Lane Workforce Partnership, Southwestern Oregon Workforce Investment Board, Northwest Oregon Works, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, and the Oregon Coast Visitors Association Secure Department of Labor Grant to Elevate Coastal Hospitality Sector

October 11, 2023

Lane Workforce Partnership (LWP), in collaboration with Southwestern Oregon Workforce Investment Board (SOWIB), Northwest Oregon Works (NOW), Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA), and the Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA) is proud to announce their successful joint application for a Department of Labor Critical Jobs Sector Planning Grant, totaling $446,786. This grant represents a significant step towards addressing the unique workforce needs of the Oregon coast’s vital hospitality sector, which is projected to generate nearly 40,000 jobs by 2031.

Critical to the programmatic goals of this partnership are the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association and the Oregon Coast Visitors Association. These two organizations have extensive networks within the coastal hospitality industry, along with significant institutional experience that forms a strong foundation for the sector partnership. ORLA and OCVA are pivotal in facilitating partnerships within the tourism-driven hospitality sector, and they will serve as primary collaborators for aggregating travel data and identifying industry trends. Moreover, they will leverage their extensive networks to enhance business engagement in our surveys and outreach initiatives aimed at bolstering the hospitality industry.

“The Critical Jobs Sector Planning Grants will enable recipients to create and expand partnerships to develop training programs to provide the workforce needed in high-demand industries,” noted Brent Parton, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training.

The coastal hospitality sector plays a pivotal role in the lives and livelihoods of Oregon coast residents. However, despite its crucial importance to the region’s economic prosperity, there currently lacks an industry sector partnership dedicated to effectively gathering, evaluating, and supporting both workers and businesses within this sector. Recognizing this gap, LWP, SOWIB, NOW, ORLA, and OCVA have come together to launch an initiative that will lay the foundation for a sustainable Coastal Hospitality Industry Sector. A key element in ensuring the success of this initiative is partnering with local stakeholders, essential partners, and industry experts.

Initial steps will involve the joint procurement of a Sector Strategist through collaboration with hospitality industry associations. Over the grant period, the Sector Strategist, alongside our partners, will embark on the following initiatives:

  • Build a cross-regional support team, commencing with employer convenings;
  • Define the scope of the Oregon coast hospitality industry;
  • Facilitate industry-wide listening sessions and conduct comprehensive surveys;
  • Undertake a workforce study to gain insights into career progression opportunities, accessibility to low-barrier jobs, and pathways for acquiring stackable credentials that bolster advancement prospects and high pay scales; and
  • Develop an occupational career pathways report.

This initiative will specifically benefit a diverse range of demographics, including residents of rural communities, unemployed and underemployed adults, youth, immigrants, communities of color, and returning citizens. This collaboration will prioritize inclusivity and address the unique challenges faced by these groups while promoting equitable access to opportunities.

“We are excited to embark on this critical initiative, which will not only enhance the Oregon coast hospitality sector but also create avenues for economic opportunity for individuals and communities throughout the region,” stated Ashley Espinoza, Executive Director of Lane Workforce Partnership. “This grant represents an investment in the future of our coastal economies and underscores our commitment to fostering sustainable growth.”

Click here for further information about the grant, including a full list of recipients.