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News Release
PCC-led coalition earns $18.2 million grant to enhance educational, economic mobility - 01/19/22

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is one of eight programs across the nation that have been awarded an $18.2 million Disability Innovation Fund Program. The statewide Pathways to Opportunity consortium led by Portland Community College is part of the project and will be partnering with VR to coordinate activities with Oregon’s 17 community colleges.

The funds will be used to develop and implement the Inclusive Career Advancement Program (ICAP) Project. ICAP will tap into Oregon’s current statewide network of career pathway services to advance educational and economic equity for people with disabilities, with intentional outreach and inclusion of marginalized communities. 

As part of the grant, ICAP will:

  • Serve 500 people with disabilities, with intentional outreach being made to marginalized communities.
  • Braid together career readiness and workforce development partners across the state and Oregon’s 17 community colleges.
  • Use student-centered and evidence-based strategies and practice in workforce development.

Last spring, in partnership with VR and Cornell University, Pathways to Opportunity jointly developed an application for this grant. Cornell will evaluate the project’s implementation and performance to determine efficacy of ICAP’s practices and strategies. These findings will be shared nationally to expand access and opportunities for people with disabilities to enter and be supported in their career goals.

ICAP will braid the support and services of VR, Self-Sufficiency Programs, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act workforce partners, Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB) with the three interrelated and foundational initiatives of Oregon’s community colleges — Career Pathways, SNAP Training and Employment Program, Pathways to Opportunities and Oregon Department of Human Services.

College credentials, the most proven pathway out of poverty, remain out of reach for too many students, due to the staggering unmet financial need and basic needs insecurity. Working together to address these issues is the Pathways to Opportunity coalition, which includes Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon, public colleges and universities, and the Oregon Department of Human Services, among other key partners. It aims to close opportunity gaps and increase economic mobility by expanding the federal, state, and local resources available to low-income students so more people can attend and complete college.


About Portland Community College: Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in Oregon and provides training, degree and certificate completion, and lifelong learning to more than 50,000 full- and part-time students in Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Columbia counties. PCC has four comprehensive campuses, eight education centers or areas served, and approximately 200 community locations in the Portland metropolitan area. The PCC district encompasses a 1,500-square-mile area in northwest Oregon and offers two-year degrees, one-year certificate programs, short-term training, alternative education, pre-college courses and life-long learning.


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