Oregon CTE-STEM Employer Coalition

Coalition Plays a Key Role in Advancing Career Connected Learning

Oregon has made great progress over the past few years in building out policies and initiatives to expand and improve career connected learning. The Oregon CTE-STEM Employer Coalition, formed in 2012, has had a pivotal role in that effort, bringing the voice of employers to the table. It advocates for unified and strategic state investment in Career Technical Education (CTE) and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. OBC director Jim Piro, CEO of Portland General Electric, chairs the Coalition. OBC provides staff support and coordination.

In CTE- and STEM-related fields, there is a growing gap between the skills needed in Oregon’s economy and the skills of students emerging from our education system. By 2020, our economy will have almost 40,000 new job openings per year in STEM-related fields, and 94 percent of those will require a postsecondary credential. Oregon will be challenged to meet that demand.

Policy and Background Materials on Career Connected Learning

“Oregon STEM Education Plan,” Oregon’s strategy for connecting education to careers.

“Roles for Private Funders in CTE-STEM Education,” research paper on opportunities for private funders to invest in CTE and STEM education.

Summary flyer on the case for CTE-STEM education.

“Improve Outcomes Through Learner-Centered Education,” Oregon Business Plan.

Time to Invest Seriously in STEM, Coalition white paper

Oregon Needs to Invest in Technical Education, op-ed article by Jim Piro, president and CEO of Portland General Electric, and John Mohlis, executive secretary of the Oregon Building and Construction Trades Council

Membership, Oregon CTE-STEM Employer Coalition

The Coalition supports CTE and STEM investments along the P20 continuum to prepare students for the demands of 21st Century work and life -– from critical inquiry to logical reasoning to practical problem solving. CTE-STEM education also engages students through applied learning, instills in them good work habits, and motivates them to stay the course. Preparing more Oregonians for high-demand, well-paying jobs will expand the personal potential of individuals, keep Oregon’s companies and economy more competitive, raise family incomes, strengthen the middle class, promote equity, and reduce poverty.

Key Outcomes Sought by the Coalition

  • Double the number of 4th and 8th grade students proficient in math and science by 2025.
  • Double the number of CTE-STEM degrees and certificates by 2025.
  • Increase participation of students from under-represented groups.

Recent Successes

  • Completion of Oregon’s plan plan for CTE and STEM education.
  • Increased funding for CTE and STEM education at all levels of the P20 continuum.
  • Implementation of the Career Pathway Fund formula change for high schools to encourage completion of CTE-STEM pathways and to cover the higher costs of programs.

Current Policy Recommendations
The following recommendations for career connected learning come out of the December 2016 Oregon Business Plan white paper prepared by OBC’s Oregon Learns initiative.

  • Merge CTE and STEM policy and investment initiatives by restructuring the STEM Investment Council as the CTE-STEM Investment Council.
  • Implement Oregon’s STEM Education Plan.
  • Align math standards and assessments across the P20 continuum.
  • Ensure that the implementation of Ballot Measure 98 builds upon the existing CTE-STEM policy framework.

To Learn More or Join the CTE-STEM Employer Coalition
We encourage more Oregon companies to join the Coalition. To become a member, please go to this short online signup form. To learn more about the Coalition please contact Kyle Ritchey-Noll at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 503-595-7613.

Our Work

See brief account of Oregon’s progress in CTE and STEM education policy and investments since 2011.

See the PBS Newshour report “How Oregon is investing in the next generation of blue collar workers” featuring the Sherwood High School Fab Lab.


See the report on better graduation outcomes for Oregon students involved in CTE education programs.

Employers, learn how you can become involved and support CTE and STEM education in your local schools.