Sen. Betsy Close pushes education and jobs bills

Sen. Betsy Close_thb

Sen. Betsy Close

Salem, OR – Two key pieces of legislation introduced by Senator Betsy Close (R-Albany/Corvallis) ahead of February’s legislation session will be considered by legislative committees this week.

“These two bills represent practical ways to get Oregonians back to work and target educational opportunities at community colleges,” said Close. “They are tangible solutions to real problems.”

On Thursday the Senate Interim Committee on Education and Workforce Development will consider a concept for building an Accelerated Student Associates Program. This program would help new students connect general educational curriculum with the technical and vocational curriculum in our community colleges. Research has shown that accelerating the connection between technical education and basic curriculum in the first year greatly enhances the chances of graduating with a degree. This bill intends to help keep students engaged, moving forward, and excited about their progress in their first year and beyond.

“Community college students shouldn’t have to wait two years before they start learning technical and vocational skills that would help them land a job,” said Close. “This bill targets employment needs by region and help new students start on a successful higher education career from day one.”

On Wednesday the Senate Interim Committee on Rural Communities and Economic Development will consider the Youth Employment Act. The proposal would create a public-private partnership between counties and local employers for a training contract to benefit youth entering the workforce for the first time, between the ages of 14 and 19. This is a successful program that is currently operating in Linn County and can be replicated statewide.

Starting in 1999, Close served for six years as a State Representative in the Oregon House of Representatives. She was Chairwoman of the House Water & Environment Committee and House Business, Labor, and Consumer Affairs; and Co-Chair of the Joint Natural Resources Committee. She served in leadership as Assistant Majority Leader from 2001 to 2005. She was appointed to the Oregon State Senate in 2012.

Betsy Close has been married to Christopher Close for 40 years. They have four grown children.