Oregon business leaders will gather a week from now and focus on a very untypical business topic — how to reduce Oregon's poverty level.
The Oregon Business Plan calls for reducing the level of poverty in the state from 17.2 percent to less than 10 percent by 2020. Sounds good, but how? And why do business leaders care?
The answer stretches over several subjects — ensuring a trained, available workforce, restoring economic prosperity to rural communities and making Oregon an appealing place for outside investors. After all, who wants to invest in a state that some call the Appalachia of the West?
Leadership summits often hover at the grasstops of problematic issues, but this year the Oregon Business planners are definitely getting into the thick weeds. After the obligatory morning sessions about success stories, the afternoon sessions dive into subjects such how to connect workforce training with actual careers, grow profitable minority and women-owned small businesses, finance public works that make communities ready for new development and tap the natural resources key to returning rural economic health.