August 25, 11:39 AM click here to comment > 0
Seattle is Innovating, Educating and Building Its Way Into the 21st Century
On the first year anniversary of the launch of the Seattle Jobs Plan, Mayor Mike McGinn joined business, labor, and community leaders to celebrate the progress made in the first year of the Plan and to talk about what is coming next in the City’s efforts to support job creation in Seattle.
“This recession is deep and long. We have to build on our strengths to help Seattle compete in the global economy. And we need to do so in a way that allows more people to participate in economic success, as well as demonstrate environmental leadership,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “We can’t win a race to the bottom. We’ll win through innovation, education, and next generation infrastructure like broadband and transit.”
The Seattle Jobs Plan is attacking the issue of jobs creation and economic development from many different angles including:
• Regulation Reform
• Educational Strategic Partnerships
• Small Business Support
• Pioneer Square Revitalization
“Today I am announcing that I am sending my package of regulatory reforms, part of a collaborative stakeholder process, to the City Council next week. These reforms will stimulate new residential and commercial development consistent with our environmental values,” said McGinn.
This regulatory reform package was formed by a panel of developers, neighborhood activists, design professionals, labor leaders, and environmentalists to reduce regulatory burdens that hinder job creation.
Educational Strategic Partnerships
The City has formed a strategic partnership with the Seattle Community College District to double the number of individuals who complete a degree or certificate that leads to a good paying job. While Seattle has one of the most educated populations in the world, with more than 55 percent of its residents 25 years and older having at least a four-year college degree, we also have serious challenges educating the kids that grow up here. Far too few of them complete high school ready for college or a job.
Under the Seattle Jobs Plan, the city has continued to make investments to improve connections between the demands for labor and the skills of Seattle’s workers to help grow out economy and achieve shared prosperity. The city provided direct training and employment services to 1,324 individuals, resulting in 353 job placements and 590 people enrolled in skills training.
Small Business Support
“After three years out of the workforce, I knew my computer skills needed to be updated. So I wanted a program that would help me build those skills back up,” said Ellen Martinez, Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI) graduate. “And the skills I gained in the SJI program were the right skills – what I learned in class I use on-the-job.”
The city’s Office of Economic Development (OED) and its partners have provided support to more than 1,000 small businesses since January, 2010, with such services as technical assistance to START | GROW | or GREEN their businesses, financing to grow and expand, and navigating government services.
“I appreciated the Office of Economic Development and City Light staff who worked with us to find a creative solution to our electrical service needs in order to attract an additional tenant,” said Jim Ferguson, president of Ferguson Terminal. “The solution met the city’s needs and helped to significantly lessen our costs. Listening to business’ needs and finding solutions is an important part of responsive city government.”
Pioneer Square Revitalization
“The city has been a great partner in the revitalization of Pioneer Square, with the passage of the South Downtown rezone legislation, investments to re-energize our business district and the broadband pilot project,” said Kevin Daniels, president of Daniels Real Estate and co-chair of the new Alliance for Pioneer Square. “As the developer of the North Lot project, I am excited about bringing more much-needed residential units to this neighborhood, and thankful for the city’s willingness to consider investing $10 million of New Markets Tax Credits into the project to ensure that it can come together.”
Seattle Jobs Plan By The Numbers
Accomplishments highlighted by Mayor McGinn include:
• Invested $1 million in 18 neighborhoods through the Office of Economic Development’s Only in Seattle initiative;
• Formed the Citywide Business Advocacy Team to help businesses navigate government services, with over 59 businesses assisted thus far on issues ranging from permitting to public safety to land use;
• Created or retained 3,270 jobs through the actions of the Seattle Jobs Plan to date, including:
• 919 jobs created through City lending programs, delivering more than $36.5 million in loans to 84 businesses
• 1,990 jobs in the City’s capital improvement projects
• 361 jobs in Seattle City Light and its conservation programs
• Submitted mobile street food legislation to the City Council and worked to pass a new ordinance encouraging the expansion of the mobile food industry in Seattle;
• Implemented six of the eight components of the Nightlife Initiative and are moving forward with the City Council to pursue extended liquor hours in Seattle to support public safety and a vibrant nightlife business community;
• Invested in the Pioneer Square neighborhood, including delivering a pilot broadband project, passing the South Downtown rezone legislation to increase residential density, and investing $100,000 to develop a retail attraction and retention program;
• Reduced permit intake times at the Department of Planning and Development from nine weeks to two weeks;
• Proposed bold new investments in training our future workforce through the Families and Education Levy.
Other steps the city will take to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build our competitors are:
• Distributing an additional $45 million in new business financing in 2012;
• Supporting the expansion of our life sciences and global health companies by completing planning for a new electric substation for South Lake Union;
• Passing and implementing the Tourism Improvement Area that will raise $6 million to promote Seattle as a tourist destination;
• Moving forward on the Seawall replacement project by completing 60% design and publishing the draft EIS by September 2012.
“Seattle’s economic health is dependent on healthy small businesses, growth and expansion of our key industry sectors, and skilled workers that meet the needs of industry,” said Steve Johnson, director of the Office of Economic Development. “Economic recovery remains a top priority, and the city and its partners are committed to further implementing the key strategies of the Seattle Jobs Plan.”
Seattle Jobs Plan
Mayor Mike McGinn’s vision for next generation economic development that creates a sustainable economy with shared prosperity in Seattle was launched in August 2010. It consists of new and existing policies, programs and investments designed to help create quality jobs, protect the environment, and ensure that taxpayers get true value from the city of Seattle’s public investments. For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/jobsplan
City’s Office of Economic Development (OED)
OED supports a healthy business environment and empowers companies to succeed and grow. We provide services directly to businesses through advocacy, retention and expansion assistance, and workforce development. OED has several financing options for businesses, including options for small to medium to large businesses. Visit www.growseattle.com to access city services for businesses, and for more information about our office, visit www.seattle.gov/economicdevelopment
Posted by: Aaron Pickus, Spokesperson