The Cambia Health Foundation has awarded a grant to the SOU Foundation to support an SOU behavioral health micro-credential program

SOU awarded Cambia Health grant for behavioral health program

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Southern Oregon University Foundation is among seven higher education organizations in the West to receive grant funding from the Portland-based Cambia Health Foundation to increase diversity among students in health care programs and to expand outreach to potential health care students in underrepresented communities.

The Cambia Health Foundation is providing a two-year, $50,000 grant to the SOU Foundation for the “Southern Oregon Mental and Behavioral Health Pathways Initiative,” which will support training and increase the diversity of school and health care providers who offer behavioral supports for students.

About $35,000 will be used for scholarship assistance to paraprofessionals who complete professional development workshops at SOU as a first step toward the university’s “Foundations of School Mental and Behavioral Health” micro-credential. About $10,000 will be used to develop and teach additional workshops in the micro-credential program and about $5,000 will pay for marketing and communications expenses. Any unused portion of the course development or support money will revert to scholarship use.

“This micro-credential program represents an exciting new area of collaboration between SOU and our local K-12 and community partners,” said John King, director for education, health and leadership at SOU. “Together, we are pooling resources and expertise to train both current and new employees to better support the behavioral health needs of students throughout southern Oregon.”

The Cambia Health Foundation is donating a total of $320,000 to help fund seven higher education initiatives – through the SOU Foundation, University of Idaho Foundation, University of Utah Foundation, Utah Valley University Foundation, University of Washington Foundation, Eastern Washington University Foundation and Oregon Health & Science University in combination with Portland State University.

Cambia Health Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Cambia Health Solutions, a nonprofit health care company and the parent of various other companies including Regence, a member of the Northwest’s Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The foundation has funded more than $80 million in grants since 2007.

The current round of health equity grants are intended to help diversify the health care workforce and increase patient satisfaction, access to care and responsiveness to underserved populations.

“This regional health care workforce diversity initiative looks to break down the barriers of entry and completion of post-secondary health care education programs for minority and underrepresented students,” said Peggy Maguire, the president of Cambia Health Foundation. “Ultimately, our goal is to foster a diverse workforce that is culturally and linguistically representative of the communities it serves, to improve access to and quality of care while advancing health equity.”

SOU’s Foundations of School Mental and Behavioral Health micro-credential program is aimed at pre-kindergarten through high school teachers, classroom assistants and classified staff. The program, offered collaboratively with local K-12 school districts and community mental health agencies, prepares students to provide behavioral health assistance in a culturally appropriate and trauma-informed manner.


Accelerated program allows students to earn bachelor's degree and MBA in four years

SOU offers new, accelerated option for bachelor’s degree plus MBA

(Ashland, Ore.) — The SOU School of Business has launched a new, accelerated option for its MBA program that will enable eligible students to earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration in as little as four years, and save time and money on their educational pathway.

“This is an opportunity for high-achieving undergraduate students to fast-track their academic experiences and get a head start on their careers,” said Rene Ordonez, coordinator of SOU’s graduate programs in business. “Participants will graduate and enter the workforce as holders of full bachelor’s degrees and MBAs.”

The Accelerated MBA program offers a “3+1” option for students participating in SOU’s existing, three-year undergraduate programs – the Accelerated Baccalaureate (AccBacc)  or the Jackson/Josephine Pledge (JackJo). Students with “superior” GPA or standardized test scores are eligible for the Accelerated Baccalaureate program, and the JackJo Pledge program is available for graduates from Jackson or Josephine county high schools who meet other specific academic requirements.

Students from those programs can choose the “3+1” option to earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in four years, taking some graduate-level elective courses during their first three years and finishing SOU’s Evening MBA program with required, core classes during a fourth year.

They will reduce their time in school and take advantage of lower tuition by taking some graduate-level classes as undergrads, potentially saving as much as $20,000.

The new, accelerated program also offers an option for students in traditional, four-year undergraduate programs who are earning at least a 3.0 GPA by the start of their senior year. Students choosing the “4+1” option will complete bachelor’s degree requirements and simultaneously begin MBA coursework during their fourth year, then will finish the remaining core classes for their MBA during a fifth year.

Participants choosing either the “3+1” or the “4+1” option will also benefit academically from being part of a professional cohort, and may also qualify for financial aid.

