KLAMATH FALLS — Klamath Community College is pleased to announce that the Wendt Family Foundation has
generously donated $250,000 to the college to help fund construction of an Apprenticeship Center.
“The Wendt Family Foundation has already done so much for our community, and this donation further cements
the family’s commitment to developing a well-educated, well-trained workforce that can secure living-wage jobs and
support our local families,” said KCC President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez. “The college greatly appreciates the Wendt
The Wendt Family Foundation was founded in 1995 and invests in projects, programs, and organizations that will
help build healthy and vibrant communities, largely in Klamath Falls where Richard “Dick” Wendt co-founded Jeld-
Wen in 1960.
“The Wendt Family Foundation is very pleased to make a substantial contribution to this most important project,”
said Rod Wendt, president of the Wendt Family Foundation. “I would like to challenge other area leaders and
foundations to match us, or to make a significant donation as well, and hope local businesses and individuals will also
Kenneth DeCrans, chair of the KCC Board of Trustees, called the Apprenticeship Center a “win-win” for the
college and the community.
“The Apprenticeship Center will allow our community to continue growing and provide much-needed specialty
skills training in the trades,” DeCrans said. “Sharing in this success with the Wendt family is an honor for KCC.”
Rod noted that the KCC apprenticeship center and its programs have the potential to provide skills certifications
and employment opportunities for thousands of students over a number of decades.
“The apprenticeship project is going to attract students from a wide geographic swath across Southern Oregon,
Northern California, and over time, students from all of Oregon and the Northwest,” he said.
The center will provide space for hands-on training and pre-apprenticeship programs for transitioning high
schoolers, increase career-technical program offerings, and offer specialized fire science training. Once complete, the
project will help upskill the region’s workforce by providing a pipeline of skilled workers, which will bolster workforce
development, create jobs, attract private investment, and strengthen the regional economy.
KCC Foundation Executive Director Charles “Chip” Massie said the Apprenticeship Center project has already
received $6.9 million in grant funding from the Economic Development Administration and the State of Oregon
Higher Education Coordinating Commission. He pointed out that funding from the two grants will pay to construct
the Apprenticeship Center, but will not cover costs of the equipment and technology that will fill the building.
Massie said KCC will need to raise an additional $2 million to ensure the center can provide state-of-the-art
programming for academic, apprenticeship, and workforce training.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10/28/20
“The additional funding for classroom equipment and technology is key to creating a talented workforce pipeline
that successfully transitions students from the classroom into high-demand skilled trades careers. The intensive
hands-on components of our programs is what will set KCC apart from other colleges and make our graduates
more competitive in the workforce,” Massie said.