Conversations that Led to the
Leadership Summit Series

When the coronavirus pandemic broke out last winter, along with widespread job losses and the racial justice crisis, it was clear that the Oregon Business Plan would have to pivot to an online format of shorter policy events instead of the day-long Leadership Summit in December. That led to the current Leadership Summit Series.

To build what became the 2020 theme, Recovery for Shared Prosperity, we held informal conversations online in the spring with public, private, and nonprofit sector leaders to surface issues and ideas, paying particular attention to the trends, challenges, and opportunities exposed or accelerated by the crisis.

There were four topic areas and multiple conversations in each to grapple with the pandemic and its implications for Oregonians: the Economy and life in General, Education, the Social Safety Net, and Workforce. Descriptions on this page link to summaries of those conversations.

Oregon’s Economy and Life

Quick Take: The pandemic will cause fundamental, permanent changes in the lives of Oregonians. It will take years to recover, and that recovery should correct inequities exposed by the crisis. Oregon has an opportunity to come back more resilient and economically vibrant, with improved public and private systems, greater opportunity for all, and more widely shared prosperity,

Education

Quick Take: Educators, students, and families face significant disruption in the transition to distance learning, and this format has serious limitations. The pandemic has magnified and accelerated deep systemic inequities in our education system and society, but it also presents a unique opportunity to reimagine education and build a more equitable and resilient system with learners at its center.

Social Safety Net

Quick Take: Economic recovery from the pandemic is a long game that should be supported by a human-centered safety net system that provides Oregonians with agency to attain economic mobility. The recovery effort should emphasize resilience and address inequities accelerated and exposed by the crisis.

Workforce

Quick Take: Many industries and jobs will look different after the pandemic and recession than they did before. Some industries will not fully recover until well after a coronavirus vaccine is available. The workforce system is not well positioned to affect the recovery, but the crisis presents an opportunity to improve the system and make it more equitable.

What Leaders Said About Recovering from the Crisis:

“It will become increasingly important to build equity and inclusion of diverse voices into our policies, systems, and decisions.”

“In higher education remote learning could reduce campus space demands and operating budgets, and could disrupt current cost and pricing models.”

Oregon’s Economy and Life

 

“Homelessness, family instability, health problems, and food insecurity heightened in the pandemic lockdown account for trauma and learning loss for too many students and need to be acknowledged and addressed in a post-pandemic education environment.”

“Schools should work more closely with families and community based organizations that either provide education services or support services that address what students need in order to be successful learners.”

Education

 

“Much of our safety net is fragmented and there is inflexibility in how federal, state, and local funding can be spent. A reimagined safety net should include flexible and blended funding streams that can be responsive to the unique needs of communities and Oregonians.”

“Civic engagement and shared power should include resource allocations to support participation, training, and other supports that enable Oregonians to be full participants in civic life.”

Social Safety Net

 

“Many unemployed workers (e.g., in leisure and hospitality and passenger transportation) are unlikely to return to their previous occupations in the next 18 months.”

“Employers need to share responsibility for work-life balance with their workers.”

Workforce