During the short legislative session in February, the Oregon House and Senate passed a historic package to invest in workforce development. The Governor’s Future Ready Oregon bill will invest in local workforce development boards, community colleges, apprenticeship programs, and Community Based Organizations to support people with education, training, and resources they need to get into good-paying jobs.

The Future Ready package was developed by a sub-committee of the Governor’s Racial Justice Council and there is a strong emphasis to serve people of color, rural communities, and people who have experienced generational poverty in innovative and new ways. Kim Parker-Llerenas served on the sub-committee that developed the proposal and said “It was an honor and privilege to participate in these discussions. This investment in individuals and workforce development is a once in a generational opportunity. I am excited to explore new partnerships and develop different opportunities to serve businesses and individuals in the mid-valley.”

Marin Arreola III, president of Advanced Economic Solutions and co-chair of the Racial Justice Council stated “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. Future Ready Oregon will change our workforce system for the better and create an equitable economy that works for everyone!”
The full package passed by the legislature is just short of $200M. Some of those funds will come to workforce development boards through a formula, some through a competitive process, community colleges will receive funds as will Community-Based Organizations. It is expected that Willamette Workforce Partnership will receive over $5M additional dollars to serve the community.

Strategic Innovation Grant Award

Willamette Workforce Partnership (WWP) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded $200,000 from the Oregon Higher Education Coordination Commission’s competitive Strategic Innovation Grant fund!

WWP’s Youth Wage Grant program will provide wage subsidies to employers with fewer than 35 employees in Linn, Marion, Polk, and Yamhill Counties. These subsidies will help youth between the ages of 14 and 17 obtain first-time employment.

The Youth Wage Grant program was successfully piloted in Marion County in the summer of 2021 and has been operating in Linn County for several years. WWP is scaling this program so that all small employers in our region are able to participate. The program will focus on the accommodation and food service, retail trades, arts, entertainment, and recreation industries.
Successful implementation of this program will result in small employers filling jobs with first-time youth workers and receiving wage support to do this. It will also give youth a first-time work experience and an opportunity to learn essential workplace skills.
Dean Craig, WWP’s business services director will lead this project with assistance from Suzie Gibson, business engagement manager, and Trina Horsey, office coordinator.
The program is slated to begin this month and will continue until June 30, 2023. If you have questions about WWP’s Youth Wage Grant program, please contact Dean Craig at [email protected].