Lincoln City offers scholarships for SBDC classes & workshops

Lincoln City provides scholarships to businesses taking SBDC classes

For the sixth consecutive year, Lincoln City – via its Urban Renewal Agency, and thanks to a unanimous vote of support by the city council in July – has made scholarships available through economic development funds for business classes and programs offered at Oregon Coast Community College’s Small Business Development Center.

“The funds allocated to these scholarships are from the same sources that the city uses to make available low-interest loans for façade improvement or business expansion,” said SBDC Director Dave Price. “We’re grateful and humbled to know that the city, year after year, continues to appreciate the value of the services we offer to our participating businesses, and steps up to encourage more businesses to register, thanks to this financial support. Just as a business may become more profitable thanks to added traffic attracted by a shiny new sign or façade, we see over and over again how our clients can achieve greater returns by implementing the strategies learned in our classes and workshops.”

The scholarships are available only to businesses located within the city’s Urban Renewal District and, while they last,  provide 100% of the tuition for any SBDC classes, workshops, or programs – including the Small Business Management Program, a year-long program the College has presented for more than 25 years. The SBM begins in late September and runs through June, and features monthly classes and monthly one-on-one business advising sessions.

While the Lincoln City funding is specific to business located within the city’s Urban Renewal District, support received from other contributors helps reduce the cost of SBDC programs to businesses countywide.

“Thanks to ongoing generous support from the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners, the City of Newport and the City of Waldport, we’re also able to continue offering other scholarship support to businesses located elsewhere in Lincoln County,” Price said. The County, for example, has provided funding to the SBDC totaling $30,000 per year – using funds generated by video poker machines in the county. State law directs governments to invest a portion of those proceeds to economic development. “We’re thankful to the county commissioners that they have chosen to invest a portion of those economic development funds in the SBDC, helping ensure a broad array of classes, workshops and services to businesses and would-be entrepreneurs across the county,” Price said.

The Oregon Coast Community College SBDC has announced its fall term course lineup. Registration is open now for all of those classes and events, and can be found here.  For more information, call the SBDC at 541-994-4166.

Small Business Management Registration Opens

Patrick White

Registration opens for OCCC’s 2018-19 Small Business Management Program

Patrick White

SBM Coordinator Misty Lambrecht, pictured with 2017-18 SBM Business of the Year Patrick White, of Northwest Allpro Auto Clinic, of Newport.

Are you ready to invest some time in the classroom to help grow your business? Perhaps now is the time to take advantage of one of Lincoln County’s most prominent and established professional development opportunities – the Small Business Management (SBM) Program at Oregon Coast Community College.

This summer, the staff at OCCC’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is meeting with business owners from all corners of Lincoln County.

“The summer is one of our busiest times,” said Misty Lambrecht, coordinator of the SBM, the Center’s cornerstone program. “Each summer,” Lambrecht continued, “we schedule meeting after meeting with business owners who may be considering enrolling in our SBM for the next academic year.” This year, the program kicks off in late September 2018, and runs through June 2019.  Applications are open now.

Any Lincoln County business can apply to participate in the Small Business Management Program, but the typical participant has at least two to three years of operations under her belt. “Some businesses are much older,” Lambrecht said. “In recent years, we’ve seen brand-new startups sitting next to owners of fourth-generation county businesses. All are welcome, and all have something to contribute to our discussions.”

“Ron Spisso, who ran this program for almost 20 years, called it an ‘MBA Lite,’” she said. “It introduces business owners to fundamental concepts that have been around for years, as well as very new information – this year new content will range from the ramifications of the 2018 tax changes to the new marketing environment created by Facebook’s recent algorithm changes, among many others.”


About the program

The Small Business Management Program at its core consists of monthly classroom sessions, from September through June, along with once-monthly one-on-one advising sessions, during which participants meet alone with their business advisor from the SBDC.

