ORR partners with Oregon State for research, education resources

Oregon State University’s Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy (CORE) has joined other leading recreation organizations as the newest member of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), of which the NMMA is a founding member.

As ORR’s first higher education member, OSU’s CORE will bring the bandwidth and expertise of a top-tier public university to the $689 billion outdoor recreation industry, supporting the sector’s research and workforce development needs through the development of industry-informed and relevant trainings and certifications.

“The growth and resource possibilities with CORE joining the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable are tremendous,” said Jessica Turner, president of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “OSU’s CORE will be able to build on its already impressive portfolio of insightful research and education with us to provide training and certification programs needed to move the outdoor industry forward.”

ORR and CORE have already collaborated on several successful efforts. Earlier this year, CORE helped ORR develop the ORR Rural Economic Development Toolkit to support rural communities in building their outdoor recreation economies, and together led information sessions for government agencies and industry leaders about the importance of economic and workforce development for the outdoor recreation economy. CORE has consistently brought survey development expertise to the table with ORR members, supporting numerous studies related to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, project eligibility through the $900 million Land and Water Conservation Fund, and insights into current workforce trends.

“The outdoor recreation industry has incredible potential, both as a driver of economic opportunity and as a means of making outdoor activity more welcoming and accessible,” said Lee Davis, Executive Director for CORE. “Right now, the industry is being held back by a growing skills gap and an ad hoc training structure. By joining ORR and working with industry associations, CORE will serve as an inclusive and rallying force for the outdoor recreation industry, for those seeking career opportunities in it, and for everyone who will benefit from more time outside.”

Oregon State’s work in the outdoor recreation industry through CORE focuses on the following four efforts:

  • Education and Training: Blending academic rigor with industry expertise to develop and offer relevant professional education, certificates, and degree opportunities.
  • Research: Connecting industry with faculty experts and researchers to assess outdoor recreation workforce trends through surveys, interviews, case studies, and other services.
  • Industry Engagement: Engaging with executives, talent experts, and associations to ensure CORE’s workforce offerings meet the industry’s current and future needs.
  • Higher Education Collaboration: Spearheading the creation of a national consortium designed to support and coordinate industry-responsive research and program development at post-secondary institutions nationwide.

The ORR and OSU collaboration will build upon successful efforts in 2021, and next year will focus on the following actions for the outdoor recreation economy:

  • Use its research capacity to conduct a comprehensive analysis of wage and career path data across the recreation economy.
  • Build on the highly successful rural development toolkit platform and continue to expand resources for economies across the country looking to transition to recreation-based economies.
  • Work with the U.S. Economic Development Administration to promote understanding of the comprehensive benefits of outdoor recreation economies’ impactful rollout of the new $750 million in funding for travel, tourism and outdoor recreation to the communities.

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