Study of Greater Portland-Vancouver economy holds keys to expanding opportunity statewide

The Columbian reports on a study that state policymakers will want to read. 

A new study of the Portland-Vancouver region’s economy spells out strategies for strengthening high-tech manufacturers, increasing supply chain opportunities and boosting exports. The study, announced by two regional economic development agencies Tuesday, calls for everything from more early-stage investment capital and state-funded development initiatives to an emphasis on workforce training.

Those recommendations resonate with the Opportunity Washington Priorities for Shared Prosperity. In particular, consider these messages from the Making Prosperity report prepared for the Columbia River Economic Development Council and Greater Portland by Dr. Beth Fitz Gibbon:

To Thrive and Evolve, Economic Regions Need a Healthy Ecosystem Including:

• Infrastructure such as roads and bridges to carry freight to air, rail, and marine ports, and to bring in raw materials

• Capital to start new technology-based companies and grow existing small and medium businesses in new ways

• Training for generations of skilled, creative workers from technicians and metal workers to research scientists, engineers, and physicists

• Education for generations of skilled, creative people in a valuable STEM-based workforce, from technicians and TIG welders to research scientists, engineers and physicists. STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering & Math, from K-12 through graduate school and university research

• Regionalism created by thousands of workers who commute between Portland and Vancouver every day. The more income the region generates, the more money there will be to invest in schools, roads, public safety, and sustaining quality of life for families on both sides of the Columbia River.

Though the report focuses on specific industrial sectors in the region, the assessment of what’s required for success directly mirrors our Achieve, Connect and Employ messages. Education (with a STEM emphasis), workforce training, safe and reliable transportation, and policies that nurture job creation and investment are important to all sectors and regions in our state.

We commend CREDC for their contribution to extending opportunity and boosting economic vitality.