By Dr. Ross Tomlin
As we move past our June graduation ceremony at TBCC and into our short summer, we are initiating two big construction projects that will transform the college. One is our new Healthcare Education Building that the voters of Tillamook County approved in May, which will focus on housing our new nursing program that is currently being developed and all our other growing number of healthcare programs. The other construction project is the renovation of our new Center for Industrial Technology (CIT) building across the street from the main campus.
Both of these projects highlight the emphasis we are placing on Career-Technical Education (CTE) programs at TBCC. These programs prepare graduates of a CTE degree or certificate program with the skills needed to obtain a good paying job in a career with excellent opportunities. The College has expanded the number of CTE programs over the past five years in different fields for those people that want to stay locally and find a higher paying, rewarding career.
The CIT building was purchased by TBCC in November 2020 and was previously the Mechtronics auto repair business on Third Street. The building needs to be renovated to be used by our Manufacturing and Welding Technology programs. The College submitted a $1.1M grant application to the US Economic Development Administration last year to help pay for the renovations to the CIT building. We finally received word last month that TBCC was awarded the grant! As Governor Brown responded upon learning we received the grant, “It will expand hands-on training programs at TBCC’s Center for Industrial Technology, equipping students with the skills they need to access high-demand, good-paying career opportunities in the manufacturing and industrial technology sectors. With this investment, TBCC will continue stepping up to meet the needs of Tillamook County employers today and into the future.” Now we can begin the process to hire a project manager and architecture firm to help us design the renovation work that will include classroom and lab space for both programs.
These programs are currently located in the CTE Building at Tillamook High School where we share space with the high school Agriculture-focused programs. We have been using space there for the past 12 years since the last bond measure was passed that funded the construction of the current main campus building and renovated the CTE space at the high school. Both the college and high school programs have been growing, with the TBCC Welding Technology program being added three years ago, so space at the high school is getting tight. Moving most of the Manufacturing and Welding Technology programs into the new CIT space will allow these programs to expand to meet increased demand.
TBCC will have a new CTE Dean starting soon who will oversee all of the CTE programs at the college, including the development of our new nursing program. The Dean will also work with our new Vice President of Instruction and Student Services, Dr. Paul Jarrell, who comes to us from Lane Community College, to explore and add additional CTE programs at the college over the coming few years. It is important for us to continue serving Tillamook County residents with expanded options of training for good paying, local jobs.