Other than the Big Bang, there is no one beginning of anything. But, for this story, let's start in 2010.
Our economy was emerging from the 2008 crash, a growth that was being driven, in large part, by technology-based companies. I was on the board of the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) and we often found ourselves in our board meetings discussing how hard it was for our companies to hire the people we needed to support this growth.
Several initiatives were launched to attract new talent to our state. These initiatives focused on telling our story to potential employees in major markets around the country. A story shaped by the Fort Hall Decision.
The story was something like this: Come to Oregon. We have a great quality of life. And if the job doesn't work out, don't worry, we have a vital industry here so there are a lot of other employment opportunities.
Techlandia - a place of new opportunity. We branded and hit the road.
There was only one problem. Importing talent is only a short-term fix. You cannot build long-term economic competitiveness using imported talent.
Recognizing that all businesses in our economy are being transformed by new creative and production technologies, we knew that this talent problem touched every kind of company in Oregon.
So we asked ourselves a simple question: "How well are we preparing Oregon students for Oregon jobs?"