(KMTR) -- A collaborative effort between some of the major public agencies in Springfield
on Saturday, with all hoping to harness new economic development and growth for the city.
Leaders and officials from all sides of Springfield met as one on Saturday, January 28th, 2012, as part of the annual “Team Springfield” committee meeting.
The group is made up of members from Springfield City Council, Springfield Public Schools, Springfield Utility Board and the Willamalane Park & Recreation District.
The group began in 1999 as a collaborative effort to help neighboring agencies for the betterment of the city.
“Community members say, 'well you know, you guys don't work together,' 'you guys don't… you know, why don't you know what you're doing?' that's what started Team Springfield, so that we work together,” said Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg.
For 2012, the group is hoping to focus on economic development for the city by harness new ideas to grow.
Leaders are hoping to make more contact with local businesses and create a dialogue between them. Leaders are hoping to figure out what help local businesses need to continue to grow and to figure out what those businesses might be able to do to help others.
“Form that plan, to meeting the needs of the businesses in that community and form these clusters perhaps, health care clusters, those kind of clusters that can help each other and perhaps we bring in more resources because of it,” says Lundberg.
At Saturday’s meeting, leaders discussed growth with the University of Oregon’s Global Education program leader Yong Zhao.
Zhao says that Springfield along with the rest of Oregon needs to open up the doors and introduce local goods and services to the global economy. Zhao says today, Oregon is not a globally known state, even with companies like Nike and Intel based in the state.
Zhao says to be able to compete for jobs, new companies and innovation, Springfield and Oregon must think about their role outside of the United States and think of making new clients and customers internationally.
“A lot of jobs cannot be brought back, I think we need to become inventive. So the first thing we need is actually a mind set change, to change that we are, we do live in the globalized era and need to have a global mindset and not think about locally, but think about globally,” says Zhao.
As part of thinking globally, Springfield Public Schools has already started a teaching exchange program with teachers in China and other foreign countries. More recently, the group introduced 30 teachers from China to Springfield and Oregon. Zhao says these kinds of meetings are important in relaying the strengths of Oregon.