The director of Portland Community College's OMIC Training Center in Scappoose is leaving his role later this month.
Andrew Lattanner has been director of PCC's contribution to the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center initiative since July 2019.
At that time, PCC had plans for Scappoose but hadn't yet purchased property or started construction.
"When I started, OMIC was a well-developed idea, but we didn't have a physical presence," Lattanner said. "Over the last almost three years, we've built a building and started to serve students, and really started to move forward. So that has been really, really rewarding and exciting."
The training center opened for classes in fall 2021. Through the current spring term, just under 120 students took classes at the training center, according to PCC. Some students took single classes, but others enrolled in multiple courses, totalling 261 in-person course enrollments.
"We anticipate these numbers growing as we roll out additional recruitment efforts targeted for returning and new programming in the fall," PCC spokesperson James Hill said.
The search for Lattanner's successor will start in early May.
After Lattanner leaves, PCC's dean and associate dean of Advanced & Applied Technologies, Karen Sanders and Josh Coleman, will oversee the training center until a new director starts.
Lattanner, who moved to Oregon from Washington, D.C., to take the position as director, is moving to Denver for a new professional opportunity for his wife and to be closer to family.
"We've been really focused on responding to the needs of industry, and so (areas) that we have really leaned into are short term certificates and providing wraparound support for students," Lattanner said.
PCC's Career Pathways initiative offers short-term, stackable certificate programs.
The training center has developed a Pre-Trades for Advanced Manufacturing program. Hill said launching that program was one of the goals for PCC OMIC in the near future.
The apprenticeship programs that the training center was intended to offer haven't seen significant growth, but the first apprentice completed the program in the winter term. Lattanner said the apprentice started his apprenticeship at Scappoose High School in 2019 and works at Rightline Equipment in Rainier.
Hill didn't reference apprenticeship programs in a list of goals for the training center over the next year or two.
"We're growing. We opened up still in a bit of a COVID environment … so we're working to get the word out that we're open for in-person," Lattanner said.
He added, "Some of our programs have been really thriving." He named welding and computer-assisted design programs as two that have seen strong engagement and are continuing to grow.
The center has also built out non-credit "mechatronics" programs geared toward people already working in manufacturing. The mechatronics programs have been developed to address a need to train for automation and "provide incumbent workers with the skills they need to be effective in their job or (to) advance in their careers," Lattanner said.
"Apprenticeship is a model that we continue to work towards. We have an apprenticeship committee … and we're working to expand those options here in Columbia County," Lattanner said.
In his final month, Lattanner said he'll be focused on "making sure that we keep the momentum going."
"I think the connections that we're making in the community are really starting to align our systems," Lattanner said, referencing connections with local economic development teams, high schools and industry partners.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh toured the training center last month with Rep. Suzanne Bonamici.
Lattanner considers Walsh's visit to OMIC to be a "great sign" for the facility, he said.
"People are taking notice," Lattanner added.
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