Governor calls for bipartisan support of semiconductor task force recommendations
Salem, OR—Governor Kate Brown appeared before the House Interim Committee on Economic Development and Small Business on Wednesday, September 22, to urge support of the recommendations brought forward by the Oregon Semiconductor Competitiveness Task Force, which she chaired with Senator Ron Wyden and PGE CEO Maria Pope. The task force brought together representatives of industry, government, academics, and workforce to build consensus around a package that will help create prosperity for all Oregonians through supporting research and development, recruiting and training our workforce, increasing land availability, strengthening incentives, and streamlining regulation.
“The semiconductor industry is truly the heart and soul of Oregon’s economy,” said Governor Brown. “Because we have laid the groundwork for workforce development with Future Ready Oregon, we can continue to invest in STEM education and build on existing partnerships––among industry, education, workforce, and community-based organizations––to meet the education and workforce needs of the industry. It’s critical we ensure educational and job training opportunities are available to all historically underserved communities, so that no one is left behind.”
Governor Brown also announced she will be investing $1 million from the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund in industrial land readiness. The investment will help local governments with site preparation planning, wetland mitigation assessment, and begin the process to create an Industrial Lands Technical Assistance Grant Fund to help leverage CHIPS Act opportunities.
“Between the CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, there are incredible opportunities, if we work together, to expand manufacturing and support our workforce. But we must act quickly. We are in a 50-state competition for CHIPS funding, so it is critical that we seize the opportunities in front of us now in the highly-competitive semiconductor industry. The good news is, creating jobs, building a strong workforce, and supporting Oregon families are Oregon values. Republicans and Democrats alike––and independents too––understand the importance of creating good-paying jobs.”
Governor Brown told the committee that part of the reason she is so engaged in this work is because jobs in the tech sector pay well and have low barriers to entry. “This is about creating prosperity for all Oregonians. The semiconductor sector can and should be instrumental in closing economic disparity gaps in this state. We were on track before the pandemic to close our economic gaps in this state. We can get back on track quickly by expanding job opportunities and viable career pathways through the semiconductor industry.”
“Continuing to grow Oregon’s Silicon Forest is about supporting working families,” concluded Governor Brown. “A thriving semiconductor industry needs a highly-skilled and educated workforce––an area where Oregon is currently a national leader, but we can’t stop there. This will ensure the Silicon Forest has roots throughout all of Oregon.”
A recording of the committee hearing is available on the Oregon Legislature’s website.