COCC to furlough nearly 40 staffers through September

Central Oregon Community College will furlough nearly 40 employees beginning later this month through the end of September.

Since late March, COCC has been operating nearly exclusively in a remote environment, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, some college employees are not able to work the number of hours for which they are contracted.

“Like others in the community, and throughout the world, our college is experiencing challenging times,” said Laurie Chesley, president of COCC. “We have made the difficult decision to furlough some of our staff members. These furloughs are for employees who, due to the current situation, are not able to work any or only some of their hours.”

For the furloughed employees, pay will be reduced according to hours cut, but health insurance benefits will remain the same, according to the college.

“Furlough decisions are not reflections on employees’ performance or commitment to the college,” Chesley added. “I sincerely thank these colleagues for all their good work, and I am sorry for the hardships this will cause them and their families.”

Overall, COCC is furloughing 38 employees – 12 for all of their scheduled hours, and the others for part of their hours.

The college has 410 positions where employees are on contracts to work between half-time and full-time. The furloughs represent about nine percent of the benefitted workforce.

“Administrative and classified staff, people working all over campus,” said Ron Paradis, College Relations executive director. “A couple of the major areas include some of the custodians – since we’re not using the buildings very much, obviously we don’t need the custodians as much. “It includes people who work in the bookstore.”

Additionally, after the initial move to a remote learning environment, the college eliminated about 200 hourly positions – those where individuals were scheduled to work less than half time (fewer than 20 hours per week).

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