“The typical SBM participant does a lot more than these two appointments per month,” said OCCC SBDC Director Dave Price. “They also do a great deal of work on their business, not just in their business. Generally, SBM participants are joining the program because they have some goals for their business to achieve during the year. Some are out to overhaul and improve their marketing programs and strategies. Others are determined to get their financial reporting improved and to resole longstanding issues with their QuickBooks records. Still others are hoping to learn more about resolving nagging personnel issues. And then,” Price continued, “there are those who are simply eager to learn more about doing business – and specifically to learn from other business owners about doing business here in our wonderful, crazy, and challenging corner of the world.”

Price, a county resident since 1996 who launched his own business here in 2005 and sold it in 2013, is a graduate of the SBM. “I enrolled in the program in the depths of the Great Recession,” he said. “I loved the monthly advising sessions – they were a great way to step out of the day to day stresses of the workplace and to really talk strategy, and building value for the long term.”

This year, the SBDC plans to offer two different cohorts of the SBM; one that meets Tuesday afternoons in Newport, and another meeting Wednesday mornings in Lincoln City.

“We began offering two cohorts two years ago,” Lambrecht said. “Business tell us they appreciate the convenience of having sessions closer to home, and also the ability to catch a missed class at the other location.”


Getting registered

To find out if the Small Business Management Program is for you, and to schedule an appointment with Lambrecht or Price, call 541-994-4166, or visit and click “Application.”


About the SBDC

The Small Business Development Center has served Lincoln County’s entrepreneurs for 31 years, offering free, confidential, one-on-one business advising to anyone in business or who’s simply thinking of one day launching a business.  The SBDC also offers a variety of classes and workshops at OCCC’s locations in Waldport, Lincoln City, and Newport. A complete listing of upcoming classes can be found any time at



Caring runs in the family

Caring runs in the family

OCCC Nursing-bound student following in her mother’s (and aunt’s) footsteps

Kira, pictured on an Oceanlake Elementary School field trip in 2009. Photo by Niki Price.

In the hospital environment, the focus for physicians is on the medicine, while nurses spend more time with the person seeking help, and frequently are the ones with whom patients will forge the most significant relationships before they leave.

It’s that deeper relationship that motivated recent Taft High graduate Kira Sciarrotta to begin the first part of her Certified Nursing Assistant certification through the Oregon Coast Community College while still in high school, and is continuing to guide her as she plans to attend the college this Fall doing preparatory coursework so that she can later apply to OCCC’s Nursing Program to pursue an Associate of Applied Science Degree.

“I like the connection that nursing allows you to make with the patients,” Kira said. “The doctors aren’t as involved with patient care, and I really like that connection, so this is the road I’m choosing to follow.”


A healthy home

Sciarrotta has learned about the nuts and bolts of nursing in two ways: at home and then while she was obtaining her CNA1, one of two trainings that enable people to work as nursing assistants.

“My mom is an ICU nurse and my aunt is a surgical nurse, so I grew up around it,” she said. “I really know what I am getting into.”

During training, a mix of classwork and on the job experience, CNA students spend three weeks during which they are assigned to a CNA at a hospital twice a week, for eight hours a day.

“Basically we were doing shifts at the hospital with the help of our trainers,” she said. “The fourth week, we did one 12-hour shift so we got to see what it will be like when we are really working in the field.”

The hard work done by health professionals in something Sciarrotta has seen firsthand.

“My mom works two 12-hour shifts a week and still takes really good care of four kids,” she said. “She’s a huge inspiration for me.”

And she is not just following in the footsteps of the influential women in her life by her career choice, but by her choice of colleges, too. Kira’s mother and aunt both graduated from the Oregon Coast Community College nursing program.

“My mom and aunt both went through it, so I know the program and am known to some of the instructors, which is nice.”


True grit

Linda Mollino, Director of Career and Technical Education Programs: Human Services Careers, says she admired the persistence Sciarrotta showed when the ambitious teen first applied to the CNA Program.

“Kira’s was an interesting situation,” Mollino said. “We received grant funds to give six people the opportunity to do the CNA program last year, but the rules state they have to be eighteen years old.”

Kira was seventeen.

Staff from the college and from participating high schools work to identify potential students that they believe will excel and succeed in the CNA program, and Mollino defers to their judgement when it comes time to offer the spots.

“She was persistent and had done well in high school,” Mollino said, “so I said if the counselors recommended her, we would work with her.” Glowing recommendations from counselors followed, and Kira was admitted to the program.

