COVID-19 Response and Reopening

Governor Brown Tours COCC, Highlights Health Care Workforce Pipeline

On Tuesday, March 15, Oregon Governor Kate Brown visited the Health Careers Center at Central Oregon Community College (COCC) as part of her Bend tour of businesses, affordable housing, workforce development and child care programs.

The Governor’s Future Ready Oregon initiative supports Oregon’s workers and future workers — especially those hit hardest by the pandemic — connecting them with well-paying careers in health care, manufacturing, technology and beyond. Governor Brown toured COCC’s Health Careers Center to see firsthand how students are preparing for career pathways in a variety of fields. She visited the center’s nursing and certified nursing assistant simulation classroom, the pharmacy technician and medical assistant simulation classroom and the paramedicine and EMT training facilities; she met with a COCC dental assistant student and visited with staff from St. Charles Health System; and she discussed workforce development and community partnerships with COCC President Dr. Laurie Chesley and East Cascade Works Executive Director Heather Ficht.

During her visit, Governor Brown shared why Future Ready Oregon is so important for COCC’s district: “It’s incredibly important…that we have a health care workforce that meets the needs of our communities,” she said. “What I’m excited about (at COCC) is that you’re really focused on diversifying the workforce pipeline, and that is really great news.”

“Most of our students upon graduation do stay and work in our community,” added Julie Downing, instructional dean at COCC overseeing allied health programs. “St. Charles is one of our largest employers, but our students are also in high demand for jobs at dental offices, pharmacies, vet clinics and other health care facilities across Central Oregon.”

COCC offers degrees and certificates in 12 different health career disciplines, including dental assistant, massage therapy, medical assistant, pharmacy technician, veterinary technician, health information management, registered nursing, nursing assistant and paramedicine, as well as degrees and certificates in public health.

Image: A COCC dental assistant student, Effie, gives Governor Kate Brown a tour of the dental clinic's simulation classroom.

Governor Brown Visits COCC