Power Oregon strives to meet Oregon’s workforce needs by making the State an internationally recognized center for engineering research and training. Interviews with numerous academic and business leaders reveal a serious shortage of investment in engineering talent to support Oregon’s plans for economic expansion. The problem is compounded by the finding that Oregon universities do not have the capacity to graduate an engineering workforce sufficient to meet the workforce shortfall. These problems are a microcosm of a national problem.
Power Oregon supports initiatives that utilize a collaborative approach to leverage existing resources, eliminate redundant educational investments, and evolve the educational paradigm for engineering in Oregon. With appropriate governance, and sustained funding, Power Oregon believes that this approach will revolutionize teaching methods, ensure built-in accountability, provide experiential learning, and create close collaboration between universities and industry, while providing measured ROI outcomes.
A first priority for addressing these needs will be to identify and allocate long-term funding for initiatives like the Oregon Power Engineering Educational Project (OPEEP). Programs like OPEEP serve as a replication model for coordinated, focused, and adequately funded policies that strive to provide leadership for meeting engineering shortfall problems. With OPEEP now in place, Oregon has an opportunity to establish a framework for collaborative unification of the three existing engineering programs in the state. This approach opens up the possibility for educational reform and public/private governance.