“It is imperative for the student to work closely with his/her undergraduate faculty advisor and the MBA program advisor during their participation in the program in order to optimize the financial and completion-time benefits accorded by the program,” Ordonez said.

Those seeking more information on the Accelerated MBA program should contact Ordonez at or (541) 552-6720, or MBA coordinator Douglas Daley, Jr., at or (541) 552-8113.


Most fall term classes at SOU will begin remotely

SOU shifts for fall term to combat COVID variant

SOU President Linda Schott announced in a webinar with employees last week (recording here) and in subsequent messages to students and employees that the university has changed course due to an ongoing surge of the COVID-19 delta variant and most classes will now be conducted remotely for at least the first few weeks of fall term.

“We will begin fall term with primarily remote classes and plan to return to a largely in-person experience on Oct. 11 or soon thereafter,” the president said in her message to employees. “This change in direction was made after consulting with local and state health officials, and an epidemiologist at OHSU. They all asked us to avoid the potential for further strain on our area’s healthcare systems, which may happen if we brought students and employees back to classrooms and buildings without strict controls in place.”

The delta variant has pushed regional hospitals to their limits – their combined ICU load was at 94 percent of capacity as of last week, and the surge of COVID patients was interfering with their ability to provide more routine medical care.

President Schott told campus that the university ”must enact and enforce health protocols that promote public health” as the worldwide pandemic moves toward its two-year mark. The delay in in-person classes and activities is intended to help ensure the safety of students and employees, and to allow more time for all members of the SOU community to become fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccination will be required for employees who must work on campus to fulfill their job responsibilities or who wish to participate in in-person activities. Unvaccinated employees will go through a Human Resources-led process to assess circumstances, duties and responsibilities, operational needs and reasonable accommodation.

Students who are vaccinated will be eligible for in-person classes after SOU shifts back to in-person operations; those who are unvaccinated but have exemptions or accommodations approved through the Dean of Students Office may also attend in-person, but with restrictions that could include testing, social distancing or face coverings. Unvaccinated students without approved exemptions or accommodations will not be eligible for in-person classes or activities, and should work with their student success coordinators or faculty advisors to find appropriate online or remote options.

Face coverings will be required for students, employees and campus visitors at all indoor and outdoor public spaces, as Gov. Kate Brown mandated when delta variant cases surged in the state this summer.

“By reinforcing these health protocols, we hope to quickly get as close as possible to being a ‘fully vaccinated’ campus,” President Schott said.

She reminded employees to fill out their required attestation forms and for students to complete their required forms by Sept. 7 or as soon as possible.

Classes will be remote until early October, but the SOU campus will remain open with safety precautions in place. Some campus activities such as sporting events and artistic performances will continue before the university returns to broad in-person operations, but all who attend must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 48 hours of the event. Face coverings are also required.

Phoenix Ramirez won the ASSOU presidential election

ASSOU election produces 2021-22 leadership team

Ballots in the ASSOU spring election were counted Monday night and the slate of officers for the 2021-22 academic year will be headed by Phoenix Ramirez as student body president and Gabrielle Slyfield as vice president.

The student leaders – including eight newly elected senators – will be sworn in June 8.

Ramirez, a theatre major with a minor in esports management, has held several leadership roles in his three years as an SOU student. He has been a Raider Welcome Team leader, recognition chair for National Residence Hall Honorary, a mentor for the Bridge program and the ASSOU Clubs and Organizations Senator.

He said that he sought the presidency to help ensure that the SOU community remains welcoming to all students when the university returns to on-campus learning in the fall.

Slyfield, his running mate, transferred to SOU last fall to study psychology and will be a senior next year. She previously lived in the San Francisco area and has taken on roles at her previous schools including being a diversity representative, the head of student-staff relations on leadership and heading fundraisers for the institution and charities. She has also served as a caregiver and is currently a toddler teacher at a local school.

She said that she wants to be a vice president who other students can relate to as they juggle school, classes, jobs and their own mental health.

ASSOU senate positions that were decided in this month’s election were:

Academic Advocacy Senator is Keeley Reiners, a current freshman who is majoring in outdoor adventure leadership and minoring in sociology and anthropology. She is currently ASSOU’s administrative director.

