Governor Kate Brown toured Medford recently, highlighting workforce development opportunities and transportation priorities in Southern Oregon.

The region is home to several higher education institutions, including Rogue Community College, Southern Oregon University, and Oregon Institute of Technology, which are partnering with Rogue Workforce Partnership, WorkSource Rogue Valley, and local employers to grow a skilled workforce and create pathways to careers.

Governor Brown toured Coding Zeal, a software company based in Medford that provides custom software and web services to companies around the world. With support from Business Oregon, the company has grown to serve as a community tech hub in Southern Oregon, providing coding curriculum and workforce training to local students.

“Business owners and employers across the state tell me that hiring a skilled workforce is one of their most significant challenges,” Governor Kate Brown said. “By leveraging partnerships with employers and integrating training and development into school curricula, Oregonians get the skills employers need to expand their businesses and grow our economy.”

Governor Brown then convened a discussion on transportation priorities in Southern Oregon at the construction site of the Oregon 62 Expressway Project. The two-year, four-lane Jobs and Transportation Act project will reduce congestion and improve safety throughout the region.

“We know mind-numbing traffic is only getting worse, and investments in transit and critical seismic and safety infrastructure improvements are needed.” Governor Brown said. “I’m committed to developing and presenting to the 2017 Legislature, a transportation package that meets the needs of every community to move Oregon forward.”

The Oregon 62 Expressway is a vital freight corridor, yet Mike Card, President of Combined Transport, explained Portland metro area congestion compounds congestion in Southern Oregon, impacting freight-dependant businesses across the entire state.

In addition to impacts to businesses, congestion and the transportation sector on whole account for 37% of Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions. Governor Brown heard from representatives of Rogue Disposal & Recycling on a recently completed compressed natural gas (CNG) facility providing a clean fuel alternative for heavy trucks and buses in the region. The CNG facility captures methane gas from the nearby Dry Creek Landfill to create a clean and resilient energy source now used in fleet vehicles operated by Rogue Disposal & Recycling and in the clean fuel mix of Rogue Valley Transit District‘s bus fleet.