Lane County Sector Strategy Team

The Lane County Sector Strategy Team (LCSST) is dedicated to utilizing the Next Generation Sector Partnerships model, a nationally recognized approach. This model fosters collaboration among private businesses and key stakeholders from various sectors including local government, education, organized labor, economic development, and community-based organizations.

Sector Strategies are business led partnerships predominately funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). These funds serve as crucial investments in talent development, job creation, and enhancing business competitiveness. Our approach relies on comprehensive analysis of local labor market data, enabling us to effectively identify key industries that are vital to our regional economy. By remaining responsive to the ever-evolving needs of industry and its workforce, we aim to drive sustainable growth and progress. In Lane County, our identified industry sectors encompass Technology, Food and Beverage Manufacturing, Construction-Aggregate, and Wood Products, each playing a pivotal role in our local economy. 

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, which comprises around 616 firms across various industries such as software publishing, data processing services, and electronic manufacturing. By  2021, these enterprises employed 3,693 individuals and contributed to an impressive total payroll exceeding $312 million. Notably, the average annual wage in the local tech industry stands at $84,534, surpassing the Lane County all-industry average of $52,596.

Projections show a 22% employment growth rate for local tech companies between 2020 and 2030, compared to a 15% growth rate for all industries combined. Additionally, an anticipated demand for 3,757 replacements will result in 3,889 job openings.

Recognizing the industry’s need for skilled workers, the workforce development and education community have acknowledged the importance of collaborative efforts to strengthen the local talent pipeline. Furthermore, workforce development, education, and economic development entities recognize that supporting this vital industry presents an opportunity to boost the local economy and cultivate high-wage jobs in the area.

Current Initiatives Include:

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

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

Since 2017, we have focused on the thriving Food and Beverage Manufacturing sector. With over 163 companies in this sector, the collective workforce comprises 4,027 individuals, contributing over $211 million in wages into the local economy. Looking ahead, this sector is anticipated to experience growth, adding 610 new jobs by 2030, representing a 16% expansion rate—exceeding the average growth rate of 15% across all industries.

Over the next decade, an estimated 4,434 replacement openings are expected, resulting in a total of 5,044 job openings. In 2021, the average annual wage in the Food and Beverage Sector in Lane County was $52,500, slightly below the overall average of $52,596 across all industries. Notably, the educational requirements for positions within the Food and Beverage Sector are relatively modest, with the majority of occupations only requiring a high school diploma or less. However, employers in this industry frequently face challenges in recruiting and retaining workers, despite the low educational barriers.

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

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

Since 2016, we have focused on the Construction-Aggregate sector, comprising approximately 1,186 companies. In 2021, these companies employed 8,212 individuals and contributed $488 million to the total payroll. While the construction-aggregate industry is projected to grow at a slightly slower pace than the overall economy, with an expected 11% increase between 2020 and 2030, it still anticipates creating 904 new jobs. This growth rate is comparatively lower than the 15% expected across all industries during the same period.

Over the next decade, there will be 7,831 replacement openings, resulting in a total of 8,736 available positions. By the end of this forecasted period, employment levels in the sector are expected to reach pre-recession highs, which peaked at 8,380 in 2007. Notably, the annual average wages in the construction-aggregate field are higher than the overall average for all industries, standing at $59,429 in 2021, compared to $52,596. It is worth mentioning that despite the higher wages, most entry-level positions in construction-aggregate only require a high school diploma or less, making it a promising opportunity for individuals seeking well-paying jobs with lower educational levels.

Current Initiatives Include:

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Why focus on Wood Products?  Here’s why…

We have focused on the Wood Products sector in Lane County since 2018. Initially centered on advanced wood products manufacturing, our perspective evolved through extensive discussions with industry leaders, leading us to broaden our scope. Our definition now encompasses a diverse range of activities, including logging and forestry companies, as well as manufacturers of wood-based products like paper and furniture. 

This sector comprises approximately 219 companies, collectively employing 6,037 workers as of 2021, and generating a total payroll exceeding $399 million. With an average annual wage of $66,067, the Wood Products industry surpasses the overall average of $52,596 for all industries. Its historical significance in Lane County’s economy spans generations, and today, through the implementation of innovative technologies, it continues to hold economic importance.

Looking ahead, forecasts indicate a growth rate of 2% for the Wood Products sector between 2020 and 2030, resulting in the creation of 102 new jobs over the specified period. However, it is crucial to recognize the impending replacement needs within the industry, predominantly driven by retirements. These replacements are anticipated to account for 5,883 replacement openings for of a total of 7,985 job openings over the course of the next 10 years. Such dynamics highlight the significance of strategic planning and investment to ensure the continued success and sustainability of the Wood Products sector in Lane County.