Clubs and Organizations Senator is Mindy Welsh, a junior in the elementary education program. She has served for the past year as ASSOU’s non-traditional senator, then vice speaker and then speaker for spring term.

Non-Traditional Senator is Franklin Paul Jeffers, who earned certifications in welding and fabrication and in drafting technology from Lane Community College before, transferring to SOU. He completed an Associate of Arts in General Studies Degree from Central Oregon Community College. The honors Franklin has had on campus at SOU include being on the President’s and the Provost’s list, and being a scholar in the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program.

Recreation, Outdoor and Athletic Programs Senator is Mia Santander, currently a sophomore majoring in health and physical education. She is a midfielder/forward on the SOU women’s soccer team and was named to the 2020 Academic All-Cascade Conference team.

Accessibility Senator is Brenda Ledezma.

Campus Life & Housing Senator is Jay Santos.

Gender Equity and Sexual Diversity Senator is Lenora Owens.

Multicultural Affairs Senator is Pascal-Jumeaus Brassuer.

Goldwater Scholarship recipient Sarah Emsley

SOU student awarded prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

(Ashland, Ore.) — Sarah Emsley, a Southern Oregon University junior majoring in life sciences, is one of 410 recipients nationwide of the 2021 Goldwater Scholarship – a prestigious U.S. award that recognizes the research work of undergraduates in math, science and engineering.

Goldwater Scholars each receive as much as $7,500 annually for tuition, fees and room-and-board, along with national recognition for their undergraduate research. Emsley has been involved in multiple research projects at SOU, including a recent capstone in microbiology that examined the effects of dietary curcumin on the gut microbiome of fruit flies.

Biology faculty member Patrick Videau suggested last fall that Emsley should apply for the Goldwater Scholarship and – despite misgivings – she eventually agreed to undertake the rigorous, months-long process.

“Up until that point I had not thought myself a competitive enough candidate to attempt to apply for a scholarship at that level,” Emsley said. “The only other scholarship I had ever received or competed for was from my previous employer, and was designed to help me return to school.

“Throughout the application process for the Goldwater, I remained reserved in my expectations of receiving such a prestigious award. I screamed when I got the congratulatory email.”

She has since been awarded two more scholarships for next year – the Cora Styles Memorial Scholarship for $1,300 and the Osher Reentry Scholarship for $5,000.

Emsley, 29, was born in Connecticut, grew up in Sacramento as part of a career-oriented family and was working as an emergency medical technician in Medford – where she owns a townhome – when she restarted her academic career in 2019 as a part-time SOU student seeking to finish her bachelor’s degree. She now expects to graduate in June 2022 with her degree in biology and a minor in chemistry, then will move on to a doctoral program in immunology.

Her previous career as an EMT pointed her toward the study of life sciences, and her coursework and research at SOU have uncovered a career path in translational medical research – working to improve treatment and vaccine options in the fight against infectious diseases.

“The most remarkable thing about my experience at SOU is the overwhelming support by the (faculty members) in both the biology and chemistry departments,” she said. “They have gone above and beyond the call of duty to nourish my scientific explorations and invest in my personal success.

“The hands-on lab experience, opportunities to engage in academic research and one-on-one interactions are the most valuable experiences I have had, and I suspect they’re unique to SOU.”

Emsley is the first Goldwater Scholarship recipient at SOU since 2007, and one of seven this year from the state of Oregon – joining one each from Reed College and the University of Oregon, and four from Oregon State University. A total of 1,256 students from 438 colleges and universities were nominated for this year’s scholarships – no school may nominate more than four students.

“This is great recognition for SOU’s natural science programs, and their commitment to undergraduate research,” said Susan Walsh, SOU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Sarah has worked closely with our faculty on several notable research projects, and we are very proud of her achievements.”

Videau, who has mentored Emsley along with fellow biology faculty member Brie Paddock and chemistry faculty member Mark Koyack, said he is confident that she will achieve her lofty career goals.

“Sarah is an absolute joy to have in the classroom and research lab,” he said. “She approaches her work with a measured precision and thorough attention to detail that allow her to connect the dots between concepts, classes and hands-on scientific endeavors.”

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which typically awards 260 scholarships per year, partnered with the Department of Defense National Defense Education Programs and expanded the program by 150 scholarships this year to maintain America’s “global competitiveness and security,” according to the foundation’s website.