Sciarrotta continued to impress Mollino as she worked through the program requirements.

“She’s special,” Mollino said. “Not only was she a delight in class, but she’s the sort of student that you just have a lot of confidence in – confidence that they will have a bright future.”

Beginning with Fall 2018 term, Kira Sciarrotta will be working on pre-reqs in preparation for applying to the OCCC Nursing Program.

Bigger isn’t always better

A lifelong Lincoln City resident, Sciarrotta feels lucky to have OCCC as her local school.

“The college experience I’ve had has been amazing,” she said. “I love OCCC so much. The campus is so pretty, and the emphasis they have on mapping things out, so that if you don’t know what you’re missing they can help you figure it out, is so helpful. Small schools can get a bad reputation, but it’s nice to know that someone knows who you are and is willing to work with you. I’m sure that’s harder in bigger schools.”

Mollino, who has worked at the college since 2007, agrees.

“There’s something about Lincoln County and our college,” she said. “There’s more of an intimacy; the students really know we are invested in their success. Not that we aren’t hard on them, but we know them by their first names, and in many cases we know their families.”

Sciarrotta felt that though the school was small, there was no small effort to provide the students with what they would need to succeed.

“They have incredible labs where we can run through different scenarios,” she said. “They’ve put a lot of money into the program, and it shows.”

She also received a lot of help wading through the sometimes-daunting river of scholastic red tape.

“At the end of my senior year of high school, the staff at OCCC really helped me with planning my schedule and understanding my options for financial aid,” she said. “It definitely helped make the process less stressful.”

Mollino noted that college staff also help make connections between recent graduates and potential employers.

“When we are graduating a class we let the hospitals know who has finished our program, and go that extra mile to tell them about the particular strengths of each person. It really helps in the hiring process when you can make it personal.”


Room to grow

During her decade at the College, Mollino has seen not just an impressive number of graduates from the nursing degree and certification programs, but a growth in what the college offers in the healthcare field.

“We’ve added EMT, medical assisting, and early childhood education programs,” she said, adding that a benefit of many of these is that they enable people to stay in the area and still find employment.

“It’s amazing to see our graduates all over the local hospitals, and for people to find out that they did all of their prerequisites here on the coast.”

OCCC’s Early Childhood Education Program is brand new, and will launch in the Winter 2019 term.


Future forward

Sciarrotta is considering a specialty that may take her elsewhere for continued education. Luckily, we will have her here for at least the next few years.

“I’d like to eventually work in pediatrics,” she said. “But I plan to work as a CNA locally while I’m finishing my nursing prerequisites and the nursing degree program.”

Whether graduates stay or not, though, the OCCC program has a significant local impact.

“I believe our program has changed the level of healthcare in Lincoln County,” Mollino said. “The new energy of our students – especially the young ones – brings change, and that’s really positive.”

Mollino herself has had an impact on the students with whom she’s interacted, like Sciarrotta, who named both her and Nursing Faculty Advisor Lynn Barton as having been a huge help and influence.

Mollino recalled a chance encounter she had over a cup of coffee in Newport – an encounter that impacted more than one life directly.

“Once I went into a small cafe in Nye Beach and struck up a conversation with a woman working there who, when she found out what I do, said, ‘I always wanted to be a nurse, but I’m not smart enough.’ I talked with her about the program,” Mollino said, “and about what we offer and how we work with people to complete the requirements in a way that fits their life, and she decided to give it a try. Now she’s working at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital. She’s changed her life, and the life of her daughter.”

The importance of building relationships is critical in the healthcare industry, and the staff at OCCC works to reinforce this with their students throughout the program.

“Physicians have so many patients to see every day, and sometimes have to travel to different clinics and hospitals.” Mollino said. “Over time, we are seeing the health care community overall developing a more holistic approach, but nursing has always had that. There are so many things that could be going on with patients, which we try to get our students to understand. We have to remember that people had lives before they came in, and will have lives after they leave. While they are with us, we need to use that understanding to best care for them.”


