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Leading with racial equity, we advocate, communicate, and collaborate to strengthen community colleges for the benefit of Oregonians, particularly those historically underserved or systemically marginalized in higher education.

OCCA Digest shifts to weekly editions

Welcome! With next week's commencement of the 82nd Oregon Legislative Assembly, the OCCA Digest will move from being a monthly publication to a weekly edition. This will allow OCCA to provide important updates during the 2023 Legislative Session more regularly and in a timely fashion. Readers of the Digest can expect its release each Friday through the end of the Session.

2023 Legislative Session to begin Tuesday

The 2023 Legislative Session begins next week with new legislative leadership and an exceptionally high number of first-time legislators serving in the body along with a newly elected Governor Tina Kotek. This session is the full 6-month session in which biennial state budgets are set including funding community colleges through the Community College Support Fund.

The 2023 Session will be the first fully in-person session since the pandemic; however, access to the capital building is limited due to extensive seismic upgrades that will be under construction until 2025. Capital entrances now also require visitors to pass through metal detectors.

OCCA enters the session with three priority issues for advocacy:
  • $855 million minimum in ongoing support for the Community College Support Fund and $50 million in one-time transition funding
  • $400 million minimum for the Oregon Opportunity Grant
  • Legislation clarifying that the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) may authorize Bachelor of Science Nursing degrees at Oregon’s community colleges.
OCCA is working hard with OCCA reps, college presidents and campus advocacy coordinators to prepare for and advocate during the legislative session for these priorities, as well as others that may arise. The OCCA board will meet via Zoom weekly with legislative/government affairs staff and presidents to stay on top of issues and strategize as the session moves forward.

OCCA releases 2023 Advocacy Toolkit

In an effort to better prepare presidents, boards, campus advocacy coordinators and other stakeholders to advocate for community colleges during the 2023 Legislative Session and make sure messaging is consistent, OCCA has put together an Advocacy Toolkit. This toolkit, available on OCCA's website, provides talking points, informational one-page leave-behind documents, lobby tips, a video recording of an advocacy training, and social media resources. OCCA will continue to update this toolkit with additional documents as the Legislative Session continues and other issues arise.

Download Voter Voice app to easily contact legislators

Throughout the Legislative Session, OCCA utilizes a grassroots advocacy platform called Voter Voice to allow college board members, faculty/staff, students and other stakeholders to easily contact legislators regarding particular issues via phone, email or with a Tweet. OCCA began using Voter Voice during the 2021 Legislative Session and again in 2022 with much support and success. OCCA activates a Voter Voice campaign for major issues throughout the Session, such as budget, CTE, student supports and business partnerships.

OCCA encourages anyone who would like to advocate on behalf of community colleges to download the free Voter Voice app from either the Apple or Google stores. While you can also access any active campaign to reach legislators on the OCCA website, the app is free, easy to navigate and allows you to receive text and push notifications when a new campaign becomes active so you know right when to take action to support community colleges. OCCA will also post links to any new Voter Voice campaigns in the OCCA Digest.
Click here for instructions on downloading the app.

Save the Date: 2023 OCCA Legislative Summit

The 2023 OCCA Legislative Summit is set for March 8-9, 2023, in Salem. This important event is a great opportunity for college presidents, board members, campus advocacy coordinators, students and other advocates to learn more about impacts to community colleges during the Legislative Session. You'll hear from veteran community college advocates, students and legislators, and learn advocacy best practices and important messaging as we work to support community colleges during the 2023 Legislative Session. The Summit will take place March 8 at the Salem Convention Center, including a reception with legislators, while March 9 will be reserved for colleges to meet with legislators at the Capitol. Please work with your college to schedule your visits with your legislators. Additional details and registration information will be released later this month, so stay tuned! Click here for the flyer.

Changes to Employment Related Day Care for Students

The Oregon Early Learning Division and Oregon Department of Human Services have released updated guidance regarding the changes to the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program that allows Oregon students greater access to affordable child care. These changes became effective Jan. 1, 2023. The primary changes to the program mean that students -- those in high school, a GED program or college -- no longer need to work to qualify for the child care assistance. In addition, all students will receive additional child care hours each week for study time. To learn more about the changes, how students can apply for benefits and additional ERDC information, please click here. For an overview infographic about the ERDC program, please click here.

Worth the Read

Articles & reports worth a quick read
Congratulations to Portland Community College President Adrien Bennings, who has been selected to join the Community College Baccalaureate Association (CCBA) Board of Directors. CCBA is the nation’s leading network of community colleges that build and sustain high-value, career-focused baccalaureate degrees that maximize opportunities for all citizens to achieve family-sustaining careers. Congratulations and way to represent Oregon!
OCCA and our colleges do incredible things throughout the year that make an impact on students and our communities. Kudos Corner will highlight these commendation-worthy actions each week. Want to recommend a Kudos-worthy highlight? Email

Employment Opportunities

Vice President of Student Affairs - Portland Community College (closes 1/13/2023)
Director, Hermiston Center - Blue Mountain Community College (open until filled)
Feves Art Gallery Director - Blue Mountain Community College (open until filled)
Development Officer - Blue Mountain Community College Foundation (first review of applications 2/13/2023)

Mark Your Calendar


January 2023

16 - OCCA Office Closed (MLK Jr. holiday)
17 - 2023 Legislative Session Begins

February 2023

CTE Month
1 - OCCA Executive Committee Meeting, 8:00 a.m. (virtual)
2 - OPC Meeting, 9 a.m.
3 - OCCA Board Forum & Meeting, 8:30 a.m.
6-8 - National Legislative Summit, Washington, DC
14 - Pathways to Opportunity Winter Summit, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (virtual)
20 - OCCA Office Closed (President's Day holiday)
Copyright © 2023 Oregon Community College Association, All rights reserved.

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