Governor Kitzhaber unveils Jobs Agenda
May 17, 2011
Thanks for coming. I’m joined today by Tom Chamberlain with AFL-CIO,
Duncan Wyse with the Oregon Business Council, Jay Clemens with Associated Oregon Industries, Sandy McDonough with the Portland Business Association, Angi Dilkes with the Oregon Business Association, and Tamara Scott, an Oregonian who recently completed the National Career Readiness Certificate Program.
You all have seen today’s employment report: Unemployment has dropped a full percentage point in six months, and Oregon is out of double-digit unemployment for the first time since December 2008.
Since January, more than 16,000 jobs have been created in Oregon, and we have the 7th fastest job growth in the nation.
These numbers make it clear that we’re on our way up…
Oregon’s economic recovery is underway…and while it will take time...it is clear from the latest revenue forecasts and job growth in five of the last six months that the private sector is investing in equipment, people and plants – the key to getting Oregonians back to work in good, family-wage jobs.
Here’s what else we’ve seen since January that shows Oregon’s recovery is really underway:
Standard and Poor’s boosted Oregon’s credit rating to AA+, thanks, in part, to our fiscally-sound budget proposal.
We passed Senate Bill 301, the “federal reconnect” bill, allowing Oregon companies to accelerate depreciation on large-equipment purchases to free up capital to invest in the short term.
We took a major step forward on the Columbia River Crossing and the 20,000 new jobs its construction and long-term improvements will create.
Companies like Solopower, U.S. Geothermal, Facebook, Shimadzu, and Vigor Industrial have announced new Oregon plants, acquisitions, jobs, and capital investment.
And since helping launch the National Career Readiness Certificate in Oregon earlier this year, I’m pleased to announce nearly 2,500 Oregonians have earned certification – The program is a terrific success preparing and connecting out-of-work Oregonians with high-demand jobs. Tamara will speak more to that in a moment.
Oregon is a small Business State, we assist small businesses – through our economic development agency, Business Oregon – by connecting businesses to export markets, linking firms to supply chains for larger companies, providing innovative research at Oregon’s universities and helping access capital necessary to create jobs and grow their businesses.
In February, Business Oregon launched The “Oregon Advantage” web portal – accessible from my web site – illustrating the numerous competitive advantages Oregon offers companies worldwide. The website houses a comprehensive list of business-friendly resources available at various levels of government and offers a way for businesses to connect with experts in their local area regarding their business needs.
I’ve had the pleasure to meet with business leaders across the State on my “Rebuild Oregon Tour.” From Pendleton to Bend to Medford, I’ve been able to hear directly from local business owners, creating an open dialogue and changing the tone at the top.
We can and must do more. We have an opportunity this legislative session to build on our strong start creating family wage jobs, attracting new investment and revitalizing hard hit communities.
Throughout the session, I’ve been working closely with legislators on a range of policy and budget priorities to continue to improve Oregon’s business climate, and I’m happy to be joined by business and labor leaders today in urging the legislature to pass my Jobs and Economy Agenda to get Oregonians back to work.
Oregon is a great place to do business, with a continued focus on education and training, supporting proven job creation strategies and investing in innovation, we will build a prosperous future for Oregon.
My Jobs and Economy Agenda includes 15 policy and budget priorities, including:
Funding the Oregon Innovation Council, the Credit Enhancement Fund and the Strategic Reserve Fund;
Boosting economic activity in rural communities by engaging in local forest collaboratives and supporting Oregon’s emerging biomass energy industry;
Passing Senate Bill 766 to speed permitting on significant industrial areas;
Passing House Bill 2960, the “Cool Schools Initiative” to upgrade inefficient school buildings;
Funding targeted tax incentives for film and video production and clean energy that attract significant private investment and new jobs.
Transforming education and health care delivery in Oregon are also absolutely essential to our long term economic recovery; essential to building the workforce of the 21st century; essential to raising our per capita income back above the national average – in short, essential to a prosperous and sustainable future.
Now I would like to introduce Tamara Scott, who earned a National Career Readiness Certificate, and then found a job after looking for work for over a year.