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Chemeketa to test providing Pell grants for correctional education

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

The U.S. Department of Education has selected Chemeketa to be one of just 67 colleges and universities across the country to test whether expanding incarcerated individuals’ access to financial aid will increase their participation in education programs. The experiment is called the Second Chance Pell grant program.

“We were selected because Chemeketa has a long and successful history of providing educational programs in Oregon’s correctional institutions,” said Jonathan Tucker, executive director of corrections education at the college.

Chemeketa offers the only complete college degree program for incarcerated individuals in Oregon. Currently over 175 students at two prisons are involved. The college estimates the recidivism rate among its graduates to be 6%. Oregon’s Criminal Justice Commission reports that of felons released from prison in 2012, 40% were convicted of a new crime within three years.

“Access to Pell grants will help reduce the financial barriers that prevent our population from educational opportunities to build their confidence, learn skills or a trade and be better equipped to succeed outside,” said Tucker.

2013 study from the RAND Corporation, funded by the Department of Justice, found that incarcerated individuals who participated in correctional education were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years than prisoners who did not participate in any correctional education programs. RAND also estimated that for every dollar invested in correctional education programs, four to five dollars are saved on three-year re-incarceration costs.

A 1994 Congressional change to the Higher Education Act eliminated Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated individuals in federal and state penal institutions. Under the Second Chance Pell grant program, the Secretary of Education will waive existing financial aid rules that prohibit otherwise eligible students who are incarcerated from accessing Pell grants.


Chemeketa Dallas renamed Chemeketa Polk

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Chemeketa Polk CenterThe Chemeketa Board of Education voted June 22 to change the name of its center in Dallas to Chemeketa Polk.

Board chair Betsy Earls, who represents the Polk County portion of the community college district, said the new name more accurately represents Chemeketa’s local sphere of influence.

“We offer classes in Independence as well as Dallas, and we want all the residents of Polk County to think of Chemeketa as their college,” Earls said.

Chemeketa offers a range of college classes at its locations in Dallas and Central High School. This year a Building Inspection degree program has been added to the college curriculum at the Polk Center

There are no plans to move operations and classes from Chemeketa’s Dallas location added Glen Miller, director in charge of the location.

“We’re changing signs and such but we have no plans to leave our home at 1340 SE Holman Avenue,” Miller said.


Fulfilling the Oregon Promise events this June

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Oregon Promise recipients can learn more about attending Chemeketa at a June Fulfilling the Oregon Promise event.

Learn more about events dates and locations here


Student earns internship at OSU’s Open Source Lab

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

While some students will use the summer as a time to relax and recoup, student Hannah Solorzano will be helping make the world a more secure place.

Hannah, a second year Computer Science student from Dayton, is one of three students selected for a summer internship with Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab, an organization working to advance software programs that are available for anyone to use freely.

She’ll work side by side with some of OSU’s engineers developing open source software and learning about Developmental Operations (DevOp) system hosting, or how software developers and those who manage its operations collaborate for success.

In essence, she’ll help maintain and support the free software that is used to power and secure much of the world wide web.

From her internship, Hannah hopes to learn more about the process of developing software and other applications as well as how to increase the overall security of the final products. “I look forward to collaborating with other coders to create DevOp software along with learning new programming languages and expanding my abilities in the languages I already know,” she says.

Hannah plans to transfer to OSU to earn a Computer Science degree with a concentration in Cyber Security. From there she’ll pursue her Certified Information Security Systems (CISSP) credentials and enter a career as a Security Systems Engineer.

“Hannah has been interested in cyber-security since her first days in the CS program,” says Computer Science instructor Andrew Scholer. “It is a field that requires depth of knowledge in multiple areas and real world experience working with software systems. I think this internship will be a great opportunity to pick up some real world exposure to compliment the strong work she is doing in the classroom to master the skills she will need in this field.”

 


Students succeed against the odds

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Always keep moving forward. Embrace the road that chooses you. This journey is lifelong.

These are some of the encouraging sentiments made while Chemeketa’s TRiO and College Completion Program (CCP) recognized more than 50 students at the End of Year Banquet June 2.

Guests celebrated the accomplishments of these students, ranging from outstanding GPAs (3.5 or higher), degree completion and attainment of the prestigious Ford Family Scholarship.

And all against incredible odds.

