RCC recognized for workforce development

GRANTS PASS – Rogue Community College is pleased to announce several members of the RCC family received awards from the Rogue Workforce Partnership at its annual awards celebration on May 29.

The awards and recipients are as follows:

Oregon Workforce Partnership – Workforce Champion Award: Lynn Black, assistant director of Continuing Education & Workforce Development; and Juliet Long, Dean of Instruction, Science and Technology.

SOREDI Quest Award: Southern Oregon Higher Education Consortium, presidents Cathy Kemper-Pelle (RCC), Linda Schott (Southern Oregon University), Roberto Gutierrez (Klamath Community College) and Nagi Naganathan (Oregon Tech).

Extraordinary Retiree awards: Serena St. Clair, RCC Adult Basic Skills instructor and Pathways coordinator; and Linda Wagner, RCC Nursing program director.

Oregon Workforce Partnership – Workforce Champion Award

The Oregon Workforce Partnership is a statewide association of local workforce boards, including Rogue Workforce Partnership (RWP). Jim Fong, executive director of Rogue Workforce Partnership, nominated RCC’s Lynn Black and Juliet Long for the Workforce Champion award, which recognizes outstanding contributions and leadership among Oregon’s workforce development system partners.

“It would honor the inextricable teamwork both displayed to move us so significantly forward with the Rogue Advanced Manufacturing Partnership goals,” he said, citing development of the certified production technician program; the mechatronics and plant systems technician program; and establishment of the CTE Academy to provide career technical education for high school students. “It’s been a marvelous exhibition of the importance of inter-departmental collaboration, responsiveness to industry demands, and partnership,” Fong said.

Lynn Black and Juliet Long
Lynn Black and Juliet Long were named Workforce Champions for their work establishing career technical education (CTE) programs at RCC in partnership with local industry.

Black and Long were honored to receive the award, but share credit with the many people who worked as a team for success.

Traditionally, non-credit community education programs do not partner with for-credit instructional programs. However, the certified production technician (CPT) program is a joint effort of the two divisions. Continuing Education & Workforce Development offered the training as a non-credit certificate and RCC manufacturing faculty Anthony Knight and Chuck Thomas provided instruction. Continuing Education staff members Heather Green and Sierra Gilkey assisted with marketing, registration and purchasing. Since January, the program has served over 40 students and will be offered again fall term.

Within the CTE Academy, certified production training is available to high school students as a Career Pathways Certificate, in addition to mechatronics courses. Faculty who helped make this program a success include Steve Foster, Todd Giesbrecht, Mike Bullard, Anthony Knight, Chuck Thomas and Jesse Holcomb. Without their leadership in the classroom, the efforts would not be possible. Educational Partnerships staff Daye Stone, Laura Garrett and Michelle Rhodes were instrumental in getting the high school CTE Academy students enrolled and able to access course materials.

Also key to students obtaining the CPT certificate are course assessments that must be taken in the RCC Testing Center. Testing Administrator Marie Maguire-Cook and proctors Tracie Olsen, Gidget Smith and Anna Holst had a major role in scheduling and proctoring testing that helped students complete the final certification process.

SOREDI Quest Award

Over the past school year, the presidents of Rogue Community College, Klamath Community College, Southern Oregon University and Oregon Tech joined forces to establish the Southern Oregon Higher Education Consortium. This new alliance, the first of its kind in Oregon, is aimed at streamlining educational pathways for students and addressing the region’s specific workforce needs.

“This is a big deal for our region,” said Shawn Hogan in presenting the award to RCC President Cathy Kemper-Pelle. Hogan is a member of the RCC Board of Education and Vice President of Engineering and Operations at Linx Technologies. He praised the current institutional leaders for taking the step of establishing the consortium, a concept that had been brewing without action for some time. “In fact, some past presidents had high levels of territoriality,” Hogan said. “This consortium creates a new normal, and institutionalizes partnership as the way we do business here in Southern Oregon. We want to acknowledge and wholeheartedly support this kind of visionary leadership and breakthrough thinking by these exceptional leaders.”

Kemper-Pelle accepted the award on behalf of all four college presidents in the consortium, including Roberto Gutierrez (KCC), Nagi Naganathan (Oregon Tech) and Linda Schott (SOU).

Extraordinary Retirees


The Rogue Workforce Partnership recognized Serena St. Clair for her excellent work developing the local workforce through her positions with RCC. The group noted several of St. Clair’s accomplishments including spearheading the Career Pathways initiative at RCC and throughout the state, and collaborating with then-RCC Adult Basic Skills Director Laurie Rydell to lead a partnership with the Job Council Youth Program to expand the successful Circle of Courage resiliency-based national best practice model.

“Serena truly has been an innovator and creative spark in her work and career,” said Fong. “And you will be missed.”


Linda Wagner, chair of the RCC Nursing department, is also retiring this year. A registered nurse since 1975, Wagner worked in hospitals through 1989, caring for patients during and following surgery, as well as providing continuing education and staff development courses. She has been at RCC since 1990, serving as director for the nursing and practical nursing programs. Wagner is also co-director of the Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education (OCNE).

“Linda has been a stalwart and founding partner in the Rogue Healthcare Workforce Partnership,” Fong said. “She’s led the effort to train thousands of nurses in our region over the years. And most recently, she’s spearheaded the effort to address the structural pay differential challenges that are preventing RCC and other nursing education programs across the state from finding instructors.”