The application process for the Goldwater Scholarships prompts students to demonstrate their commitment to research and tighten their focus on career goals – skills they will need when applying to graduate schools and for subsequent research scholarships.

“Sarah is a great student who worked closely with Dr. Videau on research projects this past summer and fall,” said Sherry Ettlich, director of SOU’s STEM Division. “We look forward to all she has yet to accomplish in the coming year before graduating and moving on to graduate school.”

Emsley said she hopes the Goldwater Scholarship will help separate her from the competition as she heads into the application cycle this fall for graduate school programs the following year at various research universities.

“I expect that being awarded the Goldwater Scholarship will not only ensure greater financial stability during my final year at SOU, but also open doors of opportunity for my future,” she said.

The Goldwater foundation is a federally endowed agency that was created in 1986. Its scholarship program “was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics,” according to its website. “The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.”


SOU's Schneider Museum offers virtual exhibition

The Schneider Museum of Art’s new virtual exhibit Celebrating Wild Beauty presented online

The Schneider Museum of Art’s latest exhibition, “Celebrating Wild Beauty,” is being showcased online through the web-based virtual art gallery service Artsteps and the Museum’s website.

“‘Celebrating Wild Beauty’ would have opened our May 30 fundraising Gala,” said Scott Malbaurn, director of the Schneider Museum. “Due to COVID-19, we had to cancel the Gala. As it became clear that we would not be able to present the exhibition in-person, like many we pivoted and began working on a virtual gallery and online catalog.”

Malbaurn curated the exhibition, which recognizes the 20th anniversary of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The monument was created to maintain biodiversity and safeguard endangered species in 2000.

The exhibition highlights artists who have directly worked in the monument or drew inspiration from it and similar wild spaces in the Pacific Northwest – including Isabella Thorndike Church, Grayson Cox, Dot Fisher-Smith, Malia Jensen, Chris Russell, Rick Silva and Mark Tribe. The online gallery launched earlier this month.

“The artists … have a diverse practice and they each have a different sensibility and perspective that I thought would make a unique exhibition,” Malbaurn said.

The exhibition includes paintings, videos, drawings, photographs and an installation. With COVID-19 shutting down the museum, Malbaurn and art preparator Jason Hayes had to shift their plans for showcasing the exhibition. They settled on Artsteps, a web-based application that allows anyone to create a virtual, 3D art gallery. Artists, organizations and enthusiasts can model actual or virtual exhibitions by designing realistic three-dimensional spaces.

“The benefit is that anyone, anywhere, with an internet connection can have a view of the exhibition,” Malbaurn said. “Although it will never be as impressive or important as in-person viewing.”

One piece that is limited by the move to Artstep is Isabella Thorndike Church’s installation, “RECAPTURE.” Photos of the piece can be seen through the Artsteps gallery, but that doesn’t compare to seeing an installation in-person. To that end, Church installed “RECAPTURE” in a storefront at 25 E. Main St., in Ashland, to allow for safe viewing of her work.

Other pieces have thrived in the transition to an online exhibition. Pieces by Mark Tribe, Rick Silva and Malia Jensen are all on HD video. The personalized nature of digital galleries allows viewers to watch a piece start-to-finish, or jump around in the video’s timeline to see specific parts. Malbaurn sees the future of museums and exhibitions being at least somewhat digital.

“Museums definitely prefer to be open,” he said. “During COVID-19, digital exhibitions will allow spaces to stay active and somewhat connected. As COVID-19 passes, museums may continue to use some of these new tools such as Zoom talks or digital curator walk-throughs, which is great for those who cannot travel.”

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

New hires bring energy to SOU Computer Science Department

SOU Computer Science Department gets new hires

Southern Oregon University’s Computer Science Department received a big boost this year with the hiring of two new professors – including a new department chair who will bring an international perspective to the program.

Daniel DeFreez and Fabrizzio Alphonsus Alves de Melo Nunes Soares joined the SOU Computer Science Department for fall term, with Soares transitioning from work and life in Brazil to a new experience as head of the SOU department.

“I am very excited about (computer science) in almost everything,” Soares said. “But I am very passionate about programming courses. I love to see a student smile when they realize that they can solve a problem. That makes my day.”

