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Worksystems Connects Suddenly-Unemployed People to Training and Essential Services

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During this unprecedented time, Technology Association of Oregon will be featuring the benefits and value that TAO member companies can provide to our greater community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andrew McGough, Executive Director of Worksystems, details the ways in which the organization is working to support thousands of suddenly-unemployed people in the Portland area.

TAO Member Company: Worksystems 

Give us a short intro to your business:
As the Workforce Development Board for the City of Portland, Multnomah and Washington counties, Worksystems pursues and invests resources to improve the quality of the regional workforce. We help job seekers go to work and advance in their careers and help employers find the workers they need to compete and grow.

What resources can your business offer the community during the COVID pandemic?:
Worksystems is on the front line of the COVID response and we are working hard with our partners to connect thousands of suddenly-unemployed people to essential services. Our response is running the gamut from pivoting to remote service delivery (including purchasing hundreds of laptops and providing free internet access to low-income job seekers) to hosting daily webinars for impacted workers and businesses to granting $430k in operating funds to 43 area non-profits to help keep them afloat. We are advocating for policy changes and additional resources focused on individuals and communities most impacted by the virus and associated economic fallout. 

While we are working to triage the situation, we are continuing to focus on workforce training. Of particular interest to our fellow TAO members is grant funding we have available to help businesses train their tech workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Target occupations for this funding include: Hardware, Software and DevOps Engineers, Network Systems Administrators, Systems Architects, Data Scientists, Scrum Masters, Project Managers, Computer Support and all other Specialists. We are also sponsoring another round of IT training through our TechRise PDX grant to prepare new, entry-level tech workers to support the industry.  

What is the best way for the community to get in touch?:
We’ve established a dedicated phone number (503-478-7379) and email ( for general inquires. However, our staff is all telecommuting so contacting any of us directly will also get an immediate response.

What’s your favorite way to pass the time during self-quarantine?:
I am a drummer, so I’ve been practicing the essential rudiments and working on my fundamentals and independence.

What’s one thing that helps you stay positive or gives you hope during difficult times?:
A belief we will learn from this experience and build a better community as a result.

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