Rogue Community College
Rogue Community College
Phone Search Menu Search

Rogue Community College named a 2021 National Finalist for Bellwether Award

RCC will join nine community college finalists from across the country competing for the highly prized award at the virtual Community College Futures Assembly in January 2021.

(GRANTS PASS, Dec. 7, 2020) Rogue Community College is the only college in the Pacific Northwest to be selected as a finalist in any category in the prestigious Bellwether Award. 

RCC is a finalist in the category of Workforce Development, which identifies strategic alliances that promote community and economic development. Bellwether finalists were selected based upon competitive submission. The most exemplary programs and practices were selected as finalists.  

RCC’s entry, the Southern Oregon Health Occupations Poverty Elimination Project (SOHOPE) is provides training in health care careers to people who historically face higher education barriers such as generational. SOHOPE bridges the gap between community members interested in health care careers and industry needs to fill critical health care jobs in the region. Funded through a federal HPOG grant, SOHOPE provides funding and other holistic supports to eligible students to become trained and certified in high-demand careers through RCC's Allied Health Occupations department. The alliance between students, the college, and local health care providers is a success for all.

“It’s an honor and a thrill to be chosen as a finalist,” said Lisa Parks, director of Allied Health and the SOHOPE grant. “Our success comes from the courageous students and the solid support of the college and health care providers in the region.” 

Since it began in 2015, SOHOPE has helped close to 400 people gain meaningful health care employment at living-wage jobs and “taking themselves and their families out of poverty and on a path to greater upward social mobility,” Parks said. “The goal is to continue working to support our students to achieve their educational goals by addressing barriers that often keep them from achieving meaningful health care employment.” The college partners with local health care providers to understand their needs and put that information to work, Parks explained, adding, “Through this alliance, our students and our entire community are positively impacted.”

To read more about SOHOPE and one student’s story, visit

RCC will compete among nine other community colleges in its category in a rigorous final review judged by thought leaders and skilled practitioners at the virtual 2021 Community College Futures Assembly in January 2021. The assembly, now in its 27th year, convenes annually as an independent national policy forum for key higher education leaders to work as a “think tank” in identifying critical issues facing the future of community colleges, and to recognize Bellwether winners and finalists as trend-setting institutions.

“This is the second time in three years that RCC has been selected as a finalist for the Bellwether Award, and I believe this is testimony to the outstanding work of our college in supporting the success of all students, and especially disadvantaged students, through innovative programs,” said RCC president, Dr. Cathy Kemper-Pelle.

The Consortium announced 30 finalists in three categories –Workforce Development, Planning-Governance-Finance, and Instructional Programs and Services.  All finalists will present at the 2021 Community Colleges Futures Assembly, and one winner will be selected from each category by a panel of national experts.

2021 List of Bellwether Awards Finalists

The Workforce Development category identifies strategic alliances that promote community and economic development. The following ten institutions have been named finalists:

Houston Community College
Broward College
Pima Community College - HPOG
Rogue Community College
Oxnard College
San Jacinto College
Polk State College
South Mountain Community College
Pima Community College - USAF Paramedic
Holyoke Community College

The Planning, Governance and Finance category recognizes programs or activities that improve efficiency and effectiveness in the community college. The following ten institutions have been named finalists:

Southwest Tennessee Community College
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Onondaga Community College
El Paso Community College
Blinn College District
Collin College
Pensacola State College
Broward College
Pima Community College
University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Texarkana

The Instructional Programs and Services category recognizes programs and services that foster or support teaching and learning in the community college. The following ten institutions have been named finalists:

College of the Canyons
Pima Community College
Bossier Parish Community College
South Mountain Community College
Broward College
Naugatuck Valley Community College
Oxnard College
Reading Area Community College
Pima Community College
Madisonville Community College

“The Bellwether College Consortium prides itself on identifying and celebrating replicable, scalable and results-based programs and models and disseminating these highly lauded examples of institutional success to peer institutions,” said Dr. Rose Martinez, director of the Bellwether College Consortium.

The Bellwether College Consortium is a group of colleges charged with addressing the critical issues facing community colleges through applicable research and the promotion and replication of best practices addressing workforce development, instructional programs and services, and planning governance and finance. The Bellwether Award is proudly sponsored by the Alamo Colleges District in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, consult the Community College Futures Assembly website, or email