In Opinion

A concept has been shaping up over the last year that we believe will help
our community retain and expand good-paying jobs and be more competitive
– locally and globally. The Port has been researching the development of a
center for innovation to stimulate the growth of applied innovation and provide
technological training for businesses and workers. We feel the innovation center
would be complementary to the work already under way at our K-12 schools,
Clark College and WSU-Vancouver.
Our Port Commission believes this is important, because while jobs are
being lost due to automation in many industries – not just manufacturing – new
jobs are emerging and will continue to do so as technology changes the way
business conducts business. We want to keep or capture those jobs here – in
the Discovery Corridor.

We believe providing current and future workers with training in these new
jobs – and helping existing and new businesses incorporate state-of-the-art,
efficiency-oriented technologies into their operations – will put us ahead of the
curve. These actions will serve to arm our region’s employee base and businesses
with a competitive edge.

The innovation center programming focus could include our K-12 school
systems and potentially WSU-Vancouver, introducing our young people to future
career opportunities and providing area employers with a future technology-ready
workforce. We would partner with businesses on this initiative.

As your Community Port, we’re always looking ahead with an emphasis on
the needs of the citizens and businesses of the Discovery Corridor, not just
development of our own properties. To that end, if its within our financial means,
whether it be our investment in broadband or advancing a center for innovation,
we’ll do whatever it takes to provide our community with the tools it needs to
retain and expand the economic health of our community.

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