Oregon Workforce Partnership Issues Federal and State Workforce Recommendations

March 23rd, 2020

The Oregon Workforce Partnership (OWP) represents the front-line responders to the looming national unemployment crisis in the state of Oregon.  OWP’s membership services over 100,000 Oregonians in education, job training, employment and upskilling programs, ranging from small non-profit programs and WorkSource Oregon Centers (known nationally as American Job Centers), literacy and vocational training to community colleges.  Our diverse members have significant experience in responding to economic downturns that required new and innovative responses to support Oregon’s employers and workers. 

Our ability to rapidly respond is predicated on the speed of the federal and state government’s release of critical funding and removal of regulatory barriers.  We sincerely appreciate your commitment to supporting Oregon’s dedicated workers and employers, and the workforce system as we organize to support our local communities.

Below are our recommendations for a comprehensive federal response - details behind each recommendation is in the document below.

  1. Dramatically expand Unemployment Insurance funding and extended Unemployment Insurance to support those laid off or unemployed due to business closure or economic decline due to COVID-19.
  2. Provide National Emergency Dislocated Worker Funding or Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Rapid Response funding to rapidly expand online services for the federally funded American Job Center System.
  3. Ensure a coordinated federal response from U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Labor to support employers.
  4. Ensure funding availability/increases and regulatory relief under the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).
  5. Ensure maximum support for displaced and dislocated workers.

Additional recommendations have been made to the Oregon Legislature to better support the needs of low-income, underrepresented job seekers.