Merkley, Wyden Announce $1.2 Million to Columbia Gorge Community College

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced a total of $1.2 million in CARES Act funds will be headed to Columbia Gorge Community College to expand their health science workforce. These federal funds will be used to train, support, and fund the health care workforce in the Columbia Gorge Region.  

“Health care workers have been the cornerstone of our COVID-19 response over the last two years,” said Senator Merkley. “I’m pleased this federal funding is headed to Columbia Gorge Community College in The Dalles to help bring new dedicated individuals into this important work. This Economic Development Administration grant will provide valuable workforce development programs, ensuring that new health care workers entering the profession are best prepared to keep the community safe and healthy.”?? 

“I’ve heard from hardworking health care professionals all over Oregon how serious the need is for more colleagues to help care for Oregonians’ well-being in rural communities and statewide,”?said Senator Ron Wyden. “As our state works together to put this public health crisis in the rearview mirror, these federal funds provide crucial support to Columbia Gorge Community College to build out the health care workforce and provide career training for rural Oregonians wanting stable, good-paying and much-needed work opportunities.” 

This federal investment will help support the Columbia Gorge Community College’s effort to expand training opportunities for students to be qualified staff in the healthcare field, help the region recover from the Coronavirus pandemic, and meet local healthcare needs. When completed, this project is expected to introduce around 800 new healthcare professionals into the field to meet immediate regional needs or to continue their medical study that will lead to higher-level jobs— contributing to the region’s local workforce, creating and retaining jobs, and advancing economic resiliency throughout the region. 

“Healthcare workers are a critical force in our region and CGCC is fortunate to be part of the solution,” said Dr. Marta Yera Cronin, Columbia Gorge Community College president. “These funds will allow us to increase our capacity to train more highly-qualified healthcare professionals to serve the Mid-Columbia. Sen. Merkley and Sen. Wyden recognize the incredible stress the COVID pandemic has placed on healthcare workers. Our Senators’ support was instrumental as we expand our ability to train the healthcare workers our region needs so desperately.”