OSLC Chief Varnum Discusses Economic Impact of Independent Research Organizations at Regional Prosperity Summit

August 14, 2014

Eugene, Ore.— Four years ago, the City of Eugene, City of Springfield and Lane County partnered with the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Chamber of Commerce, and Lane Workforce Partnership to bring together more than 300 community members, business people, public agencies and local leaders for a Regional Prosperity Summit. The 2009 Summit resulted in a Regional Prosperity Economic Development Plan. Those efforts to promote prosperity were revisited on Thursday, November 14 at Regional Prosperity Summit: Accelerating our Economy.

At this year’s summit, OSLC’s Chief Operating Officer Rick Varnum discussed the impact of OSLC and other independent research organizations as a member of the Education Technology and Research Panel.  Participants learned that OSLC’s economic impact includes 130 living wage jobs, bringing $7.5M to Eugene in federal funding and an additional $5.0 M in city government and private foundation funding.

The Panel featured OSLC, EPIC (the Educational Policy Improvement Center), Concentric Sky and IRIS Media. Panel members were related to software development and educational research and have been collaborating in a number of ways for over 20 years.
The Summit was designed to allow businesses like OSLC, within growing industry clusters, to voice the strategies they believe are needed to optimize job creation strategies. The Education Technology and Research panel suggested the following:

  • Re-branding Eugene and Lane County as a destination for Education Technology and Research Companies
  • Assistance with workforce recruitment
  • Expanded air service-especially east
  • Increased community infrastructure especially related to internet technology, and
  • Having a seat at the table when decisions about regional economic policy are developed

After the Summit, Varnum said, “Today was a wonderful opportunity for OSLC to promote our work with children and families. The Summit was an excellent forum for OSLC to lay out the significant impact our organization has within Lane County and to describe the needs we have in our quest to grow and sustain OSLC for years to come.”