April is National Community College Awareness Month!
Each week this month, this e-newsletter will provide stories, information and videos that highlight Oregon's community colleges.
  Student Success  
  LBCC Culinary Arts students compete in hazelnut competition  
Winner Logan Peet

Three Linn-Benton Community College (LBCC) Culinary Arts students showed off their creativity as they competed in a hazelnut cooking competition sponsored by the Oregon Hazelnut Board and the Chambers family. In addition to bragging rights, the students also had the chance to win cash prizes from the Oregon Hazelnut Board, a Hazelnut Cookbook written by local Oregon author Jan Roberts-Dominguez, and fresh hazelnuts from the Chambers family. All of the competitors were second-year students in their final term of the LBCC culinary program. Student Logan Peet was named the competition's winner with his dish "Hazelnut Khang Phet Curry." Once Peet finishes his program at LBCC, he plans to head to Hawaii to further his education in nutrition. Click here to read more about the competition and the featured hazelnut dishes!

  PCC helps students climb out of poverty  
PCC's Dianne Jones

Dianne Jones with Portland Community College's (PCC) Steps to Success is assisting individuals who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) climb out of poverty. She does this by providing training and support that helps participants become self-sufficient. Jones also helps oversee Steps to Success' internship program that teaches skills, builds experience and allows participants to gain references for the future. Click here to learn more about the Steps to Success program.

  MHCC mental health program grads support students, communities through pandemic  
MHCC Mental Health Program Students

Isolation. Face coverings. Working from home. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in measures that are effective at slowing the spread of infection, but can be hard on our mental health. This "new reality" can make it difficult to think about the future, set goals or fathom taking classes online. A 2020 study found that between March and May over 60% of students surveyed nationwide reported that their mental health negatively impacted their academic performance. At Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC), 47% of students surveyed at that time said they could no longer concentrate on their education due to the pandemic.

MHCC's Mental Health, Social Services and Addiction Counseling program produces graduates who are helping students and our communities alike navigate the emotional toll that comes with living through traumatic times. Click here to learn more.

  Did You Know?  
  College boards show support of CC Month  

Local community college boards of education are showing their support of the work community colleges do by approving resolutions in recognition of Community College Month. Treasure Valley Community College's Board approved a resolution April 20, while Linn-Benton Community College's Board approved a similar resolution April 21. The Oregon Community College Association Executive Committee also approved a resolution in April. Community colleges are a uniquely American educational model that was designed to guarantee access to affordable, high-quality higher education for all people. This has become especially important following the impacts of COVID-19 on our local communities and economies. Community colleges have been able to support students by allocating COVID-19 relief resources from several federal stimulus packages, provide short-term educational opportunities to quickly get students back into the workforce, and access to programs for careers in our local communities.

  Community college instructors bring real world experience to students  
COCC's award-winning Christopher Thomas

Community college instructors are top-notch! Faculty members bring real world experience into their classrooms, making student experiences rich and relevant. A great example? Central Oregon Community College (COCC) music instructor Christopher Thomas, who recently won the Outstanding Score for a Short Film Live Action at the 2020 Hollywood Music in Media Awards. Read all about how Christopher brings his talent and passion into the classroom for an improved student experience.

  Support the Community College Support Fund!  
  Public testimony opportunities May 5 & 10  

The Joint Ways & Means Subcommittee on Education will hold public testimony days for higher education on May 5 and May 10 at 1 p.m. This is an opportunity for students, faculty/staff, board members, community members, business partners and other advocates to testify in support of $702 million for community colleges. You can register to testify on either day, and testimonies will be heard on a first-come, first-served basis, so register soon! Here are the links to register to testify:

If anyone is unable to testify on either of those days - or is not given the opportunity to do so due to limited time - OCCA also encourages submission of written testimony. You can submit written testimony via this link: https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Testimony/JWMED

Here are links to talking points: 

  Support $702 million for community colleges  

LEGISLATORS: Please support HB 5528 and HB 2907 to fully fund Oregon's 17 community colleges at $702 million for the 2021-23 biennium! Community colleges are the affordable option for access to higher education in Oregon, particularly after the pandemic caused financial hardship for many Oregonians. Every dollar cut from the Community College Support Fund must be made up by raising tuition or cutting programs and services, moving educational opportunities out of the reach of the Oregonians with the most need.

In addition, community college's are Oregon's economic recovery first responders. Community colleges are essential to responding to the recession brought on by COVID-19 and the wildfires of 2020, offering shorter-term programs directed at getting unemployed Oregonians retrained and back to work as quickly as possible.