(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.