Select Your Workforce Champion


Directors from the Oregon’s local workforce development boards have nominated 8 individuals for their efforts in supporting progressive and positive changes for Oregon’s workforce initiatives to hold the title of Workforce Champion. We believe each of these individuals is noteworthy for their dedication perseverance to Oregon’s citizens.

Please help us decide by casting your vote by November 8, 2024, 8 am.

Nominations *

Tony Erickson

Tony is the quintessential workforce champion in Oregon. He utilizes public workforce system services for his business and tirelessly advocates for them among private sector board members. As the board chair of NW Oregon Works since its inception in 2015, Tony’s leadership has been unwavering. He testifies before the legislature, advocating for local boards and participates in statewide campaigns to promote the work of Local Workforce Boards (LWBs) and the Oregon Workforce Partnership (OWP). Tony’s commitment and vocal advocacy make him an invaluable asset to Oregon’s workforce development, driving success and prosperity across the state.

Brooke Brownlee

Brooke Brownlee, Senior Manager for State Government Affairs at PGE and Board Chair of Clackamas Workforce Partnership, is an Oregon workforce champion. Noteworthy contributions include:

Leading the state-level Clean Energy Coalition, showcasing her relationship-building and collaboration skills.

Tirelessly advocating for workforce development policies and vocational education funding.

Actively raising awareness about worker challenges and workforce development’s importance.

Amplifying her impact by supporting organizations improving the workforce system.

This nomination celebrates Brooke’s unwavering dedication. She understands workforce challenges, champions equity, and motivates positive change—a role model for fellow professionals. Recognizing Brooke as a workforce champion acknowledges her invaluable contributions to Oregon’s workforce development.

Patricia Callihan-Bowman

Patricia Callihan-Bowman is an Oregon workforce development standout. Serving the Mid-Valley Workforce Board since 2003, she staunchly advocates for diverse programs and regional initiatives. Patricia’s unwavering commitment shines in her board leadership, ad-hoc committees, and community support.

Her pivotal role in the board’s transition to a separate 501(c)(3) organization highlights visionary leadership. Patricia’s legislative advocacy and active participation in boards like the Chamber of Commerce reflect dedication to regional economic growth.

This nomination honors Patricia’s tireless workforce development efforts, both as an Express Employment Professionals owner and in community roles. She embodies the spirit of a workforce champion, deserving recognition for her exceptional contributions.

Dave Burger

David Burger, a member of UA Local 290, is a stalwart advocate for Oregon’s workforce. As the longest-serving board member of East Cascades Works since its founding in 2015, he embodies unwavering commitment and engagement, championing workers’ wages and addressing emergent workforce issues in the construction industry. Currently serving on EC Works’ Board and Executive Committee, as well as the Workforce Talent Development Board and Continuous Improvement Committee, Dave’s dedication is unparalleled.

Dave’s relentless efforts to educate and engage youth and career changers in the Construction Industry underscore his tireless work ethic. He willingly volunteers his time to support Oregon’s publicly funded workforce system and youth programs, contributing thousands of hours to cultivate a talent pipeline.

Dave’s nomination celebrates his compassion, intelligence, and outstanding contributions to Oregon’s workforce development. His dedication bridges the gap between talent and opportunity, leaving a lasting impact on the state and its workforce.

Sen. David Brock Smith

Senator David Brock Smith’s commitment to Oregon’s workforce development is commendable. His support for the Southwestern Oregon Workforce Investment Board (SOWIB) extends beyond general initiatives. He introduced legislation for tax credits benefiting Opportunity Youth Employment Program (OYEP) participants, showcasing his dedication to youth employment.

Senator Smith’s involvement in the Maritime Workforce Bill and collaboration on state youth projects like the Oregon Conservation Corps (OCC) underscores his commitment to diverse workforce development efforts.

His proactive legislative contributions and active engagement in youth employment make Senator David Brock Smith a valuable advocate for Oregon’s workforce. His continued support is vital for the state’s economic growth and residents’ well-being.

Janice Frater

Janice Frater, with 23 years at Worksystems, the Portland Metro Workforce Development Board, is a distinguished figure in Oregon’s workforce development. Her multifaceted roles, from WSPM Center lead to compliance manager, have made a profound impact.

Under her leadership, I-Trac has become a world-class data management and reporting system, benefiting local boards, the state, and partner organizations. Janice’s expertise in WIOA regulations and compliance is highly sought after, influencing policy changes statewide.

Her policies, systems, and procedures have streamlined workforce funding rules, and her program design expertise ensures job seekers receive maximum benefits. Her focus on technical assistance has enhanced provider network capacity and performance.

This nomination honors Janice’s enduring legacy in Oregon’s public workforce system, recognizing her as a deserving candidate for her significant contributions.

Sherri Stratton

Sherri Stratton, the Area Manager for the Oregon Employment Department in Jackson and Josephine Counties, is a true workforce champion. With vast experience managing numerous workforce programs, she’s among the state’s most seasoned program managers. Sherri’s expertise spans Title IB programs, Title III, RESEA, STEP, and more, emphasizing her commitment to serving diverse communities. Her servant-leader approach, marked by humility and continuous growth, shines through her personal journey from single motherhood to earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees while working full-time.

I nominated Sherri for her transformative leadership, which led to the surpassing of performance goals and positive collaboration. Recognizing her contributions is essential as she approaches retirement, leaving an indelible mark on Oregon’s workforce development.

Congresswoman Val Hoyle

Congresswoman Val Hoyle has a commendable history of championing workers’ rights and driving transformative legislative efforts in Oregon. Her instrumental role in initiatives like increasing the minimum wage, implementing paid sick leave, and expanding environmental programs has improved the lives of Oregonians. As a former BOLI commissioner, she displayed bold leadership by enhancing workforce training opportunities across the state. Val’s unwavering commitment to building an inclusive, fair, and progressive Oregon makes her an ideal candidate for the Workforce Champion of the Year award, recognizing her exceptional contributions to the state’s workforce development and equitable growth.