Happy familySouthern Oregon’s Economy

Oregon’s economy has made sizable gains post-recession, especially in Portland and other urban areas of the state. Yet, Southern Oregon’s economy continues to lag behind as it has for decades. Our once thriving timber industry has dwindled over the last 40 years, resulting in unemployment rates consistently higher than state and national averages. Logging restrictions combined with increased mill mechanization has reduced the number of manufacturing jobs and, consequently, job opportunities. Plus, federal timber payments that have provided relief to the region are expected to come to an end.

Regional Allied Health Medical College is an innovative solution to revitalizing Southern Oregon’s economy

Today, we stand at a crossroads. New economic drivers are sorely needed that provide greater stability and certainty, in addition to family-wage jobs critical to reversing the region’s high poverty levels.

Several years ago community leaders, businesses, economic groups, hospitals and healthcare providers, educators and others began exploring options to diversify and renew the region’s economy. Capitalizing on the strength and vitality of healthcare emerged to the forefront of options. Healthcare has posted consistent gains and job growth in the region, statewide and nationally since the 1990s.

iStock_000066308315_DoubleBuilding a regional allied health medical college to train tomorrow’s healthcare workforce will serve as a new economic engine for Southern Oregon, while helping ensure access to critical care. It will connect individuals, including Southern Oregon’s youth and young families, with family-wage healthcare jobs in the region. Plus, the college will have a net positive impact on retaining and attracting business to the region.