PGE programs power down

The Wilsonville campus of Clackamas Community College is o of Interstate 5 close to Fry’s Electronics.

By Merari Calderon Ruiz

Why have a class with no students in it? Why continue offering a program with no one enrolled?

The Clackamas Community College advisory committee made a decision to suspend certain programs at the Wilsonville campus. The suspended programs were: Energy and Resource Management of Science Degree Program, Energy and Resource Management Certificate of Completion, Utility Workforce Readiness Career Pathway Certificate, Occupational Health and Safety Career Pathway Certificate, Utility Field Technician Career Pathway Certificate and Utility Trade¬ Preparation: Line worker Career Pathway Certificate.

Shelly Tracy, the director of the Wilsonville campus’s apprenticeship, fire science and emergency management, was one of the people involved in the decision-making process.

“It wasn’t just a spur-of-the-moment decision, it was talked about for over a year,” said Tracy. “Then, talking with our advisory board and our partnership and continuing to see the numbers dwindle, it just became a decision that needed to be made and turn it back into an in-house program versus offering it to the public.”

According to Cynthia Risan, the dean of technology, applied science and public services, the programs were not active the last two years because there were no students enrolled in them.

The cause of this was that the industry requirement changed for students.

“PGE changed their method of hiring, of how they were bringing students in, so they were doing their own training program,” said Tracy. “Basically, the student had the option of either coming to us for training for a year, or getting hired by PGE immediately and being trained on the job.”

According to David Plotkin, the vice president of instruction and student services, the history of the Wilsonville campus began as a partnership between Clackamas Community College, Portland General Electric and PacifiCorp. Currently the partnership is only with PGE, and some PGE-taught classes are still offered.

The suspension of these programs will not have an effect on the Wilsonville campus because there were no students, and the instructors were all from PGE.

“All my instructors were all PGE journeymen that were teaching these students,” said Tracy. “So with our partnership, that was actually a relief on our funding when it came to buying equipment.”

The campus still offers other programs as well as general education courses and workshops. In fact, some apprenticeship programs that were cramped on the Oregon City campus were moved to the Wilsonville campus.

Tracy is currently in the process of drafting a plan to increase growth opportunities for the Wilsonville campus.