Oregon and Asia: trade partners and more. Image: Wikipedia/Kartenwerkstatt

For Oregon, Asia means Jobs and More

Asia Japan China

In a November 25 article for The Oregoneian titled "From Asia, with Jobs" Lewis & Clark College President Barry Glassner challenges the view that Asia is an economic adversary for the US. Instead, he argues that Asia is proving to be both a friend and an economic boost. To illustrate Asia connections benefiting Oregon, Mr. Glassner recounts his recent trip to Asia during which he encountered success stories of Lewis & Clark alumni thriving there.

"In Tokyo, I talked with a young man to whom I handed a diploma 18 months earlier. Now he's living in Japan and working as an account executive for a bilingual job-finding service akin to Monster.com. This young alumnus got his job, he told me, as a result of his frequent use of that very service. Having noticed him on their company's virtual job board, recruitment scouts invited him to interview; three months later, he was moving to Japan to take his new job.

We have a senior at Lewis & Clark -- a student who was born in Japan and moved to Hawaii at age 9 -- who has already secured a job with a major Japanese producer of educational materials; she will be moving to Tokyo after graduation this spring. You've no doubt heard about the difficult job market awaiting today's college graduates. But as these and other stories demonstrate, those challenges shrink for those who think globally."

Oregon’s economic growth - second-highest in the country in 2011 – is primarily a result of growth in exports to the state’s largest trading partners: China and Japan. Job growth has complemented a rise in exports to Asia.

Strong economic ties have grown in tandem with functional cooperation. There are 19 sister-city programs between Oregon and Asia, Lewis & ClarkCollege and WasedaUniversity in Tokyo have enjoyed a 40-year affiliation, and Mandarin Chinese is available for students to learn in Portland’s public schools. In the growing sales of Oregon’s goods and services to Asia and in the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Mr. Glassner sees closer cultural and academic relationships forming between Oregon and its neighbors across the Pacific. To show that Asia and Oregon are intimately connected, he points to the shipping dock that was torn from Japan in last year’s earthquake and tsunami and was washed ashore in Oregon this summer.