Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Portland Delegation Visits Capitol Hill Today

Worksystems will be taking a delegation to Capitol Hill today to visit the offices of Senators Merkley and Wyden, and Representatives Blumenauer and Wu to talk about workforce development. Our message? This is the wrong time to cut federal spending for training and skill development. Here's why:

1. WorkSource Oregon - our system of one stop employment and training centers - has seen a 382% increase in traffic in the past year with no sign of slowing down. Job seekers are accessing critical services at these centers to help them get back to work.

2. The State of Oregon is almost completely reliant on federal resources to fund our workforce system. Funding from the Workforce Investment Act has decreased 21.16% over the last 10 years and this critical piece of legislation expired in 2003 and has yet to be reauthorized.

3. WorkSource Oregon Centers assessed more than 230,000 job seekers and found that 45% had a skills gap in math and 35% in reading. These adults would not qualify for 65% of the job openings in Oregon's economy.

4. Oregon is still struggling with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country with 6 job seekers for every job opening.

The new congress has been vocal in their desire to cut federal spending and the president is scheduled to release his budget one week from today. We cannot afford any cuts in federal spending that jeopardize our efforts to train Oregonians and put them back to work.

Worksystems is in Washington DC this week to attend the National Association of Workforce Boards' annual conference. Please check back throughout the week for additional posts from this conference.

A big thank you to the Oregon Workforce Partnership for compiling these statistics!

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