OCCC partners honored at statewide event


NEWPORT – Recently, Oregon Coast Community College hosted the annual meeting Oregon Association of Community and Continuing Education at OCCC’s Central County Campus in Newport. The meeting was held April 30 and May 1.

Jim Kusz Alison Robertson

Jim Kusz and Alison Nelson-Robertson

The meeting attracted deans and directors of workforce development and community education programs from nearly every community college in the state, and culminated in the Association’s annual awards luncheon where, this year, two Lincoln County residents were honored for their contributions to the College.

Alison Nelson-Robertson, Lincoln City’s Director of Urban Renewal and Economic Development, was named “Oregon Business Partner of the Year.” Under her leadership, the Urban Renewal Agency has managed the city’s Economic Development “toolkit,” which includes scholarship support for local businesses located within the UR District, affording many local businesses the opportunity to take courses through the Small Business Development Center at OCCC that might otherwise be out of reach financially.

Captain Jim Kusz of the North Lincoln Fire and Rescue District was also honored at the awards ceremony, being named Oregon’s “Community College Community Educator of the Year.” Kusz has taught his “Disaster Preparedness for the Pacific Northwest” course at OCCC for more than three years, and has done so without pay, thus allowing the course to be offered free. The course has become the most-attended course in the history of the OCCC Community Education program.

“Surely, tsunami and earthquake preparedness are a big part of his two-night, six-hour class,” read the nomination letter submitted for Capt. Kusz’ nomination, but Capt. Kusz frequently notes, ‘the wildland fire will get you long before the earthquake will,’ referencing the many types of disruptions – from landslides to windstorms to flooding and more – that the coast can dish out to make transportation, and life in general, challenging for extended periods of time. If his classes were full of doom, gloom, and forecasts for disaster, Jim Kusz’s classes would be difficult to fill. Fortunately, word spreads, and attendance swells, term in and term out, because of the humor and energy he brings to each session.”

The next offering of Disaster Preparedness for the Pacific Northwest will be held on two consecutive Thursday evenings, June 14 and 21, at OCCC’s North County Center in Lincoln City. There is no charge for the class, but pre-registration is required. To register, call 541-994-4166 or visit oregoncoastcc.org/communityed.

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PHOTO: Capt. Jim Kusz and Alison Nelson-Robertson pose with their awards outside the Oregon Coast Community College Central County Campus in Newport.