Salinas, Wyden, Merkley Announce Federal Grant to Chemeketa Community College

Salem, OR – Today, U.S. Representative Andrea Salinas (OR-06), along with U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), announced that the U.S. Department of Education has awarded $1,421,219 to Chemeketa Community College as part of the first-ever Perkins Innovation and Modernization Career Connected High Schools (CCHS) grant program. This funding will be used to connect high school students from rural and under-resourced schools with college credit opportunities and set them on the path to good-paying careers in STEM.

“I’m excited to see Chemeketa Community College receive federal funding to expand dual enrollment opportunities for high school students,” said Rep. Salinas. “Through my visits to career-technical education centers across Oregon’s Sixth District, I have seen firsthand how critical these kinds of programs are for students, especially those from rural and underrepresented communities. This grant money will help more students in our area find successful careers in some of today’s most in-demand jobs. I’m grateful to the Department of Education for investing in Oregon families.”

“This federal investment in Chemeketa Community College addresses two major priorities of mine: it funds programs to support our youth’s future, while also supporting the industries that are suffering from workforce shortages,” said Wyden. “Giving students more resources to succeed along with supporting local business is the type of two-prong problem solving I always look for.”

“The U.S. Department of Education’s new grant program to develop more career-connected high school programs across the country will go a long way toward helping our schools, students, and businesses build a solid foundation for future economic success,” said Merkley. “This federal funding for Chemeketa Community College in particular will give our Oregon high schoolers more hands-on, high-quality learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom, so they are fully prepared for their chosen careers.”

“We are genuinely excited about receiving the Perkins Innovation and Modernization grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This grant will allow us to create more opportunities for high school students in healthcare, agriculture, and aquaculture through dual enrollment programs with our partner schools and employers. We are honored to be one of only 19 entities nationwide to receive this grant, and we are enthusiastic about the positive impact it will have on our community and the futures of our students,” said Dr. Jessica Howard, President of Chemeketa Community College.

Chemeketa Community College is one of 19 grantees nationwide – and the only entity in Oregon – that was selected to receive federal funding through the CCHS program. According to the Department of Education, the CCHS program “builds the capacity of education and workforce systems to partner with business and industry, to develop new high-quality career-connected high school programs for more students.”

This funding will primarily benefit students from rural and under-resourced communities, many of whom are enrolled in career-technical education programs through their high schools. Rep. Salinas has visited several career-technical education centers (CTECs) in Oregon’s Sixth District, most recently the Salem Keizer Career Technical Education Center in January.

In addition to this funding, Chemeketa Community College also received another $2.2 million grant to expand its dual credit and career-technical opportunities earlier this month.

Click here to learn more about the CCHS grant program.