gregerson, who formerly served as mayor of Mukilteo, Washington.

The candidates fielded questions and discussed their backgrounds and ideas about the job and the town. The Estacada City Council will deliberate on which candidate to choose and could make a decision as early as Friday, March 18. — Emily Lindstrand, Estacada News

PMG FILE PHOTO
 - Data collected for the Aurora Airport's ongoing master planning process indicates a significant increase in activity there since 2016.

Aurora Airport is booming

The Aurora Airport's traffic volumes and activity have increased at a rapid rate and may continue to ascend over the coming decades, according to data presented by the Oregon Department of Aviation.

A working paper designed to guide the airport's master plan showed about 51,000 flights at that little airport in 2016. That grew to 76,000 flights in 2021. And the airport activity is projected to grow to 119,000 flights by 2041. — Corey Buchanan, Wilsonville Spokesman

Gresham Police Department doubles size of mental health team

The Gresham City Council green-lit a plan to direct about $3 million from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to police and fire services. A portion of that money will be used to hire two more clinicians to be paired with police department's mental health crisis team.

The Gresham Service Coordination Team was formed in 2017 through a partnership between Gresham Police and Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare. It is a joint police and clinician response team that answers 911 calls related to mental health crises throughout the community. — Christopher Keizur, Gresham Outlook

Beaverton School District hires a new superintendent.

The school board on Wednesday, March 16, voted unanimously to hire Gustavo Balderas. He'll be the first person of color to serve as the super at Oregon's third-largest school district. BALDERAS

The search has been ongoing since last year. Current superintendent, Don Grotting, will leave the district this summer.

Balderas comes from the Edmonds School District in Washington, north of Seattle. Before that, he worked at school districts in California, then spent five years as Eugene's superintendent. — Sally Segar, Beaverton Valley Times


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