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 Creatives?  Here’s why…

In 2019, we initiated an innovative collaboration with Lane Arts Council and ArtCity, launching a dedicated effort focused on the dynamic and diverse Creative Sector. Drawing inspiration from successful industry sector initiatives in Technology, Food and Beverage Manufacturing, Wood Products, and Construction-Aggregate, this initiative acknowledged the substantial contributions of the creative sector to our community.

Encompassing a wide range of industries such as apparel production, art, publishing, performing arts, museums, and historical sites, the creative sector faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic but is showing gradual signs of recovery. Notably, the performing arts sector is showing promising signs of rebounding from the losses incurred.

As of 2021, the creative sector comprises 565 establishments, employing 4,027 individuals who contribute over $171M in wages to our area. With an average wage of $52,842, slightly above the Lane County all-industry average of $52,596, the creative sector plays a vital role in fostering thriving town centers and supporting the growth of local commerce.

Employers today actively seek creative thinkers capable of envisioning beyond conventional boundaries, offering innovative solutions to address the diverse problems in our community and the world.  Creativity consistently ranks among the top skills sought by employers, as highlighted by the World Economic Forum in 2020.  Our county is home to thousands of artist entrepreneurs and hundreds of businesses that rely on the visionary ideas and skills of creatives to achieve their business goals.

Creativity serves as the seed of innovation, propelling the growth of high-wage and high-demand industries dependent on the imaginative thinking of artists. Various fields, including design, branding, media, city planning, manufacturing, and architecture, rely on artists’ expertise, knowledge, and innovative perspectives to shape remarkable solutions for business and community challenges.

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 Champion:

                                                                              Mitra Gruwell

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

Established in 2021, the The Transportation Industry Sector Partnership encompasses crucial sectors such as truck transportation, transit and group passenger transportation, warehousing and storage, along with their associated activities. Within these industries, there are a total of 187 firms contributing to an annual average employment of 2,957, with a combined payroll amounting to $151M in 2021.

Forecasts from the Oregon Employment Department indicate robust growth for the sector, with expectations of adding 602 new jobs, representing a 21% growth rate from 2020 to 2030. This growth surpasses the overall industry average of 15% during the same period. 

Furthermore, the trade, transportation, and utilities sector as a whole are poised for expansion. Projections suggest a growth of 3,200 jobs (11%), primarily driven by the post-COVID recovery in retail trade and the increasing demand for transportation services. The shift towards online shopping and the subsequent need for efficient product deliveries have contributed to this growth trajectory.

Current Initiatives Include:

  • Regional CDL training through the Economic Development Association grant.
  • Future Ready Oregon Prosperity 10K Grant awarded to four Lane County transportation/aggregate companies to provide CDL training.
  • Promotion of new CDL training facility in Lane County.
  • Researching opportunities to provide CDL training to businesses in rural Lane County.
  • Ongoing new driver recruitment sessions are scheduled at WorkSource Lane.
  • Industry Champion – Tyree Oil

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Why focus on the Child Care Sector?  Here’s why…

Child care is an essential foundation that enables the smooth functioning of all other aspects of work. The significance of having access to high-quality and affordable child care cannot be overstated, as it has been proven to enhance employee productivity, attendance, and retention. Unfortunately, Lane County is currently facing a child care crisis, labeled as a “child care desert,” with only 1 child care slot available for every 4 children aged 0 – 5 years. For infants and toddlers, there is just 1 slot for every 7 in our community. These figures, derived from pre-pandemic data, have likely worsened over the past few years.

To compound this issue, the average monthly cost of full-time child care locally stands at $866 per child representing a staggering 21% of the average median household income for families with children under 6 in Lane County. For families living at or below the federal poverty level, child care expenses consume 52% of their household income. While families bear the burden of these costs, child care providers are struggling to cover operational expenses, often offering relatively low wages with limited or no benefits. 

Recognizing the gravity of this situation, the Child Care Sector Strategist position was made possible through funding by the United Way of Lane County, in collaboration with Quality Care Connections at Lane Community College, Lane Workforce Partnership, the Early Childhood Hub of Lane County, Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, Onward Eugene, and other key stakeholders. 

Key strategic goals for the Child Care Sector in Lane County:

  • Support existing child care providers by addressing workforce recruitment and retention challenges;
  • Increase awareness of the importance of quality early childhood care and education, the role of Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs), and career opportunities in the child care sector;
  • Build child care capacity by supporting quality local child care providers in scaling existing programs and helping those interested in starting a child care to build sustainable businesses;
  • Increase the cultural responsivity of child care by focusing on BIPOC providers, culturally specific organizations, and linguistically specific/diverse providers & organizations;
  • Strengthen employers’ understanding of child care benefits and support employer-based child care strategies;
  • Advocate for public policy and investments that support child care providers and families.

Want to learn more?

Child Care Sector Strategist: Holly Mar-Conte