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All In: Student Pathways Forward
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All In: Student Pathways Forward

Author: Marc Goldberg

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This podcast focuses on elevating community college student voices in Oregon to shape inclusive higher education/workforce development policies, programs and partnerships that create economic mobility.
8 Episodes
This episode features an interview with Rogue Community College (RCC) student Lynne Hamblin who returned to school to get her GED and enroll in the college’s award winning co-enrollment/integrated education and training program that offered simultaneous access to credit courses and additional wraparound supports.  Lynne was honored as the selected student speaker for the 2021 College Commencement ceremony last spring.RCC College President Dr. Cathy Kemper-Pelle talks about the importance of adult education programs and how the co-enrollment model directly supports the college mission, strategic plan priorities, and the college shifting to being student ready. She also discusses the recent passage of Oregon HB2835, the Benefits Navigator Bill, and other critical resources.  Dr. John E Roueche, Executive Director of the John E Roueche Center for Community College Leadership at Kansas State University, and nationally recognized higher education leader and scholar, shares insightful community college history and reflects on the importance of being open access institutions that are also equally focused on student success. Dr. Roueche emphasizes the importance of faculty and staff taking a human-centered and holistic approach to supporting students.
This episode features an interview with Central Oregon Community College (COCC) student Dray Aguirre, who offers great insights from his advocacy work at the local, state and national levels focused on student basic needs insecurity. Dray emphasizes the importance of students shaping policies and shares some of his own lived experience as a student facing basic needs insecurity. Dray was highlighted in a recent KLCC NPR story focused on food and housing insecurity among college students in Oregon.  COCC Instructional Dean, Jenni Newby, and Pathways College and Career Success Coach, Marcus LeGrand, talk about college-wide strategies to support students holistically through their Pathways to Opportunity work and how critical it is to listen to students like Dray to understand more clearly where COCC needs to prioritize their efforts.Bri Nguyen and Natasha Bennett from SJI (Seattle Jobs Initiative) share information on their Student-Centered Design initiative in collaboration with colleges in Oregon and across the country and describe a variety of ways they engage students in this work to improve access to benefits and resources.  
This episode features Lane Community College (LCC) student Maria Cristina Cruz, who is enrolled in an innovative Early Childhood Education program that integrates Career Technical Education coursework with foundational skills leading to a college credential. Cristina is a parenting student who has found employment in her field of study while still in school and has accessed different resources at LCC to make it all work. Lane Community College President Dr. Margaret Hamilton shares her enthusiasm and commitment to the statewide Pathways to Opportunity framework as a racial equity strategy and discusses the importance of the Navigator role to help students maximize benefits to complete college.Judy Mortrude, Senior Technical Advisor at National College Transitions Network/World Education, Inc, talks about the importance of adult integrated education and training career pathways programs, like the PASS Lane Early Childhood Education program at LCC, and how these efforts are part of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 and fit in with broad college-wide Guided Pathways initiatives.
This episode features a conversation with Mt. Hood Community College student Bakr Alkarawi, who shares how his own experience as a student facing housing insecurity has propelled him to take action and work with college leadership, policymakers and community partners towards a bill in the Oregon legislature that would fund services and support for students facing houselessness. Bakr offers helpful perspective on what resources and staffing support have assisted him while taking GED and college-level coursework at Mt. Hood including the STEP grant, MHCC Foundation scholarships, and guidance from key faculty and staff along the way. Mt. Hood Community College President, Dr. Lisa Skari, discusses different strategies the college has taken to address student basic needs insecurity integrating student voices in this work. Lastly, Katie Brown, Director of Government Relations, at the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), talks about the current federal policy landscape related to community colleges and addressing students’ unmet financial need. This community college priorities document from ACCT (and AACC) for the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan legislation is a helpful summary and guide from the conversation with Katie. 
In this episode, Treasure Valley Community College (TVCC) student, James Toms, talks about his experience as a returning student to college and how different programs and supports on campus have helped him pursue a Medical Assisting certificate at the college and a new career in healthcare. He shares great suggestions on how the college can continue to help students facing unmet financial need. Afterwards, the President of TVCC, Dr. Dana Young, discusses the importance of the statewide Pathways to Opportunity initiative which helps connect students with benefits and resources. She shares her own family journey through higher education and how much she can relate to students facing basic needs insecurity.Lastly, Chloe Eberhardt from Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, talks about how and why the organization’s advocacy efforts have centered on higher education students who have faced disproportionate food insecurity in Oregon. Chloe provides more information on a current bill in the 2021 Oregon legislative session, HB2835, which would provide a benefits navigator at each of the community colleges and public universities to assist students in maximizing benefits and resources available to them. 
Nellisha Moore, a student parent at Chemeketa Community College, shares her inspiring educational pathway at the college from the GED program to pursuing a career in healthcare. She details resources and programs that have made a difference to her as a single mom and how  faculty and staff have been most helpful. Nellisha offers great suggestions on how the college can continue to support adult students with inclusive policies that provide more access to education opportunities. Afterwards, Chemeketa Community College President Dr. Jessica Howard talks about her observations from the conversation with Nellisha and shares more about why college leaders need to focus efforts on student basic needs insecurity. Dr. Howard elaborates on the importance of higher education as a pathway out of poverty and creator of upward mobility.  She highlights various ways that Chemeketa Community College has integrated student voices into policy and planning work across the institution. 
In this Intro episode, I have the chance to speak with Melissa Johnson from the National Skills Coalition and Kate Kinder from Portland Community College to set the stage for this new podcast centered on elevating Oregon community college student voices to shape inclusive policies, programs and partnerships. The All In: Student Pathways Forward podcast is a part of Oregon's SkillSPAN advocacy work with National Skills Coalition and tied to the broad statewide Pathways to Opportunity coalition that is helping students maximize benefits and resources to complete college and gain economic mobility. Listen in to hear some really helpful context setting and overall insights from Melissa and Kate before I begin chatting with Oregon community college students in upcoming episodes.
Hope you'll listen in to this new podcast focused on Oregon community college students. Please subscribe now and stay tuned for future episodes.
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