Powering Potential: Education is the key to economic mobility

Feb. 1, 2019

At a recent Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, Kali Thorne Ladd, Portland Community College board chair, stated, “Education is the key to economic mobility.”

This was true a decade ago when it was published in The Brookings Report: Promoting Economic Mobility by Increasing Postsecondary Education, and it is still true today.

By 2030, more than 120,000 additional jobs requiring post-secondary training or education will be needed in Oregon. To meet this need, 300,000 adult Oregonians will need to earn a new degree, certificate or credential. (Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission November 2018)

That’s why the PGE Foundation directs most of our grant dollars to education-related programs and scholarships. We believe investing in the potential of Oregon students is the key to ensuring we’ll have the future talent needed for those 120,000 jobs.

Through scholarships and programs such as The Alliance of Oregon’s Independent Colleges and Universities, PCC’s Future Connect and our Portland State University Sustainability Scholarship program, we have given more than $1 million to students attending Oregon’s public colleges and universities.

As part of our commitment to equity, we encourage our college and university partners to focus on their decision-making opportunities for first generation college students, low-income students, students from rural communities and students of color or women who are seeking degrees in fields where they have historically or systemically experienced barriers to opportunity.

Our commitment to education and economic mobility goes beyond scholarships. Each year, we look forward to welcoming scholars to PGE Scholar Day at PGE’s downtown headquarters, where they learn about the energy sector, meet energy professionals and learn about a future working at PGE.

Our desired outcome is for Oregon students to graduate knowing who they are, prepared for their future and adaptable to the fast-changing world of work. We agree wholeheartedly that education is the key to economic mobility and we look forward to collaborating with community partners working to change the lives of Oregon students.

The PGE Foundation celebrates the incredible work of our nonprofit partners and more than 20 years of work to empower Oregonians through investing in the community.