Soares worked as a professor of computer science, information systems and software engineering at Universidade Federal de Goiás in Goiânia, Brazil.

His research interests include computer vision, human-computer interaction, machine learning and programming topics. He is the leader of the Pixellab group, which develops solutions for accessibility, precision agriculture and interactive systems.

“Federal universities are free (in Brazil),” Soares said. “Therefore, to enroll in a major program at the university, students are submitted to a vast selection process, which only the students with the best grades under the cap get a seat.

“This looks good in some ways because we generally have outstanding students,” he said. “However, it is terrible, because in a country with such large social differences, students from lower classes have less access to good schools, and less chance to get good enough grades to access public universities.”

Being mindful of social models, and the ways in which people are disadvantaged by them, is one of Soares’ focuses. He worked on Project Braille Écran, a system to help blind and low-vision people use touch-screen smart phones. It proposed a number of solutions, including a screen protector with braille indents.

“(Braille Écran) is one of the most motivating research projects in which I worked,” Soares said. “Because if I can help a few blind people, even a single one, I think my work will be worth it.”

That kind of mindfulness is what drew Soares to SOU.

“In the past, I used to look at advertisements for professor positions to see what universities abroad required to hire a new faculty member,” he said. “I confess that many times I was very disappointed that the universities used to advertise positions based on numbers – the number of papers published, the number of projects, the number of grants, etc. It looks like they were not hiring a human being.

“When I saw the SOU position advertised, I read it slowly, and surprisingly, the advertising said that SOU was looking for a professor who teaches, cares about students, is concerned about diversity, and so forth – so here I am!”

Soares succeeded Peter Nordquist as the department head in computer science following Nordquist’s retirement.

“I think my plan (for the department) for the short-term is to understand the U.S. culture and educational system, SOU, the (computer science) department and the community, and to start to build a participative strategic plan,” Soares said. “In the medium-term, construct changes that can reflect our new team and local community and regional industry needs.”

Joining Soares on the computer science team this academic year is DeFreez – an SOU alumnus who received his master’s degree in mathematics and computer science in 2012. He received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Oregon and his doctorate in computer science from the University of California, Davis.

“Being an SOU student was a life-changing experience for me – that’s why I came back,” DeFreez said. “SOU is a special place with a real sense of community. Some of my longest-lasting professional and personal relationships were formed while I was a student here.”

His thesis, “Android Privacy Through Encryption,” proposed a way to modify a Linux/Android disk encryption software called eCryptfs to better protect a phone’s disk memory from hackers and investigators.

“There are a wide range of scenarios, from the dissident hiding from a dictatorial regime to the prying eyes of a stalker, where the successful use of forensic techniques may inflict grave injustice upon the owner of the object of analysis,” DeFreez said in his thesis. “In the face of untoward forensic inquiry, a person has little recourse other than to prevent forensic techniques from succeeding in the first place.”

DeFreez taught in the past as an adjunct at SOU, but this is his first year as an assistant professor and full-time faculty member. He is especially excited about teaching Programming Languages, which focuses on the interplay between the languages we use to speak to computers. He’s also looking forward to a spring term elective on software security.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

Deadline to apply for scholarships is approaching

Deadlines approaching to apply for millions in scholarships

SOU students seeking private and state-funded scholarships for the 2020-21 academic year must apply by March 2 with Oregon’s Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC). Students who fill out the application at may be awarded from a yearly pool of over $112 million.

There is no cost to apply for as many as 40 of the 600 privately-funded scholarships available at OSAC – though most require the applying student to be an Oregon resident. The Office of Student Access and Completion is part of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

Applying requires the completion of either the 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Oregon Student Aid Application (ORSAA), which is used in determining eligibility for the Oregon Promise, the Oregon Opportunity Grant and numerous scholarships.

SOU students may also apply for need- and merit-based scholarships through the Southern Online Scholarship Application (SOSA). The deadline for the SOSA is March 15.

For more information on OSAC, SOSA, and other financial aid options, SOU students may contact SOU’s Financial Aid Office in the Stevenson Union, or through the university’s financial aid website.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

John Francis to speak at SOU

Planetwalker and environmentalist John Francis speaks at SOU

Planetwalker, environmentalist, author, motivational speaker and Southern Oregon University alumnus John Francis will return to SOU on Thursday, Feb. 20, to share what he learned during several years without motorized transportation or verbal communication.

