• Contact Us
  • About GPI
« Back to News + Events
GPI in the Press

PCC, partners announce ambitious research center plans for Columbia County

March 04,2016 | By South County Spotlight
Portland Community College on Thursday afternoon announced the Legislature had appropriated $7.5 million toward the creation of an Advanced Manufacturing Research Center to be constructed in Columbia County.

The project bundles regional industry, academia and government stakeholders, and is based in part on an AMRC apprenticeship model developed by Boeing and the University of Sheffield in England, according to a PCC press release. That model was created to address critical manufacturing challenges through applied research and advanced technical training, the release states.

The state’s investment will be added to $9.4 million in bonding authority from PCC to support educational opportunities in Columbia County, making for a total investment of $17 million. Additional sources of financial support could include private and public investment, as well as federal grants, according to the release.

“This is an investment not just in high tech manufacturing, but in our workforce, in regional job grown, and our state’s economic future,” said Gov. Kate Brown in a prepared statement. “Today we are taking an important step forward, developing a world-class community where instruction, research, design and manufacturing intersect for the benefit of all.”

Initial efforts will focus on training for students through industry-sponsored skilled apprenticeships that lead to postsecondary credentials and family-wage jobs, the release states. This effort will be led by PCC as the educational accrediting partner. Advanced manufacturing research activities will be led by local university and research partners, such as Oregon State University, Portland State University, and the Oregon Institute of Technology.

Additional stakeholders include Boeing, regional metals manufacturers, the Oregon Employment Department, the Bureau of Labor and Industries, the AFL-CIO, Greater Portland Inc., the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 48.

“As the state’s largest higher education and workforce training institution serving a five-county region, Portland Community College is thrilled to collaborate with a consortium of local partners to support this transformational opportunity,” Sylvia Kelley, interim president of PCC, is quoted in the press release as saying.

State Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, said the center will serve as a significant benefit to manufacturers throughout the region.

“Launching a successful AMRC in Columbia County will be the catalyst for advances in manufacturing technology that will significantly benefit manufacturers throughout our region,” Johnson stated in the press release. “It also becomes a magnet to attract other manufacturing entities to our state. That’s an incredible value proposition.”

Efforts to create a local AMRC will facilitate the long-term goal of developing an "Oregon Manufacturing Innovation District" in which stakeholders share costs and pool resources and attract potential new partners, according to the release. In the long-term, project partners anticipate the center will lead to high-value manufacturing companies and their supply chains co-locating, resulting in significant impact to and vitality for Oregon's economy.

Want to get in touch?