Awareness of maritime workforce needs is rising in Oregon. In a recent letter from Workforce and Talent Development Board (WTDB) Chair, Ken Madden to Governor Kate Brown, Madden underscored the desperate need Oregon has to meet demands for education and training infrastructure in the maritime sector, a sector previously not included in the WTDB’s Unified Plan for a Statewide Workforce Investment System.

In the letter, Madden expressed WTDB’s support of efforts that:

  • Recruit and train Oregon’s future maritime workforce for skilled, living-wage jobs;
  • Meet workforce need of maritime sector employers;
  • Partner on talent development with linked industry; and
  • Encourage and recommend funding to fill the infrastructure and training needs of the maritime sector.

The letter of recognition followed a presentation to the full WTDB by Maritime Sector Workforce Development Task Force members in March of 2019. Commissioner Doug Hunt of Lincoln County chairs the task force. At the March meeting, the task force presented “Oregon’s Maritime Workforce Sector Report.” The WTDB adopted the task force’s definition of maritime sector outlined in the report as a part of the Unified Plan. “The maritime sector provides family wage jobs to Oregonians and is key to rural and coastal economies, and in today’s tight job market, the maritime sector, like most industries, needs resources to prepare future generations for jobs of this critical economic driver in our communities,” said Hunt of the report. “The work of WTDB to incorporate maritime sector into the Unified Plan means great strides for Oregonians and helps us get the resources needed for the industry and our communities to thrive.”

The Legislature, in the final weeks before the Constitutional close of session is continuing to sort through budgets. Allocations and clarity should be made on workforce training related funding in the foreseeable future.

Additional Background:

In 2017, the Legislature passed SB 867, which created a task force on Maritime Sector Workforce Development. The task force was directed to study and develop description of maritime sector and maritime sector workforce in Oregon and develop recommendations for State Workforce Investment Board – now the Workforce and Talent Development Board – to incorporate consideration of maritime sector into statewide workforce investment system plan. The task force was an Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) County Solutions project. To learn more about County Solutions, click here.

Contributed by: Megan Chuinard | Public Affairs Associate