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October 8, 1999            


Contact: Philip Bransford, 503-725-5717
Source: Bob Dryden, 503-725-5718

Emergency Board Approves $5 Million for Technology Education

SALEM - The Oregon Legislature's Emergency Board approved a $5 million allocation to the Oregon University System today in keeping with a public-private partnership to expand Oregon's high technology work force.

The legislative panel made the award after reviewing a detailed spending plan submitted by the Oregon Engineering and Technology Industry Council, a group created by the Legislature in 1997 representing leading businesses in the state's high technology sector.

"This partnership between higher education and industry gets results," said OUS Chancellor Joe Cox. "We are working together to better prepare students for their careers and to strengthen a vital and growing part of Oregon's economy."

At a preliminary hearing on Thursday, legislators also heard an update on the technology industry's effort to expand on the state's contribution to technology education. Industry Council Chair Jim Johnson, Oregon site manager at Intel Corporation, expressed optimism that Oregon's technology industry will contribute at least as much as it contributed by the conclusion of the 1997-1999 biennium. At that point, the private sector contribution reached over $6 million.

"The day is soon coming when the success of every business in Oregon will depend on how information is managed," said Johnson. "As more Oregon businesses recognize this fundamental shift, they are also recognizing how essential technology education is to our state's continued economic success."

Roughly 60 percent of the state allocation will support undergraduate education in engineering, computer science and multimedia technology. Oregon State University, Corvallis, will receive $2.4 million to hire additional faculty and staff and to expand laboratory facilities dedicated to undergraduate engineering. The University of Oregon, Eugene, will receive $400,000 to establish an undergraduate multimedia major and $100,000 to expand its computer and information science program. Four OUS institutions -- Eastern Oregon University, La Grande; Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Falls; Southern Oregon University, Ashland; and Western Oregon University, Monmouth -- will share a $200,000 fund supporting a collaborative engineering program.

The remaining state dollars will support graduate-level education and research efforts, including $1.6 million to bolster the graduate engineering programs at the Oregon Graduate Institute, a private institution in Beaverton, and Portland State University. The funding boost will help a master's program in software engineering that began last year. The master's program resulted from a partnership among four campuses -- OGI, OSU, UO and PSU. In addition, $250,000 of state funding will support graduate-level internships.

A $61,000 allocation was also made to expand research at OGI done in concert with the Oregon Metals Initiative, a higher education-industry partnership working to strengthen Oregon's metals industry.

In other actions taken today, the Emergency Board approved a $5.1 million expenditure plan for PSU to purchase the 30,000-square-foot University Center Building on SW 5th Avenue in Portland. The building is within campus boundaries but is currently privately owned. Purchasing the structure will expand classroom and parking capacity for the campus and will be financed using Article XI-F(1) bonds over 30 years.

 

 

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