PORTLAND, OR--( - Apr 15, 2011) - In a letter sent to the Co-Chairs of the Ways and Means Committee Thursday, business leaders from across the state of Oregon are urging legislative leadership to allocate an additional $32 million to post-secondary education.

The letters signatories, all board members with The Oregon Idea, caution that "The economic crisis facing our state in terms of lagging job creation and declining per capita income compared to the rest of the nation has made it clear that if we want to create long-term economic vitality in Oregon, then we must improve the quality and output of our post-secondary education system."

Funding would provide services to ensure access to OHSU's medical school for Oregonians, restore funding for the Agricultural Experiment Station, Extension Service, and the Forest Research Laboratory within OUS, and ensure that community colleges are able to retrain out of work Oregonians to help them get jobs.

For the first time in the state's history, businesses, Community Colleges, OHSU, and all seven of Oregon's public universities are united on a legislative effort.

The Oregon Idea is united around a three-part legislative agenda for 2011: 1) Oregon must prioritize investments in its network of community colleges; 2) Oregon must prioritize investments in its only health and research university (OHSU); and 3) Oregon must prioritize investments in, and reform its university system to ensure access for Oregonians.

Letter signatories include: Jim Francesconi, Partner, Haglund & Kelley; Chuck Clemens, Board Member, Clackamas Community College; Carol Dillin, VP, Customers and Economic Development, PGE; Mark Edlen, Sr. Executive, Gerding Edlen Development; Mike Goodwin, President & CEO, OSU Foundation; Doug Kintzinger, Member, OIT Foundation; JWTR; Margaret Kirkpatrick, Board Member, Associated Oregon Industries; VP & General Counsel, NW Natural; Sandi McDonough, President and CEO, Portland Business Alliance; Charley Miller, President, Miller Lumber Company; Ken Patchett, General Manager, Facebook Data Center; Keith Thomson, Chair, OHSU Foundation; Past Chair, UO Foundation Board; Retired VP, Intel Corp; Bill Thorndike, President & CEO, Medford Fabrication; Dean Wendle, Board Member, Rogue Community College; Board Member, Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. (SOREI)

Download a copy of the letter.

THE OREGON IDEA is a coalition of small business owners, CEOs, community leaders, and alumni of Oregon's Community Colleges and Universities who share a common vision for Oregon's post-secondary education system. The Oregon Idea is this: Investing in post-secondary education today will lead to economic prosperity tomorrow. www.TheOregonIdea.org

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.