To the editor:
As members of the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Sub-Committee we have been closely involved with higher education structural realignment.
This means we are well-positioned to take advantage of this new structure. The working relationship Columbia Gorge Community College has established with local K12 partners, industry leaders, the university systems of Oregon and Washington, and state and federal agencies puts us in a unique position to seize opportunities other regions are not ready for.
Thanks to the innovation and willingness of Dr. Frank Toda and the college board to think creatively, CGCC has the attention of state and federal leaders. People are impressed that area high school students can take advantage of dual enrollment and dual credits while in high school. This is not happening all around the state.
Columbia Gorge Community College now has the Gorge Scholars that offers free tuition to district students that maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA. Adult learners benefit from the nursing and renewable energy tech programs. The college will soon have the workforce training center completed in conjunction with the Oregon Military Department at the new Readiness Center in The Dalles.
If everything continues down its current path, gorge students will be able to work on a baccalaureate degree at the Hood River Campus with a number of Oregon and Washington universities. This brings extensive higher education degree opportunities to gorge students.
Recently, the Mid-Columbia area has been designated as one of 10 Regional Achievement Collaboratives in Oregon. At the core of the collaborative is the Regional Center of Innovation (RCI). The RCI is a concept conceived at CGCC that envisions a seamless system of public education in our area.
From pre-K to higher ed, school districts will be linked by a common purpose of academic excellence supported by local communities that prepare students for post-secondary opportunities and successful careers. Dr. Toda and his board are to be commended for visionary leadership that draws attention around the state and nation. Not only is the RCI getting attention in Salem, but will also likely attract financial support to help make idea a reality. We need to add to this the benefits of full accreditation.
We just wanted to share some of the positive things Dr. Frank Toda and the college board have accomplished for the gorge. Dr. Toda represents us well and everyone speaks highly of him, his innovative ideas and his accomplishments for gorge students.
Rep. John Huffman
Rep. Mark Johnson
R- Hood River