Become a partner

It’s easy—and rewarding—to become an Industry Preferred Partner of the Northwest Career Colleges Federation. Join the outstanding vendors, service providers and professional organizations who have partnered with the Northwest Career Colleges Federation.

What's new

The Careers That Work! Scholarship program makes available five $1000 scholarships to every high school – public and private – in Oregon, Washington and Idaho to award to graduating seniors headed to one of the NWCCF participating member colleges. This includes alternative high schools and skill centers. High schools select the recipients.

Did you know?

The first recorded private "venture" school opened in 1705 in Colonial America, the first business college opened in Washington in 1886 and Perry Technical Institute opened in 1941, making it the oldest, continuously operating private career college in Washington.

Our Board


Jason Ferguson | President | Heald College | Portland, OR
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Jason Ferguson has over ten years of experience dedicated to postsecondary education. He began his career in 1999 at National University in San Jose, California, where he served as Regional Director of Student Services. In 2002 Jason began his tenure with Heald College. He first served students as Director of Admissions at the Salinas campus and in 2004 was promoted to Campus President. In January 2007 Jason was appointed President of Heald College in Portland, Oregon, where he continues to assist students with achieving their career goals.

Jason holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Utah and a Masters of Business Administration from National University. He lives in Vancouver, Washington with his wife of 16 years and their four children, three boys and a daughter.

Past President

Christine Cote | Past President | Perry Technical Institute | Yakima, WA
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Christine Cote has 25 years of professional experience in career college administration and development. Ms. Cote has served as President of Perry Technical Institute since 2008. She joined Perry’s administrative team in 1997 as Foundation Director and was appointed Vice President of Operations in 2007.

Under her leadership, the school’s enrollment has grown by more than 200 students. She has overseen a major construction project, a campus renovation and led the school through the process of adding three new training programs.

Ms. Cote earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Community Health from Central Washington University. She is an active member of the Yakima community serving as Past President of the Yakima Kiwanis Club, as an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce and as an ASPIRE youth mentor. She serves on the Board of Directors of the South Central Workforce Development Council, and as Vice President of the Northwest Career Colleges Federation.

Past President

Bill King | Vice President | ITT Technical Institute | Spokane, WA
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Bill KingBill King has a career in education, starting in 1970 as a high school teacher and coach in Hayward, California. In 1978, he decided to leave public education and became an admissions representative at Heald College in Oakland, California. Bill served in varying positions in admissions until being named Director of Heald College, Hayward, California in 1986. He has been a director in many educational organizations since that date, serving most recently as Director of ITT Technical Institute, Spokane, since 1997.


Leigh Christopherson | Secretary | Anthem College | Beaverton, Or
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Leigh Christopherson Leigh Christopherson is the Campus President of Anthem College located in Beaverton, Oregon. She has been in her current position since the fall of 2008, where she provides leadership and operational direction to staff, faculty and students.

Leigh began working in post-secondary education in 2001 at Allied Medical College in St. Louis, Missouri. Since that time, she has held numerous training and management positions including Director of Financial Aid, Regional Financial Aid Director, Compliance Specialist, and Campus President.

Leigh holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Syracuse University. Leigh lives in Tigard, Oregon with her husband and two daughters.


Meredyth Given | Regional Vice President of Operations | Corinthian College
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In 1999, Meredyth Given began her career at colleges as an instructor for Seattle Massage School, later to become Everest College. Meredyth has served in numerous roles in her tenure with Everest schools. Most recently she served as President of the Everest College in Everett, Washington. Currently, she is the Regional Vice President of Operations for Corinthian Colleges for the Northwest schools. She has vast experience in every aspect of school operations and remains passionate to her commitment of ensuring students a quality, dynamic education that will provide quick access into their chosen career field.

Meredyth graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Education degree from the University of Illinois.

Director-at-Large Position One - Currently Vacant

Director-at-Large Position Two, Expires 2014

John Paul Johnston | Director | Divers Institute of Technology | Seattle, WA
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John Paul JohnstonDuring his distinguished 30-year career, Mr. Johnston was a member of the Navy's deepest diving team, reaching a depth of 1800 feet at the Navy Experimental Diving Unit in Panama City, Florida and participated in several major diving and salvage projects. Mr. Johnston commanded one of the Navy's largest diving and salvage ships, the USS Edenton (ATS -1). While in command, the USS Edenton conducted the first efforts towards salvaging pieces of the Civil War Ironclad USS Monitor. Additionally, he completed several assignments involving research, development, testing and evaluation of new diving equipment and systems. Mr. Johnston’s educational experience includes teaching navigation, ship handling and composite warfare concepts at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He has served as director of Divers Institute of Technology since 2000.

