Our Story

The Portage Private Industry Council, Inc. (PPIC),  doing business as Portage Learning Centers (PLC),  is a private, not-for-profit, 501 c(3) organization that was incorporated in 1983 to administer the federally funded Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) programs. PLC administered JTPA programs from 1983 through 2000 when the Workforce Investment Act replaced the program.

In 1997 PLC was awarded the State and Federal Head Start programs for Portage County. In 2010, PLC was awarded the Federal Early Head Start program.

At PLC, we are all about providing high-quality, holistic services to the children and families of Portage County, Ohio.

Portage Learning Centers’ Mission

Our mission is to foster the parent’s role as the principal influence on the child’s development through comprehensive services and community resource partnerships.

Head Start

Head Start, About Portage Learning Centers, About, Lady Bird Johnson, Head Start

Lady Bird Johnson reads to children in a photograph from the 1960s. She was an advocate of the Head Start program, which was founded by Jule Sugarman in 1965.

Head Start is a federal program that promotes children ages birth to 5 by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development. Head Start programs provide comprehensive services to enrolled children and their families. These services include health, nutrition, social services, and other services determined to be necessary by family needs assessments, in addition to education and cognitive development services.


Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

PLC is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Provider and does not discriminate based on race, creed, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, genetic information, religion, age, disability, military status, political affiliation, or beliefs in employment or the provision of services.

PLC reserves the right to expel or refuse to accept for further enrollment a child who we believe poses a threat to other children’s well-being and/or is abusive to staff.


We believe that each child is a unique individual, an individual of worth. We provide support and experiences that help children strive toward their potential. We expect children to explore and test their environment. Children develop and progress at their own pace. Children with special needs are integrated into the program at their level.

A child’s unique ideas of thought, creativity, and problem-solving are encouraged. Children’s age-level characteristics and developmental abilities are included in all activities.

Program Goals

Our goal is to provide families with a quality learning program, which promotes children’s school readiness. We strive to achieve this goal by providing a learning environment that supports children’s growth in language, literacy, math, science, social and emotional skills, the arts, physical skills, and play and approaches to learning.

We provide children with a learning environment that helps them develop self-control, independence, and an understanding of the world around them. Our goal is to engage parents to be the best educators of their children by providing parent and family engagement activities grounded in positive, ongoing, and goal-oriented relationships.


about, Suzanne Livengood, Portage Learning Centersabout, Karen JohnsonExecutive Director – Suzanne Livengood
Head Start Director – Karen Johnson

Michelle Cooley, Portage Learning Centers, AboutGerald Kline, Portage Learning CentersDirector of Education – Michelle Cooley
Director of Fiscal Operations – Gerald Kline

Kim Vojtkofsky, about, Portage Learning Centersabout, Jessica Sabin, Portage Learning CentersDirector of Support Service – Kim Vojtkofksy
Director of Family Engagement – Jessica Sabin

Jennifer Rock, about, Portage Learning CentersLisa Carwithen, Portage Learning Centers, aboutHealth Coordinator – Jennifer Rock
Early Head Start Home-Based Supervisor  – Lisa Carwithen

Jennifer Justus, about, Portage Learning CentersRegistered Nurse – Jennifer Justus

Shari Farmer, about, Portage Learning CentersSpecial Services Coordinator (not pictured) – Kimberly Snyder
Transportation Coordinator – Shari Farmer

Board of Trustees

Executive Committee

Pam Danner, Chairwoman and Program Planning Chairwoman

Glenda Enders, Vice Chairwoman

Alan Balog, Treasurer and Finance Chairman

Dr. James Tinnin

Rebecca Gorczyca, Secretary, R&D Chairwoman and Strategic Planning Chairwoman

Board Members

Mark Hettinger

Joanne Maynard

Pamela Nation Calhoun

Penny Neiswanger

Rhonda Richardson

Marilyn Sessions

Rebecca Cranston

Julie Burkhart

Cody Mazanek

Patricia Restaine

Bethany Latimer

Barbara Helmling

Legal Counsel: Jonathan P. Jennings


About, Portage Learning Centers

Policy Council Meeting in February 2020

PLC Head Start Policy Council is about a link to Parent Committees, Portage Learning Centers, public and private organizations, and the community.  They help by regularly attending Parent Committee meetings, giving oral and written reports of meetings and conferences attended, and upon request, represent the agency at meetings.

Parent Representatives

Karese Ryan

Ashley Solvey

Andrea Stevens

Taylor Stewart

Jennifer Robinson

Community Representatives

Trevena Kaminski

Amanda Weatherford

Jamie Foster

If you would like to learn more about the positions listed above and be considered as a Board of Directors or Policy Council member, please contact Suzanne Livengood at our main office.