Local businesses provide employment for area residents and products and services close to home. Mid-county Memo Business Memos celebrate news, advancements, promotions, retirements, expansions and other noteworthy events at these cornerstones of our community. To share news of your business with our readers, Business Memo submissions for the December issue are due by Tuesday, Nov. 15. For best results, e-mail Darlene Vinson at editor@midcountymemo.com. You may also mail submissions to 3510 N.E. 134th Ave., Portland, OR 97230. To leave a phone message, call 503-287-8904. The Mid-county Memo fax number is 503-249-7672.

Help improve Parkrose business district
Historic Parkrose is looking to recruit new members to serve on the Historic Parkrose board of directors. Board members’ activities include evaluating storefront improvement grant applications and planning community events such as Taste of Parkrose. Board meetings are held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the Historic Parkrose office, 11036 N.E. Sandy Blvd.

Everyone who lives or works in the Parkrose neighborhood is invited to serve on the board. The group is especially interested in hearing from businesses within the Historic Parkrose service area—Northeast Sandy Boulevard between 99th and 121st avenues.

To learn more or to apply for a board position, e-mail Kate Coenen at kate@historicparkrose.com.

MHCC receives $2.1 million grant
Mt. Hood Community College has been selected to receive a U.S. Department of Education Title III grant totaling more than $2 million under the federal government’s Strengthening Institutions Program, which provides resources to aid colleges in serving low-income students. MHCC will receive approximately $430,000 each year for what is anticipated as a five-year grant.

“We are both thrilled and humbled to be selected for this grant,” said MHCC President Dr. Debra Derr. “Low-income students are often the most vulnerable in terms of being able to pursue and complete a college education. With this grant, we will be able to expand upon the successes we’ve already had here at Mt. Hood Community College.”

MHCC has seen an increase in both the number of low-income and first-generation college students attending the institution. In the fall of 2011, 44.3 percent of the student body was identified as low income, and 11.5 percent was identified as first generation. In the fall of 2013, those numbers rose to 49.3 percent and 35.6 percent, respectively. In the fall of 2013, nearly a quarter of MHCC students were identified as both low-income and first-generation college students.

The college has adapted to these changing numbers with a Student Success Strategies (SSS) program designed to identify at-risk students early and assist them in reaching their educational goals with a variety of proactive strategies. These efforts have already seen success. Freshmen who have received support under the SSS program persist through to the next year at a 76.1 percent rate, compared to 48.3 percent of freshmen who did not receive assistance.

With the additional funding, the college’s program can expand to include:

• Individualized intake and orientation appointments
• An assessment of each student’s individual needs through diagnostic testing and appreciative advising
• The creation of an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP, to serve as a customized roadmap for students
• Campus visits to four-year universities, cultural enrichment trips and additional group activitie
• Expanded tutoring and mentoring services

“In general, we see three common, reoccurring barriers to student success,” said John Hamblin, associate vice president for student development and success at MHCC. “These include academic deficiencies, inadequate financial aid and problems associated with balancing school work and goals with family and nonacademic commitments. With this program and this grant, we can make a difference in helping more students succeed and finish what they set out to begin here at MHCC.”