About OCCC

Oregon Coast Community College serves Lincoln County through centers in Waldport, Newport and Lincoln City.  The College offers two-year Associate Degrees and a variety of transfer degrees, as well as numerous less-than-one-year certificate programs. New for Fall 2018, the College will launch a new teaching degree program in partnership with Tillamook Bay Community College and Western Oregon University. In the Winter 2019 term, the College will launch new Early Childhood Education degrees and certificates.

Registration for credit courses in the Fall 2018 term is open now. To learn more about the College and its programs and services, peruse this website or call 541-867-8501.


Accreditation Update: College achieves Candidacy status

OCCC’s Central County Campus in Newport.

OCCC achieves major milestone towards independent accreditation

Oregon Coast Community College has been granted Candidacy status, the final stage prior to independent regional accreditation. The announcement was made Thursday, July 26, by Sonny Ramaswamy, President of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Regional accreditation provides students with access to federal financial aid, and also ensures that credits earned are transferable. Currently, OCCC programs and services are accredited through an agreement with  Portland Community College.

According to Ramaswamy’s letter, the NWCCU took the action at its meeting on June 27-29, 2018, “after consideration of evidence, including the Institution’s Self-Evaluation Report, the Peer-Evaluation Report, the Institutional Response to the Peer-Evaluation Report, and the information received as part of the institutional representative meeting with commissioners.”

OCCC President Birgitte Ryslinge, Dean of Academics and Workforce Daniel Lara, and Dean of Students Cindy Carlson attended the June meeting of the NWCCU and addressed the commission.

“It is my great pleasure to let you know that OCCC has been granted Candidacy by NWCCU,” Ryslinge wrote in an email to the College’s Board of Education and management team late Thursday “Now, we set our eyes towards independence!”

The College’s Self-Evaluation Report was filed with the NWCCU in February of 2018. An NWCCU peer evaluation visit took place April 9 to 11, in Newport and Lincoln City. The Self-Evaluation Report, the Peer-Evaluation Report compiled by the visiting team, and the College’s Response to the Peer-Evaluation Report are all available for public viewing on the College’s website.

OCCC’s North County Center in Lincoln City.

A long journey

Oregon Coast Community College was founded in 1987. For the first twenty-plus years of its history the college provided classes and services out of a variety of rented spaces. In 2004 the voters of Lincoln County passed a $23.5 million bond to develop a permanent college campus in Newport and college centers in Lincoln City and Waldport. The faculty, staff, and students of OCCC deeply appreciate the tremendous support shown by the voters of Lincoln County, then and now.

In July 2014, Dr. Ryslinge was named the president of Oregon Coast Community College and was charged by the OCCC Board of Education with leading the college to independent accreditation.

Since its founding, OCCC’s academic programs have been accredited through other Oregon community colleges. Since 2014, OCCC has been accredited through Portland Community College.  Every graduate who crossed the stage during this June’s commencement ceremony earned a PCC diploma.

“We’re thankful to PCC for their tremendous support of Oregon Coast,” Ryslinge said. “But, we know that the best way OCCC can serve the residents of Lincoln County is to secure its own independence. When our students cross the stage and collect the diplomas they’ve earned, we want those diplomas to say ‘Oregon Coast Community College.’ The ‘Oregon Coast Diploma’ is one of our foundational strategic objectives and it means far more than a name printed on a document. It represents local responsiveness and services we can tailor to meet the challenges, the needs, and the opportunities Lincoln County presents now, and will present in the future.”

OCCC’s South County Center in Waldport.

The process towards Independence

Oregon Coast Community College informed the NWCCU of its intent to pursue independent accreditation via a report filed in July 2014. The College was granted “Applicant” status in 2016. With this week’s announcement it has achieved “Candidate” status, the only remaining step is to be granted fully independent Accredited status. However, recognition as Candidate neither implies nor ensures an institution will attain Accredited status with the NWCCU. Though every case is different, the process of a college like OCCC pursuing independent accreditation historically has taken 7-10 years.  Now that OCCC has been awarded Candidacy, NWCCU allows up to five years to reach Accreditation.

“We have come a long way,” Ryslinge said, “and we know that there is still significant work to be done in order to be fully independent. Our team is ready and eager for the challenge. The communities and students we serve deserve nothing less.”

