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DHM Research is kicking off the New Year in a variety of new arenas, including work for The Oregon Idea. This group 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: “Investing in post-secondary education today will lead to economic prosperity tomorrow.” View their website here.

Recently, DHM Research asked participants on the DHM Panel to answer a series of questions about higher education in Oregon. Respondents were asked whether their views towards post-secondary education funding have changed in the last five years. (If you would like to join the DHM Panel please click here.) Below are some notable findings from the survey:

  • Compared to how they felt five years ago, respondents were much more likely to feel it is more important (40%) than less important (8%) to invest taxpayer money in Oregon's community colleges, 4-year colleges, and universities.

  • When asked to explain why they had indicated more important, respondents tended to note the connection between education and economic competitiveness, for both individuals and the state. As one respondent put it, “Educated citizens are the bedrock of communities, solid economies, and innovative future industries.” 

  • In that vein of future industries, many respondents emphasized the need for tech-savvy students to meet the demands of an increasingly modernized workplace. One respondent contended that “the future of the state is in high technology. We need to educate the students of our state so that they can be technologically employed.”

  • Additionally, more than two-thirds said it was either an “urgent” or “high” priority to fully fund secondary education to train students in critical degrees and with the skills tied to real-life jobs (69%) and to support the type of research that leads to new jobs in fields like health care, engineering, and high tech (68%).

Stay tuned for additional findings from our work for The Oregon Idea. As the Oregon Legislature prepares to wrestle with some difficult budgeting questions in the upcoming session, we expect to see post-secondary education as a prominent part of the discussion.