One Small Step for Legislature;
One Big Step for Our Oregonian Workforce

Oregon took a giant leap toward a more equitable future, especially for the underprivileged sector, when Gov. Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 1545, the “Future Ready Oregon”  initiative. Governor Brown was joined by legislators, business owners, educators, and community leaders at Intel’s Hillsboro, Oregon, campus to celebrate the law’s signing, which is the culmination of years of work by a diverse coalition of stakeholders from across the state.

What is Future Ready Oregon?

Future Ready Oregon is a $200 million investment into the education and training of Oregonians to secure “good-paying” careers in Oregon’s industries. Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 1545, known as “Future Ready Oregon,” in April of 2022. “Approaching workforce development with an equity lens really is the heart and soul of this legislation,” said Gov. Brown. “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 childcare 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.” “The legislature’s support for, and approval of, Future Ready Oregon is another example of Oregon’s collective commitment to creating an ecosystem of opportunity for all Oregonians,” Mark Mitsui, President of Portland Community College and a member of the Racial Justice Council’s Workforce Workgroup said. “This legislation will echo across geography, and across generations.” Oregon Workforce Partnership, an Association of Oregon’s nine local workforce boards says, “In particular, Future Ready Oregon 2022 will advance opportunities for historically underserved communities, including adult learners, dislocated workers, and disconnected youth.“

What Does This Mean for Benton, Lincoln, Tillamook, Clatsop, and Columbia Counties?
Northwest Oregon Works is receiving over $850,000 to provide career coaching, occupational training, and job placement services for low-income job seekers most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This money will provide wrap-around supports to pay for child care, transportation, rental assistance, and other necessities to help people train up or re-train in industries located in our own community. Paid work experiences, stipends, and income supports will be offered as incentives for job seekers to transition into these jobs.

Community Colleges On Board with Future Ready Oregon
“Future Ready Oregon” includes a sizable investment in statewide community college Career Pathways programs such as those in Portland Community CollegeTillamook Bay Community CollegeClatsop Community CollegeLinn-Benton Community College, or Oregon Coast Community College which allow students to quickly become job-ready.

Future Ready Oregon will allow Oregonians a connection to living wages in high need sectors and Mitsui pointed out that this legislation “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.” “This 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.”

How Will I Know About Funding Opportunities in My Area?
Funding opportunities for businesses or community-based organizations will be posted online on Northwest Oregon Works’ website. If you would like to be alerted when Requests for Proposals are announced, please sign up here to be added to our newsletter.