Workforce and Training Strategies
Oregon’s postsecondary education and workforce development partners help state residents obtain and succeed in family wage jobs while meeting employers’ needs for a skilled workforce. The Higher Education Coordinating Commission works with the Governor, the Legislature, and partner agencies and boards to lead strategies, funds, and programming for a variety of initiatives focused on employment opportunities, skill attainment, and work-related training for Oregonians.
Our Strategic Focus
With the completion of the HECC Strategic Roadmap for Postsecondary Education and Training, HECC is focusing our efforts on creating and supporting a continuum of education and training pathways for Oregonians from education and training to career, including apprenticeships, career credentials, and college degrees. The Oregon Workforce Talent and Development Board (WTDB), staffed by the Office of Workforce Investments (OWI), is the overall advisory board to the Governor on workforce matters, including developing a strategic plan for Oregon's Workforce Development System. The WTDB Strategic Plan has established strategies to advance Oregon through meaningful work, training, and education by empowering people and employers.
- Future Ready Oregon: Future Ready Oregon, is a comprehensive $200M investment package approved in the 2022 Legislative Session that supports the education and training Oregonians need for family-wage careers, prioritizing underserved communities.
- Recent Investments in Youth Employment Initiatives: For the first time in HECC history, state general fund investments were made in youth employment initiatives. The 2021 Legislature funded the Oregon Youth Employment Program at $9 million in state general funds, and adopted HB 2092, ensuring equity is at the center of the Oregon Youth Employment Program. Funding was also provided through SB 553 and for the creation of the Oregon Conservation Corps program, which engages youth and young adults in workforce training and work experience opportunities that aid in wildfire mitigation and the creation of fire-adapted communities.
- Supporting dislocated workers impacted by the pandemic: The HECC continues its extensive work to mitigate challenges for workers and employers impacted by COVID-19. The HECC-OWI works with Oregon’s nine local workforce development boards, the Oregon Employment Department, other partner agencies, employers, and community-based organizations to coordinate Rapid Response services supporting affected workers and businesses during reported layoffs. In particular, the HECC-OWI received and implemented, through the local workforce development boards, two pandemic-specific federal discretionary grants totaling $6 million that are intended to support dislocated workers.
- Reports on Workforce Trends: The WTDB in partnership with HECC publishes the Oregon Talent Assessment and numerous other research reports related to the pandemic and workforce impacts. The HECC has also recently published reports related to the needs of adult learners and more.
- Other grant supported initiatives: The HECC-OWI received and is implementing federal grants to bolster support of dislocated workers who were impacted by the 2020 wildfire disasters and to expand registered apprenticeship opportunities.
HECC Workforce Programs
The dollars used to invest in Oregon’s workforce system primarily come from federal and state sources, most often through grant processes.
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programming:
The HECC is the administrative entity for several federally funded workforce and education programs, including those authorized by Titles I and II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The HECC and Oregon’s community colleges and public universities collaborate on this effort through legislation, research, and campus level initiatives. The HECC administers these funds through sub-granting and contract management with local workforce development boards and other partners. These funds support Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs (Title I of WIOA), Youth Workforce Programs (Title I of WIOA), and Adult Education and Family Literacy Act Programs (Title II of WIOA), among other activities.
Oregon Youth Works
The HECC Office of Workforce Investments also administers numerous youth workforce programs under the umbrella of Oregon Youth Works, including: Oregon Youth Corps (OYC), Oregon Conservation Corps, Oregon Youth Employment Program, Department of Human Services (DHS) Youth Employment Program, and the Oregon WIOA Youth Programs.
The HECC-OWI supports two citizen advisory groups that provide oversight for several of these programs – the Oregon Youth Corps Advisory Board and the Oregon Conservation Corps Advisory Committee.
OregonServes (officially recognized as the State Service Commission for Oregon) was created in 1994 to provide Oregonians with a statewide entity to focus service and volunteer efforts, to enhance the ethic of service and voluntarism in the state and provide funds for state-based AmeriCorps programs. As a state commission, OregonServes’ role is to promote and elevate service, volunteerism and civic engagement in Oregon Communities.
The HECC is a core partner in Oregon Apprenticeship, a cross-agency effort working to connect Oregonians to Registered Apprenticeships. The HECC-OWI administers federal discretionary apprenticeship grants in close partnership with the Bureau of Labor and Industries’ Apprenticeship and Training Division.