Like Vanessa Galdero, recipient of CCP’s Persistence Award, who started as an insecure ESOL student determined to successfully balance college and family. When she was diagnosed with cancer winter term, she didn’t let her prognosis slow her down. College resources like CCP and the Writing and Tutoring centers gave her the support she needed to focus on school while receiving chemotherapy treatments. She plans to transfer to Western Oregon University in the fall of 2017 to become a Spanish instructor.

And Joey Fugate Jr., recipient of TRiO’s Persistence Award, who overcame hardships throughout his life and credits Chemeketa for helping him achieve a dream he once considered impossible. From placement in special education courses as a child, to coming back to school as an adult with a family, Joey had to overcome learning and personal obstacles and reframe his belief he wasn’t good enough for college. He’ll graduate June 14 having completed Chemeketa’s highest level of math and acing calculus. Joey transfers to Oregon State’s Engineering Program this fall.

“Despite all the people who told me I was too dumb to make it, the biggest challenge I had to overcome was the doubt I placed on myself,” he said.

Guest speakers included former Chemeketa employee Mark Duyck and two TRiO alumni who received recognition for their contributions to their communities.

Joel Gisbert, who was in a gang and living with drug dealers before coming to Chemeketa, completed his Master’s in Social Work at Portland State University and now works with at-risk youth facing challenges similar to his own.

And community organizer Scott Salazar who completed his Master’s in International Business at Dutch University in the Netherlands and has returned to Salem to start his own company and give back to his hometown.

“People like us to do make it,” Joel told the audience. “And we’ve got a story to tell.”

 


Chemeketa celebrates business success stories

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Chemeketa small business success 2016Chemeketa’s Small Business Management program celebrated this year’s graduates during a ceremony Thursday, June 2 at the Chemeketa Center for Business & Industry.

Marcia Bagnall summarized their accomplishments. Participating businesses –

  1. Increased sales 18% this year over last
  2. Employed 76 more workers

Bagnall noted that the 153 businesses who have participated in the program have extraordinary longevity. They have been in business, on average, 14 years. Nationally, only about one quarter of business start-ups last 14 years while 84% of the Small Business Management program alumni are still operating.


Chemeketa to offer building inspection degree

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Chemeketa to offer building inspection programStudents may begin earning a building inspection technology associates degree at Chemeketa this fall. The curriculum covers classes on building codes, plan review, inspection techniques, and construction materials as well as courses in mathematics, communication skills, and public relations.

“The earning potential is quite strong,” said Glen Miller, the director in charge of the program. The State of Oregon estimates the average annual salary for this field to be over $60,000 with numerous job openings a year statewide.

Miller recommends that program applicants have experience in the construction industry. They must have at least a high school diploma or GED. After enrolling in Chemeketa, applicants may apply for the Building Inspection Technology program. See the steps to enroll in the program on the college website. Enrollment is limited and priority given to those who meet the application.

Applicants must also attend a mandatory orientation and registration session Tuesday, August 9, 6 pm to 8 pm at the Chemeketa Dallas Center.

Download the application here, pick one up at the Chemeketa Dallas Center located at 1340 SE Holman Ave., Dallas OR, 97338 or call 503.623.5567 for more information.


Cheers to the wine industry at barrel tasting

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

2016 barrel tastingChemeketa’s Northwest Wine Studies Center barrel tasting drew a crowd of nearly 300 industry leaders, students and friends to Chemeketa Eola the evening of May 19. Student wine was featured as well as industry exhibits.

The Chemeketa Wine Studies program also unveiled a new winery name: Chemeketa Cellars. To commemorate the event the program commissioned a new series of wine labels for their student wine.

The Chemeketa Wine Studies program distributed three awards –

Betty O’Brien, Legacy Builder – In 1983 O’Brien and her husband Dick established Elton Vineyards.

Since 1991 she has served on the Board of Directors for Willamette Valley Vineyards and soon she will open the newly constructed Elton Winery in the Eola Hills on the farm where she grew up. In 2001 she was chosen to serve as the Executive Director of the Oregon Winegrowers Association and Wine Board. The entire industry benefited from her leadership so that it is now a major player in Oregon’s economy.

O’Brien recognized the need for a trained wine industry workforce early on. She has been a long-serving member of Chemeketa’s Wine Studies program advisory board as well as a member of the Chemeketa Foundation board.

