Oregon business, community and elected leaders will meet to discuss state economic challenges and opportunities on Monday, Dec. 6.
The annual Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit will take place both in-person at the Oregon Convention Center and remotely because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is hosted by the nonpartisan Oregon Business Council in partnership with other business organizations, including the Oregon Business & Industry advocacy organization.
"We are at an inflection point and can take steps that result in years of steady growth," said council President Duncan Wyse. "This year's summit will focus on manufacturing opportunities and the need for workforce training for the jobs that will be available in the coming decade."
Among those scheduled to participate are Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, Oregon U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Higher Education Coordinating Commission Executive Director Ben Cannon, Portland Community College President Mark Mitsui, and Jaime Arredondo, an advocate for Oregon's Latinx families and farmworkers.
The goal is to discuss and agree on an updated statewide plan for furthering Oregon's recovery from the pandemic and building towards greater future economic growth. Specific issues to be discussed include how federal pandemic stimulus funds can boost the state and the need for training for workers whose jobs are eliminated by economic changes.
According to a report to be presented at the summit, the state's manufacturing sector stands to benefit from such federal legislation as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Biden on Nov. 15 and the Build Back Better Act approved by the U.S. House and pending before the U.S. Senate. Merkley and Wyden will be interviewed about those and other congressional priorities.
"The Condition of Oregon's Manufacturing Report" was prepared by the ECONorthwest economic consulting firm for the summit. It found the manufacturing sector contributes $23 billion per year to the state's gross domestic product and employs 214,000 Oregonians, including a higher share of Black, indigenous and people of color than other sectors. The report also found that full-time manufacturing workers earn 17% more than other workers. A mere 10% increase in manufacturing output would support an additional 66,000 jobs and generate $800 million more in annual state and federal government revenue.
Oregon high-tech businesses such as Intel also stand to benefit from the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. It would provide $52 billion in incentives for domestic computer chip research, development and manufacturing. Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO, will deliver the keynote address.
Wyse said some obstacles exist to taking full advantage of such opportunities, however. They include a shortage of development-ready industrial land, a lack of skilled workers and increasing state and local taxes on businesses.
"We believe the best source of government revenue is a strong and healthy economy. Taxes increase cost and hurt competitiveness," Wyse said.
According to its website, the Oregon Business Plan was launched in 2002 as an ongoing collaborative effort between the state's business community, elected leaders and other key stakeholders to achieve greater economic growth and prosperity across all of Oregon's regions. It has four long-range goals: adding 25,000 net new jobs per year; raising per capita income above the national average; reducing the percentage of Oregonians living in poverty to less than 10%; and increasing economic mobility and shared prosperity across Oregon's diverse communities and geography.
Each version of the plan has been presented and discussed at annual summits. Priorities have including improving graduation rates and the appeal of well-paying jobs that do not require college degrees. The process has continued through recessions and recoveries, and was forced into an online series of online conversions about recovering from the pandemic in 2020.
Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit
Where: Oregon Convention Center
When: Monday, Dec. 6, 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
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