The Oregon Business Plan for 2020 combined two objectives: recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and greater shared prosperity as a condition of that recovery.

Those objectives stem from four convictions:

1)  Recovery from a crisis of this magnitude calls for long-term vision and strategy.

2)  We can’t go back to the way things were. The inequities highlighted by the crisis cannot be allowed to continue. And the crisis itself has changed our options and opportunities.
3)  Along with challenges, the crisis will yield opportunities we can seize to deliver a stronger, more equitable state economy.
4)  Rebuilding economic opportunity and jobs also calls for a transformation in our systems and institutions to improve economic mobility and the social safety net to foster equity, resilience, and agency.

The Business Plan already had plans to look at big trends, assess our economy, sound out sector leaders on their competitive concerns, and identify opportunities for Oregon to achieve greater prosperity and share it more equitably across Oregon’s population and geography. The pandemic filled that agenda with questions about the best strategies to recover from the shutdown, manage through an economic downturn, navigate trends and changes accelerated by the crisis, and rebuild a resilient economy with shared prosperity.

That was uncharted territory, so we invited leaders and thinkers across the spectrum of Oregon life to help us explore it. We learned that the pandemic, public venue closures, and distancing measures affected Oregonians in unprecedented ways – loss of life and employment, disproportionate impacts on communities of color, devastation to small businesses, and transition to telework and distance learning.

Framing Issues and Ideas

The 2020 Oregon Business Plan policy process began in earnest as the coronavirus pandemic deepened and devastated the economy. From May through June we held a number of virtual conversations with public, private, and nonprofit sector leaders to surface issues and ideas, with particular attention to the trends, challenges, and opportunities exposed or accelerated by the crisis. That led to the Leadership Summit Series, Recovery for Shared Prosperity, monthly virtual events of roughly 90 minutes each until the concluding event in December. Those sessions replaced our live day-long Leadership Summit traditionally held in early December. In these online town hall-style meetings experts on particular issues helped us frame understanding, choices, investment costs, and trade-offs. We also used the sessions to look at the Oregon economy in general as well as more specific issues such as traded-sector industry competitiveness, education, health and health care, economic mobility, and equity and economic opportunity.

The idea of the Summit Series was to take what we learned and shape that knowledge in the form of papers and presentations for wider exposure and discussion among our partners, stakeholders, and policy makers. As in summits past, we wanted the policy analysis and recommendations produced by the Business Plan to serve as a resource to public officials in making decisions that affect the future of Oregon.

Summary of 2020 Leadership Summit Series Events

July 28: Launch Event
This event gauged Oregon’s challenge amid the covid pandemic in achieving economic prosperity in the coming decade and sharing that prosperity more widely and equitably. It examined the latest data on the pandemic’s economic impact, learned how the downturn is affecting entrepreneurs and communities of color, and outlined the work of this year’s Oregon Business Plan through the virtual Leadership Summit Series. Full program video.

September 30: Trends Impacting Recovery
Before the coronavirus struck, Oregon was seeing new trends disrupting industries, altering the nature of work, and shrinking employment opportunities. The pandemic has spurred those trends along, posing challenges and opportunities for a recovery while disproportionately impacting communities of color and low-income Oregonians. This event focused on understanding these dynamics to achieve an inclusive recovery. Full program video

October 13: Opportunities to Grow the Economy
Oregon’s economy is in a deep hole with thousands of people out of work and an uncertain future ahead. How do we dig ourselves out and emerge with a stronger and more equitable economy? Robert F. Smith, Christian Ketels, and Oregon industry leaders shared their perspectives on key issues and ideas for a long-term recovery. Full program video.

October 21: Developing Workforce Talent

The pandemic ushered in an unprecedented economic crisis that, coupled with shifts in automation, may fundamentally reshape our economy. This has disproportionately affected people of color as well as low-income and rural Oregonians. How can we reimagine talent development to prepare Oregonians for the jobs of today and the future, and to ensure equitable opportunity? A panel of experts provided perspectives and recommendations for how we can reimagine and support talent development and increase education access to Oregonians. Full program video.

November 17: Economic Opportunity and Mobility
Oregon leaders highlighted key factors impacting economic mobility along with ways to build systems that foster resilience and agency, especially for low-income Oregonians and communities of color. Senator Ron Wyden, Michael Alexander, and David Elwood explored how we can create economic opportunity and mobility for all Oregonians while addressing systemic racism and existing inequities. Full program video.

December 14: Refreshed Oregon Business Plan
The final Summit Series event presented a refreshed, long-term business strategy for recovery, with shared prosperity. Leaders from across the state provided valuable insights on key opportunities for Oregon. Full program video.

We Need and Welcome Sponsors to Keep Series Events Accessible

As we shift the Oregon Business Plan to an online format, we welcome an array of community leaders, partners, and stakeholders as in years past. We are offering these events cost free to afford participants more equitable access. And as always, we need and welcome sponsors to help underwrite the work that goes into the process and policy recommendations of the Business Plan. Please click the adjacent button to view sponsorship opportunities.

Leadership Summit Series Summary

For a summary of our work throughout the 2020 Leadership Summit Series, watch the video below.