Director-at-Large Position Three - Currently Vaccant

Director-at-Large Position Four, Expires 2014

Joanna Russell | President | Sumner College | Portland, OR
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Joanna Russell is the President of Sumner College and has worked in the career college sector of higher education for over 12 years, serving in various capacities including admissions, new program development, career services, and academic management. She was responsible for the overall design, construction, and launching of an allied healthcare campus.

Joanna was involved in the development and approval of the first for-profit practical nursing program in the state of Oregon, and was responsible for developing and launching six other healthcare programs including limited x-ray, pharmacy technician, and healthcare administration.

Joanna received her degree from Washington State University and currently serves as a Board Member for the Northwest Career College Federation, and is a member of the Office of Degree Authorization Taskforce.

Director-at-Large Position Five, Expires 2013

Kim Ierien | President | Concorde Career College | Portland, OR
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Kim IerienKim Ierien has held the position of Campus President with Concorde Career College, Portland, Oregon, since September 2009, where her responsibilities include ensuring student and employer satisfaction, human resources, and maintaining compliance with federal, state and accreditation requirements. Prior to being named Campus President, Kim was Director of Career Services for four years and Academic Dean for 10 years. She holds a B.S. in Human Development and an AAS in Radiology Technology.

Director-at-Large Position Six - Currently Vaccant

Director-at-Large Position Seven, Expires 2014

Dion McNeeley | Director | Commercial Driving School | Lakewood, WA
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Dion McNeeley is the School Director at Commercial Driver School (CDS) in Lakewood where he is responsible for all aspects of operations. Dion has over seventeen years of hands on experience in the transportation industry rising to his current position from an entry level position. As a result, his knowledge runs deep and is relevant to all aspects of driver training, safety training, and employment opportunity development.

Dion is a former decorated Marine Sergeant and Veteran of Foreign Wars. Of his many duties outside of combat, he coordinated training and educational requirements for his troops. He has served with the Tumwater Police Department and has worked for several local transportation companies in various capacities and has served on safety committees.

As School Director, Dion also helps state and federal agencies understand how to better serve their clients by helping agency staff understand the diverse job opportunities in the transportation Industry. He achieves this by speaking regularly at WorkSource staff and Veteran staff meetings and at client orientation meetings. His focus at these meetings is to help all concerned develop a clear plan to return to the workforce.

Director-at-Large Position Eight - Currently Vacant

Non Voting Member

Mary Lyn Hammer | Champion College Services | Tempe, AZ
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Ms. Mary Lyn Hammer's belief that education is the vehicle for making dreams come true has led her in a passionate fight, that began in 1987, for identifying problems in the higher education industry and finding solutions to insure future participation for all students. Her innovative "Hands On" Default Management Program is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for its remarkable results. Ms. Hammer is the Owner, Founder, President and CEO of Champion College Solutions, an international company offering default prevention, job placement verification, skip tracing, education debt recovery, and consulting services.

Ms. Hammer has actively worked with the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of Education since 1988. Her many recognized accomplishments include, most recently, the 2005 CCA National Achievement Award for the Allied Member of the Year. She has numerous elections to the Board of Directors and currently serves with Career College Association (CCA), the Northwest Career Colleges Federation (NWCCF) and is the Chairwoman of the Board for the HEAL Coalition (Higher Education Allied Health Leaders Coalition).

Non Voting Member

Emanuel Washington (Manny) | Pearson Learning Solutions | Granada Hills, CA
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Manny Washington has over 16 years of experience in postsecondary education. He began his career in 1997 with McGraw-Hill where he served as the Los Angeles/Central California sales representative. In 2000 Manny became the West Regional Manager and then Senior Regional Manager in 2003 for the Career College Division. In 2012 he began working for Pearson Learning Solutions as their AVP for the Western Region. Manny continues to focus primarily on career colleges and helping them continue to be successful.

Manny holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Santa Barbara and a Masters of Business from the Graziadio School of Business, Pepperdine University. He lives in Granada Hills, California with his wife and their two children.

Executive Director

Gena Wikstrom | Northwest Career Colleges Federation | Redmond, WA
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Gena Wikstrom has served as executive director of the Northwest Career Colleges Federation and its predecessor, the Washington Federation of Private Career School and Colleges, since November 1988.

As executive director, Ms. Wikstrom is responsible for management of the NWCCF, its functions and commitment to serve its members by focusing on the mission of the association. She is accountable to the NWCCF Board of Directors.