Food and Beverage Sector Strategy
As a participating member of the Lane County Sector Strategies team, the Eugene Chamber is lead on the Food and Beverage Sector Strategy. The goal of the strategy is to create an achievable action plan with the food and beverage industry to support and grow the industry the next 3 to 5 years.
The Team identified the food and beverage sector because Lane County is home to over 138 food and beverage companies, which employ over 3,300 people and pay over $131 million dollars in wages. The sector has large growth potential with the Oregon Employment Department projecting the sector to grow in employment by 40% in 2022.
In January 2016, the Eugene Chamber convened over 30 food and beverage leaders to discuss barriers and opportunities for growth in Lane County. The sector identified six top areas where the sector strategies team can work to better support the industry.
The six areas identified are:
The Eugene Chamber carried the food and beverage sector’s needs back to the Lane County Sector Strategies Team. The team formed working groups <<LINK>> around the six areas identified. The working groups have begun working on strategies and actions to make progress in each area. In June, we will reconvene the sector to provide updates on the work to date and to involve them in the process
Since November 2014, the Eugene Chamber has been working with local manufacturers on their workforce issues. Workforce is a hot topic amongst local employers, specifically local manufacturers. Many cannot find the skilled workforce they need to fill well-paying open positions. Our work is focused on two areas: future workforce and filling current needs.
For future workforce we are working with Lane Education Service District, Lane Workforce Partnership, and area high schools to:
We’ve taken over 75 students on tours of local manufacturers, held a Hands-on Manufacturing Career Day for 45 high school juniors and seniors from 10 area high schools, and given information regarding manufacturing careers to over 100 students. We are also working with Lane ESD to advise local Career Technical Education programs on the skill needs of our employers.
We know that many of our employers are facing needs now that won’t be solved by working with the high schools; therefore, we are researching best practices and working with employers to create a strategy to attract workers for open positions.
Willamette Angels Conference
The Willamette Angels Conference is an exciting component of the South Willamette’s startup ecosystem. Founded in 2009, the Willamette Angels Conference (WAC) is an investment conference, connecting early stage and seed startups with angel and venture investors. The WAC is a joint venture of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, Corvallis Benton County Economic Development Office, Corvallis Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network (RAIN) designed to advance the entrepreneurial development movement within Oregon and the Willamette Valley.
The WAC is one of the largest angel groups in the state of Oregon. The WAC alternates between the communities of Eugene and Corvallis each year. In its seven-year history, the WAC has invested over $2 million in early-stage businesses. Due to these investments, winner companies have created seven new jobs in Oregon.
The 2016 WAC received a record-breaking number of 44 applicants for funding and is approaching a record number of investors. The 2016 WAC is in Eugene on May 12th. Learn more about the conference.
Read more about our recent accomplishments
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