Inspiration & Perspiration: The 3rd Annual CCC Employee Commencement

Jul 05, 2016

Working is fulfilling and necessary, but it can also be exhausting. Yet some people are so determined to further their education, they spend their precious free time studying, writing papers and attending classes. On June 30, Central City Concern honored 39 employees who had either earned a scholarship to further their education, or graduated with a degree or certificate this year. The festive event was held in the Old Town Recovery Center’s third floor classroom that staff had decorated with streamers and flowers.

CCC Executive Director Ed Blackburn congratulated the group. “It’s inspiring that those of you who give so much to us don’t forget to lift yourselves up too,” he said. “Reaching your highest potential is a gift to all of us.”

The keynote speaker was Joe McFerrin II, president and CEO of Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, an organization that provides education and work training services to youth facing the effects of family instability and homelessness.

“Forgive me for getting a little emotional about success,” he said, “but it’s what I live for.” McFerrin shared ideas for continuous growth, including questioning and pushing yourself throughout your lifetime. “You are all leaders,” he said.

Felecia Padgett, CCC’s Employment Access Center on-call supervisor and recipient of a 2015-16 and 2016-17 CCC Education Assistance program scholarship spoke about her experience. “My fear overpowered everything,” she said. “I didn’t think I could do anything.” But a scholarship helped her gain the confidence she needed to return to college and work toward her Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree. “I learned through CCC that I love to teach,” she says. “I want to get a degree in education.”

Fifteen CCC employees received CCC Education Assistance program scholarships to further their education, and 24 CCC employees were acknowledged for graduating and earning professional certificates or degrees, reaching all the way up to a Doctorate in Nursing Practice for Lydia Bartholow at the Old Town Clinic.

The celebration ended with refreshments, a group photo and hugs all around. As Blackburn told the beaming crowd: “Never stop learning. It keeps you young.”

Celebrating our Employee Graduates

Mar 18, 2015

“In a lot of work that we do as learners, we grow in helping others learn. That means you’re often maybe a teacher and a mentor and a leader to other people. And that knowledge that you have is a great asset to you.”

With those words, keynote speaker Dr. Stephen Percy, Dean of Portland State University’s College of Urban and Public Affairs, simultaneously commended the Central City Concern employee graduates for their extraordinary efforts and tapped them with further responsibility to raise up people around them.

In all, twenty-three CCC staff members were honored on Friday, March 13, at Central City Concern’s second annual Education Community Graduation Ceremony. Each person honored had completed an education or training program on top of their busy work schedule within the past year.

The 23 graduates represented more than 15 distinct areas of study and training programs, ranging from Bachelors and Masters degrees to computer training courses, certifications and licenses to leadership programs.

Ed Blackburn, CCC Executive Director, addressed the honorees, saying that reading each of the names on the certificates he signed was a moving exercise.

“You’re an inspiration to me. Your efforts are an inspiration for others,” Ed said. “I’m so pleased that the organization has people like you who want to continue advancing their education and learning.”

During the keynote address, Dr. Percy encouraged honorees to use their newly acquired knowledge as a bridge to better serving others.

“I imagine that many of you got more education so you can continue to do even more to help other people as well as advancing your own lives,” said Dr. Percy. “If you can give a little help, a little assistance, some encouragement, we can change things and make things better. There’s a beauty from working with other people.”

Each graduate was called up by name and was given a certificate of accomplishment and ceremonial cord.

We know that encouraging and investing in our employees – whether through direct financial assistance, support from peers, or making resources more accessible – will allow our staff members to realize their full potential as exceptional colleagues and professionals. As Ed said during the ceremony, Central City Concern is proud to be “an organization that supports those who are trying to advance their knowledge and their education.”

Supporting Employees' Pathways to Educational Advancement

Feb 09, 2015

Previously, we highlighted Central City Concern’s 2nd Annual Education Fair, which gathered representatives from more than a dozen colleges and universities to provide our employees with information about their programs of study, financial aid opportunities, and more. But, CCC’s commitment to supporting employees didn’t stop there.

On January 15th, we announced the launch of Central City Concern Education Assistance. CCC is proud to have a diverse workforce that has an equally varied range of educational interests and pursuits. In recognition, CCC has dedicated substantial funding to offer supportive pathways toward educational advancement.

Central City Concern has set up nine scholarship awards, set to be awarded to CCC employees for the 2015-2016 academic year:

An additional scholarship will be awarded by the State of Oregon’s Office of Student Access and Completion for use at any accredited institution ahead of the 2016-2017 academic year.

All staff members who are employed at least half time and have two years of continuous service at the time of application are eligible to apply.

The selection processes for each award will be entirely administered by the awarding foundation. CCC has also discussed with the awarding foundations the need for the Education Assistance scholarships to be accessible to a diverse staff population. We are thankful to have gained their commitment to an equitable review process.

CCC's 2nd Annual Education Fair

Jan 29, 2015

On Tuesday, January 27, Central City Concern held its 2nd Annual Education Fair to bring resources and information about educational opportunities to our employees.

At Central City Concern, we strive to see our clients, patients, and residents believe in and reach their higher potential. As Ed Blackburn, CCC’s Executive Director, has been known to say, everyone is capable of reaching a higher potential with the right support. For those we serve, that support begins in the form of CCC’s housing and healthcare. For those who are able, volunteerism and employment follow. In addition, CCC brings dignity do disabled individuals by helping them attain benefits, enabling them to fully participate in the community.

Our belief in the higher potential of individuals also extends to the amazing people who work at Central City Concern. For many employees, furthering their education is a prominent part of their journey toward reaching a higher potential. 

Representatives from more than a dozen colleges and universities flocked to the Old Town Recovery Center (OTRC) and set up booths to provide information and answer questions about available fields of study, financial aid opportunities, student life, and more. Last year’s Education Fair proved to be so successful that CCC’s Human Resources team not only increased the number of participating schools, but it also arranged a seminar on ways to finance higher education. CCC HR staff members were also on hand to talk with employees about how CCC can support their pursuit of educational advancement.

Employees had varying reasons for checking out the fair. One employee believed that the experience she has gained as a health assistant at OTRC would make her a successful candidate for advanced healthcare programs. Another employee had just found out about new scholarship opportunities for which he was eligible and was interested in finding ways to take advantage of the financial resource.

Attendees recognized Central City Concern’s active support to staff toward fulfilling educational goals and potential. One of our housing case managers said that it was “clear that CCC wants to see me progress and follow my passion for getting more educated.” 

An employee from Puentes said that bringing information and opportunities to encourage educational advancement “shows that CCC really cares about me. They want me to be better for myself. And then I’ll also become better for CCC and my clients.”

A post-Fair survey showed that more than half the employees who attended were interested in enrolling in undergraduate or graduate studies. Many others said that they were interested in obtaining further licensure or professional certificates. 

The Education Fair is only one way that Central City Concern supports our employees’ educational aspirations. Next week, we’ll bring you news of yet another development that aims to provide our employees yet another step up toward their higher potential through educational advancement.