The 2020 Legislative Session began this week and since this is the short session, things will be moving at a rapid pace.
Over the next 35 days, we will consider legislation dealing with a wide variety of topics, but this week, I’m going to focus on some workforce issues. In order to have livable communities, citizens enjoying fulfilling lives, building and maintaining a robust economy, people need satisfying employment. Some of the legislation I’m working on this session will benefit and support Oregon’s workforce.
Protect Oregon Apprenticeship Programs
I am pleased to join Rep. Nathanson in sponsoring HB 4143 to Protect Oregon Apprenticeship Programs. Currently apprenticeship programs can be registered at either the state or federal level. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) then oversees registered programs to ensure their curriculum, instruction, and overall program quality.
This legislation is being introduced because of proposed changes at the federal level which would create a new, parallel, unregulated system of apprenticeship programs without quality standards. The more lenient federal requirements would undermine the established quality assurance mechanisms in the current, proven apprenticeship model. HB 4143 is designed to safeguard worker protections and high-quality instruction in registered apprenticeship programs, by ensuring that any public funds will only be spent on apprenticeship programs that are approved using the current registration and oversight model. This will help prevent unregulated training that results in poor program outcomes, meaningless certificates and low wages.
While apprenticeship programs help younger, inexperienced workers, age discrimination in Oregon has become a major employment barrier to older adults. That’s why I’ve signed on with Rep. Piluso to sponsor HB 4076 which establishes a Task Force on Age Discrimination.
In a study conducted by AARP, 62% of older Oregonians have seen or experienced age discrimination on the job. In the past decade, more than 2500 Oregonians, or about one per day, have filed age discrimination claims with BOLI. Unlike workplace discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity, national origin and sex, the legal standard for proving age discrimination is far more difficult and rarely successful. When people who are age fifty or older have difficulties finding and keeping employment based on age discrimination, they lose the ability to provide for their families and to save for their retirement.
Studies have shown that an engaged, multigenerational workforce fosters a strong economy, vibrant communities and older adults who are self-sufficient. The Task Force will be charged with identifying and evaluating the impacts of age discrimination in the workplace and establishing policy recommendations to prevent it.
For youth and young people
The Northwest Youth Corps has just opened their online enrollment in the Summer school/work program. The Northwest Youth Corps offers a challenging education and job-training opportunity so participants can learn, grow and experience success. Their programs focus on education, challenges, community, leadership and empowerment giving youth critical life skills and confidence.
The Northwest Youth Corps was modeled after the historic Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930’s and has been offering local teenagers an education-based, work experience since 1984. Their programs include residential conservation crews for both youth and young adults, local community crews, an internship program for college aged participants, a fully accredited high school and a two-acre organic farm. Whether looking for an amazing summer work experience or looking to gain specific skills for a future career with land management agencies, through The Northwest Youth Corps, participants can work on meaningful conservation projects, learn new skills, meet new people and discover new opportunities and career pathways. Call them at 541-349-5055, or go online to, email@example.com.
In order to best represent the people of House District 31, I need to hear from you as measures are introduced and taken up for consideration. It is my privilege to represent you in the Oregon House of Representatives, so if you do have an issue or concern regarding a state agency, please contact my office.
If you are planning to visit the Capitol during the February session, please call in advance to see if we can arrange an appointment, I always enjoy seeing constituents when they visit Salem.
Thanks for reading my newsletter,
Rep. Brad Witt serves House District 31. He may be reach at: