COVID-19, commonly referred to as “the coronavirus” has decimated the world’s health and economy in a matter of months, putting more Americans out of work in three weeks than the great recession did in two years. Millions of people are left with an unfair financial disadvantage. Rent, food, tuition — all of these expenses are mostly unaffected by the pandemic and with the constant torrent of information it can be difficult to find help, though there is plenty of it to be found.
In response to the pandemic, the Clackamas Community College foundation set up a Relief Fund on March 27 for students and programs affected by the virus; this money will go towards ensuring students have tuition and fees covered, internet, as well as access to computers to work on and much more. The foundation aims to raise $200,000, and has already raised over $135,000. John Chang, Executive Director of the Foundation, states that students will be able to apply for these funds later in the term. “The Foundation will partner with Student Services who will manage the distribution of Foundation funds and other forms of financial assistance for CCC Students through an easy application process which will be made available on CCC’s website later this spring,” Chang said.
CCC is just one of several colleges scrambling to minimize and ease the disaster that the transition to online education has brought. All community colleges and public universities in Oregon are following the ruling of Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-17, which prohibits in-person instructional activity until June 13, 2020. Lori Hall, Public Information Officer, recognizes the critical need for communication and wants students to be prepared for the long-term implications. “There has never been a greater need for communication to students, staff, faculty and the community than now,” said Hall. “It is important that students are informed in a timely manner and understand how changes at the college and the state level may impact them and their education.”
Nearly all of the businesses hiring have seen a sharp increase in new hires and with only so many positions the pickings are getting slim. Amazon is one of the many businesses that has stepped up and offered temporary increased pay, which has led to a high influx of workers. Joey Miller is just one of the fulfillment center’s thousands of employees and — like many others — he is there due to the mass unemployment caused by COVID-19. “They offered flexible hours with voluntary overtime and my cousin told me the hiring process was quick which it was.” Said Miller. “I applied at a few warehouses and grocery stores but their hours and pay weren’t as good.”
Miller previously worked at a gym and never expected to lose his job; while the layoff is temporary, he isn’t sure he will return. “It came as a big shock to my brother and I, we had been working there for a year or so and it wasn’t bad,” said Miller. “They said they’d rehire us but I think I might apply elsewhere when things open up again whenever that’ll be.”
The Oregon Emergency Board has funneled $8.5 million into a rental assistance program for anyone unemployed due to COVID-19; PGE, Pacific Power and NW Natural are also putting a halt to shut-offs and late fees until further notice. There are several organizations available to assist those in need of food such as Family Meal, SNAP food assistance and The Botanist House. Below are several job opportunities with hyperlinks to their websites. Many of the most recent job postings are seasonal, though there are still dozens of full and part-time positions in the area. When leaving home to interview, make sure you bring proper PPE equipment such as gloves, a mask and hand sanitizer. All of this equipment will likely be required by your employer.
–Winco Foods / Hiring part-time clerks
–Albertsons / Hiring all positions
–Grocery Outlet / Hiring all positions
–Fred Meyers / Hiring all positions
–Safeway / Hiring all positions
–Amazon / Hiring seasonal in bulk
–UPS / Hiring full-time, part-time and seasonal