Governor Kate Brown on Tuesday ceremonially signed Senate Bill 1545, also known as ‘Future Ready Oregon’, at Intel’s Hillsboro campus.
The $200 million package will go towards education and training to help Oregonians in their careers in key industries across the state.
“Approaching workforce development with an equity lens really is the heart and soul of this legislation,” Brown said. “That means identifying barriers to career advancement for underserved communities, providing support services to help individuals overcome those barriers, and viewing those supports—such as child care access, or broadband—as critical infrastructure.
“Future Ready Oregon will open the doors of opportunity to those who have too often been left behind, including people of color, women, veterans, rural Oregonians, and people with low incomes.”
Patsy Richards, Director of Long-Term CareWorks and Co-Chair of the Racial Justice Council’s Workforce Workgroup said, the bill shines a much-needed light on the workforce.
“I’m grateful to be a part of a group of collaborative stakeholders that will not only embrace continued accountability but also highlight Oregon’s evolution to right-size our workforce development systems,” she said.
The mix of General funds and ARPA funds will go towards the following specific purposes:
- Leveraging Existing Successes ($92.5M) — Expanding investments in programs that are successfully providing career-connected learning opportunities for historically underserved communities, including local workforce boards ($35M), community college career pathways programs ($17M), registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs ($20M), credit for prior learning ($10M), and youth workforce readiness and reengagement initiatives ($10.5M).- Competitive
- Workforce Readiness Grants ($95M) — Providing individuals, organizations, and service providers resources and supports to remove barriers and improve access to the workforce system, and connecting key populations to job training, employment, and career advancement opportunities through:
-Direct financial benefits to individuals, including stipends for earn-and-learn models and funds to pay for education, training, and wraparound services (e.g., tuition, fees, supplies, transportation, housing, and childcare);
Resources for workforce service providers to develop education and training Pathways, including culturally and linguistically appropriate credential pathways, career-connected learning opportunities, physical infrastructure, supplies, and technology; and opportunities to build organizational capacity, including investing in staffing, organizational and structural processes, planning, and other administrative expenses
- Benefits Navigators Pilot Program ($10M) — Providing local workforce boards with the opportunity to apply for Benefits Navigators, to be located at one-stop WorkSource Centers or community-based organizations.
- Industry Consortia Pilots ($1M) — Investing in consortia for key industry sectors (healthcare, manufacturing, and technology), which will be co-led by a representative from the business community and a relevant community-based organization, and that will make investment recommendations to policy makers.
- Assessment, Accountability, and Continuous Improvement ($1.5M) — An investment to ensure that the criteria for funding all activities serve the priority populations identified in the Future Ready Oregon proposal.
Marin Areolla III, President of Advanced Economic Solutions and Co-Chair of the Racial Justice Council’s Workforce Workgroup said the bill would address barriers in the workforce, particularly for “BIPOC, rural and other vulnerable workers.”
“It will also allow businesses, community based organizations, public agencies, and other partners to collaborate to transform and reinvent Oregon’s workforce system with an equity lens that incorporates culturally and linguistically appropriate practices, respect, trust, transparency, high quality services, effective communication, and innovation at all levels,” she added.
Mark Mitsui, President of Portland Community College and a member of the Racial Justice Council’s Workforce Workgroup said the funding would help address skill gaps in the workforce.
“Future Ready Oregon will connect hard-working Oregonians with living wage careers through career pathways that bridge skills gaps for employers and equity gaps for marginalized communities, in high need sectors,” he said. “Future Ready Oregon is about making opportunity as universal as the talent around us so that no matter where you were born, no matter what zip code you have, you have the opportunity to earn a better life through education and training.”
Anne Mersereau, Vice President of HR, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Portland General Electric and the Chair of the Oregon Workforce Talent and Development Board said, “The Future Ready Oregon Bill represents an important investment in our future workforce and will create the necessary pathways needed for all Oregonians to have the education, skills and training needed to enter into emerging careers across the state.
“We believe the transition to the clean energy future must be equitable and inclusive. SB 1545 will help remove barriers for under-represented communities looking to enter the workforce and provide living wage job opportunities all while building a skilled talent pool to ensure a vibrant Oregon.”
Jeff Birdsall, Vice President Technology Development, Intel said, “Future Ready Oregon will help people get the skills and training needed for careers at the forefront of Oregon’s technology industry.
“In alignment with Intel’s RISE 2030 goals, workforce investments help individuals get a foothold in the labor market, increase economic mobility, and build strong communities.
“Future Ready Oregon will extend our partnerships and help create the workforce Oregon needs for sustainable growth of its technology and manufacturing sectors.”