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OR workforce grows, but gaps should be addressed

A new report analyzes the workforce dynamics in Oregon and how the state can address gaps for workers and industries.

The 2024 Talent Assessment finds that Oregon’s economy is in a strong position, with significant growth in the labor market and more growth anticipated in the future.

Christiana McFarland is director of the Center for Innovation Strategy and Policy with SRI, the firm that conducted the assessment.

She said some factors could be barriers to achieving that future growth.

“We know that jobs are projected to grow, but we know that the population and population growth is relatively stagnant,” said McFarland. “So, that’s going to be a challenge into the future - particularly for occupations and industries that have a high demand for workers in the state, particularly health care and child care.”

The assessment was conducted for the Workforce and Talent Development Board and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission for the State of Oregon.

The report offers industry-level recommendations.

McFarland said employees in the healthcare field need more on-the-job training. Same with semiconductor manufacturing, which is ramping up in Oregon.

McFarland said this work is closely related to IT work, and that’s important to keep in mind so people in the state are well positioned for these jobs.

“It’s critical for semiconducting manufacturing programs,” said McFarland, “to include coding and programming as the core part of their curriculum.”

McFarland said Rural Oregon could be another asset for the state when considering how it closes employment gaps in semiconductor manufacturing and other industries.

“Where are workers coming from?” said McFarland. “Whether it’s a matter of attracting talent from out of the state or thinking about who is underserved within the state, namely rural communities, and how can rural communities and rural students better understand the opportunities that are available to them within the state?”

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

 

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