In 2015, the Lane County Sector Strategy Team brought the local technology industry together to discuss opportunities for expansion and to identify issues that inhibit the growth and/or stability of the industry in Lane County.  As a result, Lane Workforce Partnership invested in the creation of a local Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) chapter to represent the Southern Willamette Valley.  TAO has been busy over the last five years tackling the issues brought to light at the initial industry convening.  Their main initiatives include:

  1. Creating Business Driven Computer Science Curriculum in Local Colleges
  2. Improving Quality of K-12 Education (Lane ESD website)
  3. Increasing Internet Speed in Downtown Eugene (October 9, 2016 Register Guard Article)
  4. Improving Eugene/Springfield Downtown Image & Safety (Downtown Eugene Inc. website)
  5. Improving Air Travel Options In and Out of the Region (Eugene Airport website)
  6. Branding and Marketing Lane County (Travel Lane County website)

Why focus on Tech?  Here’s why…

Lane County is home to over 503 tech companies, with 62 successful new tech companies launched locally in the last five years, which employs over 3,800 bringing over $304 million dollars in wages to the area.  The industry’s local average annual wage is $79,667 – nearly double the average Lane County wage of $44,492.  Employment growth at local tech companies is expected to be 23% over the next 10 years (2017 – 2027) compared to 11% for all industries.  This makes tech the highest paying and fastest growing industry in Eugene.  In order for Lane County to keep pace with the industry’s demand for skilled workers, the workforce development and education community recognized that it would have to work together to strengthen the local talent pipeline.  Workforce development, education and economic development also realized that supporting this vital industry overall was an opportunity to grow the local economy and the area’s high-wage jobs.

Cara Snow, Interim Tech Sector Leader, 404.558.2716