Anne Ebenretier Hubatch, Emerging Leader – Hubatch stands out as an emerging leader because she already has two labels of her own: Helioterra and Whoa Nelly. She also is a partner in Guild Wimemakers and Alter Ego Cider.

Anne also serves on the board of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association and is past secretary of the Portland Urban Wine Association.

Gerry Rasch, Student of the Year – Faculty and staff recognized Rasch for his mentoring role with younger students. He is currently working on an Independent Study project to meet with wineries in the region to assess their internship and training needs.

Gerry has worked at two local wineries during his time at Chemeketa. His employers have nicknamed him “Superman” based on his ability to grow sales and wine club memberships.


Chemeketa awarded state STEM grant

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Chemeketa receives STEM grantChemeketa Community College has been awarded a $152,236 grant from the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Council (HECC) to increase the number of women and under-represented students of color earning a degree or certificate in a STEM field. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Increasing the quantity and quality of professionals in STEM fields is an important national and regional priority.

The target audience for the grant activity will be new or admitted students who are female or students of color intending to enroll in a computer science, engineering or high-tech manufacturing program at Chemeketa. Enrollment in those programs does not reflect the college as a whole. Only 9% of Chemeketa students in those fields are women and 22% are minorities. Total full-time enrollment at Chemeketa in fall of 2015 was 53.8% female and 34.6% ethnic or racial minorities.

Grant funded activities are expected to include –

  1. One-on-one advising and mentoring
  2. Strategic tutoring
  3. Opportunities for presentations and recognition
  4. Career planning
  5. Consistent tracking of student progress to allow for early intervention

The grant will also fund a two-day STEM event to recruit new students. The event will provide a platform for current students to partner with faculty in presentations and workshops for potential students. Participants will work in a robotics lab where they will build a functioning robot, create a 3-D print and explore how to develop their own smartphone application. The date of the event has not yet been determined.

 


Winema launches robotics program

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

Early last September, Joe Shepard sat parked in his car outside Chemeketa Winema watching as backhoes hauled furniture and debris from the abyss.

He was interviewing to be the instructor for Winema’s newly minted Robotics program all while witnessing the transformation of Building 51 – dubbed ‘the abyss’ by staff – from a dingy surplus storage area to a hands-on learning environment for high school students.

Vision, advocates and months of hard work from facilities turned the pipe dream into a possibility and Chemeketa Winema is now well on its way to supporting students interested in engineering, manufacturing, prototyping and product development and design.

“There is now a pathway for Winema students to enter career tech programs at Chemeketa,” says Susan Murray, Executive Dean of Academic Progress and Regional Education Services. “We are so appreciative and have so many people to thank.”

Joe praises the Robotics program for helping students not only learn problem solving, teamwork and creativity, but for igniting a passion for learning. “These students say ‘I’m here to get this done’.”

“There are many plusses to this program,” mirrors Abby Hoffar, Dean of High School Partnerships. “Students have to work on design and assembly as a team. There’s brainstorming and dissonance, and they have to work it out together so the program is teaching soft skills too.”

“And they are really proud of their accomplishments,” she says.

Four students who’ve risen to the role of team leaders for Winema’s robotics team, the Winema Wattmasters, demonstrated their VEX creations for Chemeketa’s Board of Education, staff and program supporters at the Robotics Open House on May 18.

VEX is a highly regarded international STEM activity for middle and high school students that releases a new parts kit and engineering challenge game each year.

The Wattmasters, along with teams from Dallas, West, South and North Salem highs and the Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School, will start developing robots based on the 16-17 VEX kit and challenge game starting in September and take to the road for weekend tournaments mid-November.

To level the playing field, Winema plans to host 2-3 teams on weekdays for area students who can’t travel out of town on weekends.

Winema Robotics has many additional goals for the future, including

  • Organize the College’s robotic teams
  • Develop a maker lab that includes 3D printing, laser cutter and machinery to work with iron, aluminum, vinyl and wood
  • Develop a CADD lab
  • Use robotics to experiment with innovative horticulture and agriculture techniques
  • Host a VEX Robotics State Championship

For now, students will enjoy a wide variety of experiential opportunities to foster and support their imagination, innovation and ability to collaborate. Abby adds, “What could be better for their education, workforce or life?”

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