TBCC Connections: Bridging Gaps through Student Support

By Rhoda Hanson, Director of Student Services
January 4, 2019
Rhoda Hanson Board

Our mission statement at Tillamook Bay Community College is to “…create bridges of opportunity by providing quality education that serves the diverse needs of our community.” We seek out ways in which we can support our students, and bridge any gaps they may encounter as they pursue their educational dreams. This year, we added three new student support services to ensure all students can be successful at TBCC: STEP, The Olive Bridge Emergency Fund, and an additional career academic advisor was hired in Student Services with the help of a grant from the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC). Though only implemented for a short time, we have already see the positive impact these additional services are having.

October marked the launch of STEP (SNAP Training and Employment Program) at TBCC. This program is a partnership with the Oregon Community College Consortia and Oregon Department of Human Services. The goal of STEP is to provide assistance for students that are SNAP recipients, allowing them to gain the skills and experience needed to succeed in a fulfilling, sustainable career. Benefits for participating students may include: assistance with tuition and fees, book expenses, transportation costs, supplies, career exploration, job skills training, and more. The STEP program is also a qualifying service for ABAWDs (Able-bodied Adults Without Dependents) and allows students to maintain their access to SNAP benefits while enrolled at TBCC. Since October the STEP coordinator, Jenny Case, has met with several students, and is confident the program will be a benefit to many.

We are always impressed by the ways in which community members come forward to support our students, and a recent example of this is the Olive Bridge Emergency Fund. This program is a partnership with a private family foundation, and assists students that have been derailed by a temporary financial emergency to continue their pursuit of a college degree or certificate uninterrupted. For students who have few resources to fall back on, not having money to pay the electric bill, fill up the gas tank, or cover the rent can mean the difference between getting to class and dropping out. Since its implementation, eight students facing a financial shortfall have received assistance with transportation, utility payments, and short term housing. All eight recipients were able to successfully complete the term and continue pursuing their academic goals.

One of the ways we create “bridges of opportunity” here at TBCC is through academic advising. Advisors work with students throughout their time at TBCC, and play an integral role in student success. Having an additional advisor means better access to free tutoring, career counseling, and assistance for new students as they navigate college for the first time. It also means increased support as students prepare to transfer from TBCC to a university, or begin their new career.

If you are considering going back to school, give us a call to talk about how to get started.  Our academic advisors can help you navigate the way. Winter term classes begin January 7 and registration is open now. We are grateful to have good partnerships that allow us to increase our resources for students, and fulfill our mission to provide quality education to the community we are so fortunate to serve.