Oregon Institute of Technology – A Klamath Basin Success Story

Oregon Institute of Technology – A Klamath Basin Success Story

by Ainoura Oussenbec

December 29, 2016

It is hard to overestimate the importance of the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) for the local economy. Not every rural area is blessed with the presence of a higher education institution that employs close to 400 professionals and, in addition, supports indirectly another 700 jobs.

The only polytechnic university in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon Tech offers more than 40 degree programs and certificates in engineering, technology and health care. OIT graduates about 700 students per year, of which 90 percent either have a job or continue with their graduate education within six months of graduation. About 60 percent of the grads stay in Oregon, with many working in jobs with starting wages of more than $50,000 annually.

OIT had very humble beginning in 1947, when it opened as a vocational rehabilitation school for World War II veterans. Over time OIT has become one of the top western colleges focusing on high-skill and high-growth areas of engineering and technical health specialties. A Brookings study placed Oregon Tech in the top 10 schools in the nation for “value-added degrees,” because of lower costs and higher earning potential for the students. Oregon Tech has the lowest student loan debt to graduate ratio of all higher education institutions in the state of Oregon.

According to EcoNorthwest, Oregon Tech generates $75 million for the Klamath County economy annually. However, the overall impact of OIT’s presence, considering the tangible and intangible factors, must be much larger for Klamath County, Oregon and beyond.