Workforce Training Priorities in Northwest Oregon

by Erik Knoder

November 7, 2019

\We need more medical assistants, registered nurses, bookkeepers, and nursing assistants in Northwest Oregon, according to analysis developed to help policy makers determine where to prioritize the region’s limited workforce training funds. Although some healthcare occupations topped the list, there were a good variety of occupations that scored well in the analysis.

\Many organizations in our area train people for work: public schools, community colleges, private and state universities, federal job corps centers, private businesses, and union apprenticeship programs are some. One question that all training providers face (aside from how to get the money to keep their doors open!) is, what training programs should they offer?
The Oregon Employment Department analyzed about 450 occupations present in Northwest Oregon (Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, and Tillamook counties) to find those that might be given some priority when trying to decide which training programs to offer. The study ranks occupations based on the expected number of openings, wages, relative occupational need, recent labor demand, and worker supply relative to long-term demand.

A selection of the occupations and their scores are presented in the table. A solid red dot indicates that an occupation scored in the top 5 percent, a red circle is for the next 10 percent, and empty circle is for the next 15 percent, a circle with a black border is for the next 30 percent, and a solid black circle is for the bottom 40 percent.

Many occupations had tie scores or nearly tie scores, so the list should not be read as a strictly ordered list of desirability. In addition, training providers and individuals will probably have other factors to consider when evaluating training and education programs, such as focusing on programs that complement or share resources with those already being offered locally, or adding programs that have significant support from local businesses ready to hire newly trained workers. Still, the analysis does provide some ready labor market information that can be a good starting place when evaluating occupations for training programs.

This analysis may also be useful for individuals planning their careers. Many of the factors that make these occupations important for training also make them attractive to workers. You can access other areas and more information online at Look under the heading Training and Education and click on Occupational Prioritization for Training.

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