Follow the College’s progress towards independent accreditation here.

OCCC Teaching Program

Teacher Program Banner 2018

OCCC launches new ‘grow your own’ teaching degree program

College, School District, Western Oregon UniversityTeacher
join forces to help more local students
earn teaching degrees

Visit the program web page

To teach is to help build a better community for future generations. For too many local students, though, the cost of the four-year degree necessary to become a teacher is too great, despite the attractive wages and benefits packages available in the profession.

Now, students who aspire to become elementary school teachers right here at home in Lincoln County have a new pathway to follow to achieve their dream.

Thanks to a grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust, and through partnerships with the Lincoln County School District, Western Oregon University, and Tillamook Bay Community College, Oregon Coast Community College is launching a new elementary school teacher education program this fall. The announcement follows the revelation last spring that the Fall 2018 would also see the launch of OCCC’s first Early Childhood Education degree and certificate programs.

“Ever since I came to Oregon Coast Community College four years ago,” said Birgitte Ryslinge, President of OCCC, “I’ve heard from county residents, employers, and agencies asking for better, more affordable, and more accessible teaching and early childhood education degrees and certificates. I’m so pleased that, after a great deal of work, we’re able to announce the launch of this program.”


Earn a teaching degree

The new program is designed to help Lincoln County “grow its own” teachers, by supporting local students as they work towards their teaching degrees and assisting them in student-teaching and eventual full-time job placement here in Lincoln County. The goal is to help the school district recruit and retain teachers who are familiar with and grounded in Lincoln County and, through targeted outreach to underrepresented populations, help increase the diversity of teachers in K-12 classrooms to better reflect the demographics of the student population.

“Through this program, students will be able to earn the first two years of a Western Oregon University bachelor’s degree in education, by earning an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree (AAOT) here at OCCC,” said Dan Lara, OCCC’s Dean of Academics and Workforce.

In the third year of the program, students will transition to Western Oregon, where they will study for an academic year.  In the fourth and final year of the program, students achieving minimum performance standards will be placed into student-teaching positions by the Lincoln County School District while they continue remaining WOU courses online.  Upon graduation and certification by the state, program participants will receive preferential consideration for open teaching positions in the school district.

“By saving on tuition and housing by earning the first two years of this degree via the AAOT, and by requiring only one academic year away in Monmouth to attend WOU, this program slashes the costs one would traditionally expect for a degree like this,” Lara said, adding that some Lincoln County students may be able to arrange schedules so that they can continue living and working at home while commuting to courses at WOU during that third year.

“And,” he continued, “the automatic placement into student teaching positions in the fourth year of the program means this could be the quickest way for local residents to launch a brand new, immensely rewarding, and financially lucrative career. We’re thankful to the Meyer Memorial Trust for their support in delivering this innovative new option for local students.”

The Rural Teacher Education Pathway is available for high school graduates of all ages. Additionally, Juniors and Seniors in Lincoln County high schools can enroll via dual credit in core courses, further accelerating the program. Students interested in secondary education certifications should speak with their OCCC and WOU advisors.

The Meyer Memorial Trust grant also funded the two-year Early Childhood Education degree and one-year certificate programs that also launch in Fall 2018. Both are designed to provide new career opportunities to county residents, while also raising the quality and availability of child care services throughout the county.

Registration is now open for these programs. To learn more, contact Ben Kaufmann, OCCC’s Navigate Program Coordinator. Visit the Teacher Education Pathway website, here, for complete details. 


Summer Noncredit Courses


Pennywhistles, astronomy, painting … and Dungeons & Dragons?

Just another summer at Oregon Coast Community College

Make the most of your summer! Starting in July, Oregon Coast Community College’s North County Center in Lincoln City is presenting something fun, creative, and engaging each and every week.

Each of OCCC’s non-credit summer community education classes is one session – no need to schedule your busy summer around four or eight class sessions. These “one-and-done” courses are designed to entertain, educate, and inspire – and to do it all in one simple day.

