Lane County Sector Strategy Team

Sector Leaders

The Lane County Sector Strategy Team (LCSST) uses the nationally recognized model of Next Generation Sector Partnerships. This model brings together private business with partners from local government, education, organized labor, economic development, and community-based organizations.

Sector Strategies are business led partnerships primarily funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). These funds are workforce investments for talent development, job creation, and business competitiveness. We use local labor market data and analysis to inform our work and to identify the regional industries essential to our local economy and to respond to the ever-changing needs of industry and its workforce. In Lane County, our identified industry sectors are: Technology, Food and Beverage Manufacturing, Construction-Aggregate, and Wood Products.

Goals of the Lane County Sector Strategy Team:

  • Elevate Business Voice
  • Articulate Workforce Needs
  • Inform Investments
  • Regional Collaboration
  • Youth Support


Why focus on Tech?  Here’s why…

Since 2015 we have focused on the Tech sector in Lane County.  The tech sector in Lane County includes roughly 542 firms in industries like software publishing, data processing services, and electronic manufacturing. Together, these firms employed 3,625 workers in 2020 and contributed over $292 million in covered payroll. The industry’s local average annual wage is $80,645 – nearly double the average Lane County wage of $45,199.  Employment growth at local tech companies is expected to be 19% between 2019 and 2029 compared to 8% for all industries.  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.

Current Initiatives Include:

  • Talent Retention: Experience Oregon Tech
  • Tech Community Building
  • Advocacy
  • Events including the Big Mix, Hack for a Cause, and TAD Talks.

Want to learn more? 

Tech Sector Strategist: Sally Bell

Why focus on Food and Beverage?  Here’s why…

We have focused on Food and Beverage Manufacturing sector in Lane County Since 2017.  Lane County is home to over 167 food and beverage companies, which employs 3,825 people, bringing over $198 million dollars in wages to the area.  Going forward, the sector is expected to add 418 additional jobs by 2029 for an 11% growth rate, compared to 8% for all industries.  In addition, there are expected to be 4,999 replacement openings equaling 5,417 total openings over the 10-year period.  In 2019, the Lane County average annual wage in the Food and Beverage Sector was $51,887 compared to $45,199 for all industries. Educational requirements for the Food and Beverage Sector are relatively low. 13 out of the 15 of the largest occupations require a high school diploma or less, yet employers in the industry report having difficulty hiring and keeping workers.

Current Initiatives Include:

  • Product and Value Promotion
  • Knowledge and Resource Share
  • Collaborative Development Projects
  • Events including Quarterly Food Business Unpacked, Eugene Food Startup Weekend, and Hiring/Job Fairs

Want to learn more? 

Food and Beverage Sector Strategist: Micah Elconin

Why focus on Construction-Aggregate?  Here’s why…

Since 2016 we have focused on the Construction-Aggregate sector. The Construction-Aggregate sector employs over 8,082 people in Lane County and is expected to grow faster than the overall economy at 12% between 2019 and 2029 for 1,001 new jobs, compared to 8% for all industries.  In addition, there are expected to be 9,233 replacement openings for a total of 10,234 openings over the ten-year period.  With above average growth, employment in the sector reaches pre-recession levels, which peaked in 2007 at 8,380, towards the end of the forecast period. Annual average wages in construction and aggregate are higher than the overall average for all industries at $58,219 compared to $45,199.  Lane County’s total payroll in construction and aggregate was $470,523,613 the fourth highest county in the state.  Even though wages are higher on average than for all industries, most occupations in construction and aggregate require only a high school diploma or less for the typical entry level position.

Current Initiatives Include:

Want to learn more?

Construction-Aggregate Sector Strategist: Lyle Lang

Why focus on Wood Products?  Here’s why…

We have focused on Wood Products sector in Lane County since 2018. When we first launched, we focused narrowly on advanced wood products manufacturing.  After extension conversations with leaders in this sector, we pivoted to expand our definition to capture a broader list of activities that include logging and forestry companies and manufacturers of products that use wood as an input (paper, furniture, etc.). Lane County is home to over 200 wood products manufacturing companies, employing over 5,000 people and bringing over $352 million dollars in wages to the area, the most of any county in Oregon. The industry’s annual average wage of $59,722 is slightly higher than the annual average Lane County wage of $45,199. Wood products has played a key role in Lane County’s economy for generations, and through the application of innovative technologies, continues to be an important economic sector today. Developing, recruiting, and retaining people needed to run their everyday operations is a significant challenge for their industry sector.  Despite the advancements in safety, technology, and automation, the sector as a whole is challenged by the antiquated public perception of what it is like to work in this industry. 

Current Initiatives Include:

  • Industry Education; advanced technology, safe work environment, and job diversification
  • Community Pride and Awareness
  • Youth Education in Partnership with Forest Today and Forever
  • Advocacy for Policy and Licensing Alignment
  • Events Including Manufacturing Day, Oregon Logging Conference, and Hiring/Job Fairs

Want to learn more? 

Why focus on the Creative Sector?  Here’s why…

In 2019, modeled after the established identified industry sector initiatives of Technology, Food and Beverage Manufacturing, Wood Products, and Construction- Aggregate, an initiative was launched in partnership with Lane Arts Council and ArtCity focused on the Creative Sector here in Lane County. The Creative Sector Strategy works with artist entrepreneurs and creatives of all disciplines, including visual, performing and literary artists. The nonprofit arts sector in the City of Eugene is a $62 million industry producing 2,400 jobs (Arts & Economic Prosperity 5). Creatives are essential to developing thriving town centers and supporting the growth of local commerce. Employers are seeking creative thinkers to think outside the box and build innovative solutions to address problems in our community and world. Creativity is one of the top skills that employers are looking for in 2020 (World Economic Forum, 2020). There are thousands of artist entrepreneurs in our county and hundreds of businesses that rely on creatives to support their business goals. Creativity is the seed of innovation and is essential to high wage and high demand industries that rely on creative thinkers to build solutions to business and community problems. Many industries including design, branding, media, city planning, manufacturing, and architecture, rely on the skills, knowledge, and innovative thinking of artists.

Current Initiatives Include:

  • Build a community and network of artists across creative disciplines
  • Raise up the perception and value of local arts in our community
  • Improve income and opportunities for local artists
  • Promote professional development for local artists and stronger arts businesses
  • Collect data on the arts sector
  • Events include: Artist Feedback Sessions, Arts Media Campaign

Lane County Artist Feedback Session and Survey Report

Want to learn more? 

Creative Sector Champions:

                                John Baumann                                                                           Mitra Gruwell