Oregon Talent Council Sponsor Spotlight
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Thank you to our bronze sponsor of 2017, Oregon Talent Council. This post is the first part of a series highlighting OMEP’s fantastic sponsor companies and organizations.

Representative Title: Melissa Leoni, Executive Director

What is your favorite part about your job at Oregon Talent Council?

My favorite part of my job is working collaboratively with industry, education, workforce and economic development partners on innovative solutions to Oregon’s talent needs and gaps. The Talent Council is in the unique position to be focused on what can be done, to try new approaches and learn whether they work so that successful models can be shared and scaled across the state.

What are some of the biggest challenges you see manufacturers facing in 2017?

From the talent perspective, the challenges in 2017 aren’t new. We have gaps in the number of Oregonians interested in and appropriately prepared with the skills needed by manufacturing. Changing technology continues to cause skill gaps across occupations for both existing and new workers. Education often has limited ability to quickly adapt for new occupations or skill sets and few resources are dedicated to improving current worker skills.


How can Oregon Talent Council help manufacturers meet those challenges?

The Council is focused on making Oregonians the first and best choice for Oregon employers and making sure that industry’s voice continues to be heard on these issues. One key need is to develop short-term, rapidly deployed training models to address these challenges, especially for current workers. The Council hopes to be able to share best practices and possibly seed such training in partnership with manufacturers over the next year.

Why do you believe manufacturing is important to Oregon?

Manufacturing is one of the Talent Council’s five priority industry sectors because it needs talent to grow and thrive across the state. Our 2015 Talent Plan identifies the following reasons manufacturing is so important to Oregon:

  • During the first quarter of 2015, manufacturing employed 180,719 workers in 5,868 establishments across the state of Oregon.
  • In 2014, manufacturing produced $17.8 billion worth of export goods – 85% of all Oregon exports.
  • The state’s Advanced Manufacturing sector is projected to grow 19% by 2022 (+16,900 jobs.)

If you could give a manufacturer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Let’s work together to figure out how to increase opportunities for Oregonians in manufacturing today, including increasing the use of internship programs to engage high school and college students, and mentorship or apprenticeship programs to upgrade and upskill current workers.

What types of services or capabilities can you offer Oregon manufacturers?

The Oregon Talent Council partners with industry to identify and verify talent needs, finds and invests in innovative, high-impact training and education models, shares and scales what works, and works to influence the policies and allocation of resources to embed successful models in education and industry.

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