Francis’ lecture will be at 6 p.m. in the Stevenson Union’s Rogue River Room. The event is free, with a suggested donation of two non-perishable food items. Food donations and a silent auction will support the SOU Student Food Pantry and SOU’s efforts in the Governor’s State Employee Food Drive.

Francis had an epiphany when he witnessed a 1971 oil spill in San Francisco Bay. He felt partially responsible for the spill even as he helped scrub the beaches, birds and sea life, and he made a deeper commitment. He decided to stop using motorized vehicles and walk everywhere he needed to go.

Several months later, frustrated at the outrage that his decision to walk triggered among others, he took a vow of silence.

His non-motorized lifestyle lasted 22 years, and his silence lasted 17. During that time, Francis walked across the United States and South America, and throughout the Caribbean. He earned a bachelor’s degree at SOU (then Southern Oregon State College), a master’s degree in environmental studies at the University of Montana and a doctorate in land resources at the University of Wisconsin.

After Francis began using motorized vehicles again, he started speaking and consulting with a variety of audiences around the world. He helped the travel and tourism industry with environmental issues, served as an ethical advisor to civilian and military humanitarian operations, and encouraged diversity in traditional conservation and environmental organizations.

He spoke at the 2008 TED Conference in Monterey, California, and returned to SOU in 2012 to speak about his experiences and receive the university’s Distinguished Alumnus Award for the year.

Francis is currently an education fellow with the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., which has published his two books, “Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence,” and “The Ragged Edge of Silence: Finding Peace in a Noisy World.”

He is also a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin, where he is a member of the board at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

His lecture this month is sponsored by SOU’s Multicultural Resource Center, Sustainability Council, Black Student Union, Environmental Science and Policy Program, and the School of Business.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

SOU-HECC-adult educational attainment

Oregon approves new adult educational attainment goal

(Salem, Ore.) – A new educational attainment goal for adult, working-age Oregonians has been announced by Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

The goal – specifically targeted to meet current and projected job opportunities – was developed by the HECC in partnership with the state’s Workforce and Talent Development Board. It aims to expand the number of degrees, certificates or credentials earned by adult Oregon residents by 2030 to 300,000 – a 50 percent increase over the 200,000 that are already projected.

“This goal will galvanize our statewide efforts to prepare Oregon working-age adults to take advantage of projected growth in family-wage jobs, to be resilient when the economy changes, and to ensure that our work is laser-focused on reducing attainment gaps for those who do not have equal opportunity today,” said Ben Cannon, the HECC’s executive director.

The adult educational goal is intended to foster economic mobility, supporting Oregonians in preparing for family-wage jobs of the future. The goal also recognizes a need to reduce attainment gaps for underserved populations through broad, inclusive approaches to skills and talent development.

The goal culminates a work group process that began nearly a year ago, following the passage of House Bill 2311 – which directed the HECC and WTDB to establish a statewide educational attainment goal for adult Oregonians. The workgroup was chaired by Neil Bryant, chair of the HECC, and by Ken Madden, chair of the WTDB. It also included representatives from Oregon’s public and private institutions, along with workforce and business partners.

“This is not just a postsecondary education system goal―this is a goal that will touch every community and every family in this state,” Bryant said. “Thanks to the Oregon Legislature, and the rigorous work of the workgroup and statewide experts, Oregon now has a meaningful, applicable goal for the postsecondary success of working adults.

“We thank all who contributed, and we look forward to moving forward to make this goal a reality.”

The new goal, approved at the HECC’s Nov. 8 public meeting, states:

“Oregon anticipates more than 120,000 additional jobs requiring post-secondary training or education between now and 2030. In order to meet this need, 300,000 additional adult Oregonians should earn a new degree, certificate or credential valued in the workforce during that time. Because Oregon has substantial attainment gaps among minority, low income and rural Oregonians, the state will also commit to reducing those attainment gaps by half during the decade.”

The most recent projections from the Oregon Employment Department show that over the next decade (2017-2027), more than 90 percent of job openings that pay more than $40,000 per year will require postsecondary education. The new adult attainment goal, in conjunction with Oregon’s 40-40-20 educational attainment goal for Oregon youth in the educational pipeline, is intended to guide progress in Oregon’s educational and workforce systems.