(Salem, OR) — Yesterday the House passed SB 1545, known as “Future Ready Oregon.” It is now headed to the Governor’s desk for signature.
One of Governor Kate Brown’s top initiatives this session, Future Ready Oregon is a comprehensive $200 million package of investments to give people the education, training, and resources they need to get into good-paying careers.
“I want to thank the Legislature for passing Future Ready Oregon,” said Governor Brown. “And a special thank you to the Racial Justice Council, as well as our business community, and the working Oregonians who shared their stories during the legislative process. Now, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work to build a skilled and diverse workforce.”
Crafted with input from the Governor’s Racial Justice Council, the package will particularly focus on opportunities for historically underserved communities, including adult learners, dislocated workers, people of color, women, people with low incomes, rural communities, and disconnected youth.
Duncan Wyse, President of Oregon Business Council said, “This is a game changing investment, and it couldn’t be better timed. With the COVID crisis easing, Oregonians are looking for new job opportunities that require new skills. This opens a pathway to more rewarding, better paid jobs, and it makes Oregon more competitive in the bargain.”
Aimed at realizing the full potential of Oregon’s workforce and meeting the needs of Oregon’s employers today and into the future, Future Ready Oregon 2022 advances Oregon’s economic competitiveness and ensures equitable opportunities for a diverse workforce.
Marin Areolla III, President of Advanced Economic Solutions and Co-Chair of the Racial Justice Council’s Workforce Workgroup said, “Future Ready Oregon will help address the barriers to workforce participation that have kept working Oregonians— particularly BIPOC and other underserved working Oregonians— from accessing the skills and opportunities they need to reach their full potential in their careers. This historical bill will change our workforce system for the better and create an equitable economy that works for everyone!”
The effort to pass Future Ready Oregon saw a vast coalition of diverse stakeholders working alongside the Governor’s Office and Oregon’s Racial Justice Council, from business leaders, to working Oregonians, to community-based organizations and educational institutions, to labor organizations and nonprofit service providers.
Kelly Kupack, Executive Director of Oregon Tradeswomen, and member of the Racial Justice Committee’s Workforce Workgroup said, “Future Ready Oregon is a blueprint for the change Oregon needs. We deeply appreciate Governor Brown, the members of Oregon’s Racial Justice Council, and the members of the workforce workgroup for coming together to craft a policy that is centered in equity. Together, we now have an opportunity to collectively build an inclusive, just economy in Oregon that works for everyone – so that all workers can support themselves and their families.”
The package particularly focuses on connecting Oregon’s workers with good paying career paths in technology, manufacturing, and healthcare.
Patsy Richards, Director of Long-Term CareWorks and Co-Chair of the Racial Justice Council’s Workforce Workgroup said, “This initiative provides the roadmap for Oregonians, especially BIPOC Oregonians, to get access to family-wage careers in healthcare and beyond.”
SB 1545 makes strategic and targeted investments in three broad categories:
- Increased investments to existing programs with proven track records of success,
- Establishing new competitive Workforce Readiness Grants for new and innovative education and training opportunities, and
- Providing direct financial benefits to individuals to remove barriers to accessing opportunities.
Mark Mitsui, President of Portland Community College, who served on the Racial Justice Council’s Workforce Workgroup said, “As we write our next chapter as a state, Future Ready Oregon will help education providers meet Oregon’s workforce— including students— where they are at, and advance a more equitable prosperity across our state.