Transforming Oregon's Workforce System

Prosperity based on innovative people and companies

A healthy Oregon economy and local prosperity requires two fundamental ingredients, quality job opportunities and skilled workers. Comprising more than a dozen programs in multiple state agencies, the Oregon Workforce Development System supports those fundamental pieces by maximizing the potential of both businesses and workers. 

Yet, for too long the state has focused on specific programs instead of the common outcomes Oregonians strive for. Transformation of the system is needed to respond to a changing economy, support continued innovation, eliminate fragmentation and provide greater flexibility to local communities

In December 2011, Governor Kitzhaber initiated this transformation with three goals in mind:
•  Oregonians have the skills needed to fill current and emerging high-wage, high-demand jobs.
•  Businesses have the skilled workforce to support future growth.
•  An aligned workforce system provides integrated services and makes the most efficient possible
   use of resources.

Designing a New System 

In June 2012, the Oregon Workforce Investment Board, (OWIB) adopted a 10-year plan, Oregon at Work. Today, the three state agencies that administer large workforce programs are working together with the OWIB, the Governor’s Office and the Department of Administrative Services to better align and integrate the workforce system to deliver on the Governor’s charge. View the 10-year plan here.

In June 2013, Governor Kitzhaber issued an executive order directing the re-chartering of state and local workforce investment boards. In addition, the executive order directs state agencies with workforce development programs to work together and develop a plan to better align state services in support of the re-chartered boards. View the executive order here.

Staff recommendations 

Through additional research and substantial stakeholder feedback on staff and other’s recommendations, the work group developed 15 recommendations to improve services to the workforce system’s customers––job seekers and businesses.

These recommendations are largely focused on structural changes needed to support a more flexible and responsive workforce system.  They are intended to address findings that the current system suffers from a lack of clear governance, effective communication, shared vision, strategies for best serving those who are chronically unemployed and underemployed, and clearly understood roles and responsibilities.  The resulting inefficiencies reduce resources (including staff time) for services to system customers and investments into new products and services that better address the changing labor market.

These recommendations were presented to the Oregon Workforce Investment Board (OWIB) in November 2013.

The Governor's Office, Office of the COO, and workforce agencies will continue to implement the recommendations with the goal of having the majority of the work complete by the 2015 legislative session.

Workforce Redesign Work Group Recommendations.pdf

Reviewing local workforce program boundaries

Under the Workforce Investment Act, the Governor has the power to designate Local Workforce Investment Areas; however, the OWIB may make recommendations about the designation of Local Workforce Investment Areas. (ORS 660.324(4)(b)). The adopted recommendations included the possibility of redrawing boundaries.

LWIA Boundary Realignment.pdf 



If you have questions about the Workforce System Redesign, please contact Nathan Rix, Strategic Initiatives Project Manager in the Office of the COO, or Agnes Balassa, Governor's Workforce Policy Advisor.



Workforce transformation one-pager

OWIB 10-year plan

Workforce Redesign Work Group Recommendations.pdf