Main mall at MHCC Gresham Campus

Higher Education Coordination Commission Awards $1 Million Innovation Grant to Mt. Hood Community College

October 18, 2023

GRESHAM, Ore. – The Higher Education Coordination Commission (HECC) has announced the award of a prestigious Workforce Ready Innovation in Workforce Programs Grant in the amount of $1 million to Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC). MHCC's application stood out as one of the highest-scoring proposals, emphasizing equity, innovation, and partnerships.

MHCC will use the funds to create a system to bring specialized training to employers in the advanced manufacturing industry with an emphasis on semiconductors. This system will have four core components: a mobile lab that can be used on site at manufacturing companies, collaboration between faculty and industry experts to provide the training, wraparound support for participants through student resources, and bootcamp trainings in partnership with semiconductor employers.

The grant awarded to MHCC is part of the Future Ready Oregon initiative, which was established through Senate Bill 1545 in 2022. This groundbreaking $200 million investment package is designed to enhance Oregon's workforce system through grant-funded programs and strategic policies that foster innovative collaborations between employers, educational institutions, and community-based organizations. The primary focus is on creating opportunities for historically underserved and underrepresented communities, including adult learners, dislocated workers, and disconnected youth. Future Ready Oregon seeks to bolster the state's economic competitiveness by eliminating barriers to education and employment, cultivating a diverse workforce, and addressing the current and future workforce needs of businesses.

Workforce Ready Grants represent a vital component of the broader Future Ready Oregon initiative, with a total investment of $95 million, making it the largest segment of the investment package. HECC administers the majority of Future Ready Oregon investments, including Workforce Ready Grants. These grants are pivotal in supporting the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce in key sectors of Oregon's economy, namely healthcare, manufacturing, and technology.

"This $1 million investment will enable us to create a transformative system that brings advanced manufacturing training, with a focus on semiconductors, to our community. This initiative aligns perfectly with our commitment to equity, innovation, and partnerships. Together, we will strengthen Oregon's workforce, eliminate barriers, and build a more competitive and inclusive future for our state,” Mt. Hood Community College President Dr. Lisa Skari said.

These grants prioritize new and innovative education and training programs that center on partnerships and collaboration. Such programs are designed to rethink workforce education and training by identifying and addressing barriers to participation, program completion, and career advancement. This approach includes providing participants with the necessary support and wraparound services to ensure their success.

MHCC remains dedicated to advancing equitable workforce development, fostering innovation, and nurturing strategic partnerships that will drive Oregon's economic competitiveness into the future.