Oregon Governor Kate Brown signs ‘Future Ready Oregon’ into law
Photos and Story by Abe Proctor
Oregon took a big step toward a more equitable future today when Gov. Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 1545 – the “Future Ready Oregon” initiative – into law. The governor was joined by an assortment of legislators and business, educational, labor, and community leaders at Intel’s Hillsboro campus to celebrate the signing of the law, which is the culmination of years of work by a diverse coalition of stakeholders from across the state.
“Future Ready Oregon” is a $200 million investment in a slate of training programs, education, and support services designed to help working people transition to gainful, living-wage careers and to ensure a more equitable workplace for Oregonians from traditionally underserved backgrounds.
“Approaching workforce development with an equity lens really is the heart and soul of this legislation,” said Gov. Brown. “That means identifying barriers to career advancement for underserved communities, providing support services to help individuals overcome those barriers, and viewing those supports—such as child care access, or broadband—as critical infrastructure. ‘Future Ready Oregon’ will open the doors of opportunity to those who have too often been left behind, including people of color, women, veterans, rural Oregonians, and people with low incomes.”
“Future Ready Oregon” includes a sizable investment in statewide community college Career Pathways programs – like that at Portland Community College – which allow students to quickly become job-ready.
“Future Ready Oregon will connect hard-working Oregonians with living -wage careers through career pathways that bridge skills gaps for employers and equity gaps for marginalized communities, in high-need sectors,” said PCC President Mark Mitsui. “Future Ready Oregon is about making opportunity as universal as the talent around us so that no matter where you were born, no matter what zip code you have, you have the opportunity to earn a better life through education and training.”
Mitsui, a member of the governor’s Racial Justice Council, worked to develop the initiative and to ensure its passage through the Legislature.
“The legislature’s support for, and approval of, Future Ready Oregon is another example of Oregon’s collective commitment to creating an ecosystem of opportunity for all Oregonians,” Mitsui said. “This legislation will echo across geography, and across generations.”
To learn more about Career Pathways at PCC, visit https://www.pcc.edu/career-pathways/.