Education & Workforce Development

Education & Workforce Chair:

Margaret Kirkpatrick, NW Natural


AOI Policy Manager:

Betsy Earls, Vice President & Counsel

Mission: AOI supports educational excellence, sound funding and meaningful accountability at all levels—from pre-kindergarten through post-secondary education and workforce preparation.

This focus on educational excellence begins with ensuring that Oregon’s youngest citizens receive the family and community support they need to be ready for school.  Once students have entered school, AOI’s focus shifts to K-12 and the need to prepare students with the skills necessary to succeed. Expanding access to post-secondary education is the critical next step, and beyond that is the need to ensure that students are ready for a career, regardless of the type of education they pursue.

The Council:

  • Supports development of high-quality, evidenced based early childhood education programs;
  • Supports policies that ensure college/post-secondary readiness throughout the K-12 system;
  • Supports making college more accessible and affordable for all students, including populations that have not traditionally participated in the post-secondary system;
  • Supports career and technical education policies that focus on future market demands and that meet the identified needs of Oregon’s private sector.

Current Priority Issues:

Creating the Council on Educator Advancement: Legislation under consideration would make better use of the funding that is currently in the Network for Quality Teaching and Learning by getting the funding and implementation out of the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and into a new council focused on improving outcomes.

Establishing the Early Indicator and Intervention System: This program would help reduce chronic absenteeism and increase graduation rates.

Preserving Measure 98: Some Legislators attempted to significantly weaken voter-approved Measure 98, which increases funding for Career and Technical Education (CTE) as well as certain other efforts aimed at improving graduation rates. We believe it’s important to fully fund these programs.

CTE-STEM funding will see modest cuts in the existing budget framework: We were also unable to pass a bill that would have combined the separate CTE and STEM Councils. There is strong support for CTE-STEM programs among the state's top budget writers.