Wyden, Merkley: More than $5 Million to go to Community Colleges in Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon

Wyden, Merkley: More than $5 Million to go to Community Colleges in Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon

Resources from CARES Act headed for Mt. Hood Community College, Chemeketa Community College and Treasure Valley Community College

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that Mt. Hood Community College, Chemeketa Community College, and Treasure Valley Community College will receive a combined more than $5 million to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the advent of more contagious variants of the COVID-19 virus, colleges around the state need support to continue adapting to keep their students safe,” Wyden said. “These CARES Act dollars will go a long way to help ensure that our community colleges have what they need to provide safe, quality learning environments for students—both virtual and in-person.”

“Over the last 18 months, the coronavirus crisis has taken so much from Oregonians,” said Merkley. “But we can’t let a quality education be one of those things—especially as we set out to rebuild and recover from this pandemic. I’m pleased that we were able to help get Mt. Hood, Chemeketa, and Treasure Valley Community Colleges the resources they need to meet the evolving challenges of this difficult time. I will continue to do all that I can to ensure that all of our community colleges and universities receive the support they need to keep their communities safe while they keep setting our students up for lifetimes of success.”

The funds from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which both Wyden and Merkley supported, will help these higher education institutions prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. The resources will be distributed as follows:

  • Mt. Hood Community College: $3 million
  • Chemeketa Community College: $1.54 million
  • Treasure Valley Community College : $642,570

 "I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Senators’ Wyden and Merkley for their commitment to assisting our students during these exceptional times. These funds will allow us to provide much needed direct support to some of our most vulnerable students whose challenges were only magnified by the pandemic,” said Dr. Lisa Skari, President of Mt. Hood Community College. “With these funds the college will establish a Basic Needs Response Center that will provide a full range of services from online learning support to addressing the housing and food insecurities faced by many. This support will go far in assisting our low income, first generation and BIPOC students."

"Chemeketa is absolutely thrilled to receive this grant to improve the transition of Oregon's high school students into higher education, and is very grateful to Senators Wyden and Merkley for their critical support,” said Jessica Howard, President of Chemeketa Community College. “This funding will allow us to provide equitable access to dual credit and early college programming across our service district, increasing college-going of rural, first-generation, low-income, and equity students.”

“On behalf of Treasure Valley Community College, I want to sincerely thank U.S. Senators Wyden and Merkley for their continued support of community colleges and the students we serve,” said Dr. Dana M. Young, President of Treasure Valley Community College.” “This additional funding is a testament to the value our legislators see in an educated citizenry.  At TVCC student needs and safety are always a priority as we ensure their access to workforce training and postsecondary education especially during an unforeseen pandemic and its effects on those most vulnerable.”