Our summer lineup will help you get the most of your telescope, learn basic drawing techniques, learn to play the pennywhistle, sharpen your en plein aire oil painting skills, and even introduce you to the decades-old phenomenon that is Dungeons & Dragons.

The summer will also include some offerings catered to small business owners, including a series of one-session courses like Shoebox Accounting, Introduction to QuickBooks, and QuickBooks online, led by instructor Kathie Gordon-Brooks. The OCCC Small Busienss Center will also present an open house in the Digital Media & Marketing Studio, funded by the Lincoln County Economic Development Grant Program, where businesses can produce videos, record podcasts, and take studio-quality photographs of their products or artwork.

The schedule, subject to change, includes:

  • Shoebox Bookkeeping, July 10
  • Lincoln City Rec Kids Astronomy & Rocketry Day, July 12
  • Introduction to QuickBooks, July 17
  • QuickBooks Online, July 24
  • Kelp Weaving, July 26
  • Learn to use Your Telescope, July 30
  • Basic Drawing, Aug. 8
  • Beginning Watercolor, Aug. 13
  • Digital Studio Tour & Orientation, Aug. 13
  • Learn to Play the Pennywhistle, Aug. 23
  • An Introduction to Dungeons & Dragons, Aug. 27
  • Plein Aire Painting at SW 51st Street, Aug. 28

For schedule updates, as well as pricing and registration information, visit the OCCC Community Education page, here,  or call 541-996-6222.


Remembering Van

Edward van Aelstyn

Remembering Van

Edward Arthur “Van” van Aelstyn passed away peacefully on May 23, 2018.  He was at home and two of his children were by his side.

Van had a rich life as a theater director and actor, professor of English and film, editor, and activist.  His approach to theater was unique, as were his productions.  Van was an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and discriminating appreciator and supporter of the visual arts, music, theater, and literature.

While earning his Doctor of Arts in English and American Literature and Linguistics from University of Oregon, Van assembled and conducted a 17-piece orchestra and also served as the editor of the University’s Northwest Review.  Van transformed the Northwest Review into a leading literary voice, publishing numerous noted poets.  In writing of Van’s term as editor, David Schneider wrote, “Possessed of an excellent academic record, van Aelstyn also displayed native curiosity, absorptive openness, and enviable spine…” {Click here to read the rest of this feature, and to learn more about a new Memorial Scholarship program founded in Van’s honor.}

Mossy Creek

Mossy Creek Pottery Building



With a combination of innate grit and knowing where to turn when she needs help, Melanie Richardson has become the latest owner of Mossy Creek Pottery, a Lincoln City business that is an important part of the Central Coast’s creative community.

But she’d rather you not call her that.

Melanie Richardson

“I feel like I’m the keeper, not the owner,” Richardson said. “This is a business that’s been here for 45 years; some of our artists have sold their work here for more than 30 years.”

The first step of keepership for Richardson happened in 2014, after she had been working as a sales person at Mossy Creek for about four years. She purchased the rights to the business name, the relationship with the artists that sold their pottery there, and took over the lease of the building.

Three years later she decided to try to buy the building and the stunning six-acre riverside property it sits on, and to grow the business. But for that, Richardson realized she needed some help.

{Click to read the full story.}

Register for Advising for Fall Term

With summer just around the corner, it’s time to schedule your academic advising session as you plan to start your academic adventure at (or return to) Oregon Coast Community College.

Meetings with advisors Blake Hagan and Colleen Doherty can be booked online any time. To schedule your appointment, visit

For more information, call Student Services at 541-867-8501.

OCCC Commencement Set for June 15

2018 banner commencement

OCCC Commencement
at the Newport Performing Arts Center

Oregon Coast Community College’s 30th Annual Commencement Ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. June 15, 2018, at the Newport Performing Arts Center.

Commencement 2018

If you have already completed, or will be completing, graduation requirements for a degree or certificate this year (Summer 2017) please do the following:

1.  Login to your myOCCC.

2.  Click on 2017-18 Graduation Application.

3.  Complete and submit the electronic form.  Completion of this form is mandatory.

4.  Email your academic advisor to confirm your status. (Colleen Doherty or Blake Hagan.)

Your cap and gown can be ordered at Jostens.