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OCCC Considers Trades Education Center Bond

On Feb. 15, the Oregon Coast Community College Board of Education will determine whether the College will place a ballot initiative in the May 2023 election to ask voters to renew the existing bond to support career and technical education opportunities in Lincoln County.

Dr. Birgitte Ryslinge, currently serving in her ninth year as OCCC (Oregon Coast Community College) president, said expanding the College’s ability to offer cutting-edge workforce training in a variety of trades has long been a goal of OCCC leadership.

“Since joining OCCC in 2014, I have often been asked ‘when will the College offer more training opportunities for students looking to work in the trades?’ After careful examination of employer and student demand, we concluded this was absolutely an area where we needed to grow. And we do not have the specialized facilities needed to house complete trades programs,” she said.

Ryslinge noted OCCC successfully secured an $8 million challenge grant commitment from the state to help fund such facilities. However, the college won’t receive the state support if it does not receive significant local funding for the project. “We partnered with Lincoln County School District and the Port of Toledo to start a welding program in 2020. In the intervening years, we have been busy – earning independent accreditation, responding to the pandemic, and adding and expanding other programs (Teaching, Early Childhood, expanding health programs, and more).

It is time now to move forward with a bond to secure the matching funds from the state, build the new trades facility, and ensure the rest of our spaces will evolve to meet the future.”

“An expanded welding program is just one of many programs we anticipate delivering over the long life of this new building,” explained Dan Lara, OCCC’s Vice President for Academic Affairs. “This facility will be designed from the ground up as a cutting-edge, flexible, industrial space. Virtually all the fixtures in this facility will be on wheels so that classrooms, workshops, and other learning spaces can flex and adapt over time to meet changing needs – the needs of our students and our county’s employers.”

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