initiative-1IMPROVE SOCIAL MOBILITY THROUGH ACCESS TO COLLEGE AND CAREER

The changing nature of regional and global labor markets, the high dependence of employers on recruitment of talent from outside the region, and the critical role education plays in promoting social and economic mobility make the development of locally grown talent the most important economic development challenge facing our region.

little-blue-arrowLong-term economic advancement and social mobility requires helping people obtain skills that are relevant to the labor market.

little-blue-arrowThe investments we make must aim toward getting people degrees and credentials beyond high school.

  • Success is not high school graduation but attainment of at least an industry-recognized credential to weld, maintain financial records, operate a crane, or draw blood from a patient.
  • The ultimate goal is to get as many advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as possible.

OUR ACTION PLAN

The Commission will work with the University of Washington, Seattle Colleges, and others to research and recommend an approach to local financing of Seattle students completing a degree or credential at any college or university in Washington.

initiative-2ADVANCE OUR INFRASTRUCTURE AND BUILT ENVIRONMENT AS ECONOMIC CATALYSTS

Seattle’s economic success requires thoughtful planning and investment in the quality of the places we live, work, and gather as well as the roads, bridges, and ports that connect us to each other and the world.
  • Envision and intentionally create great urban centers and neighborhoods:
    The City plays an essential role in facilitating and shaping how our urban centers and neighborhoods grow and maintain their authenticity. We must get better at how we imagine, plan, permit and execute on the visions for these unique neighborhoods so that we are responsive to the profound demographic, environmental, and technological changes shaping our future.

OUR ACTION PLAN

The Commission will complete a comparative analysis of the regulatory and decision-making environments of Seattle and its peer cities. This will enable a careful examination of the way Seattle envisions, plans, permits, and executes on investments that shape the built environment so that Seattle’s economy is sustainable and equitable, and its neighborhoods beautiful and inspiring.

  • Build an efficient transportation system and inviting open space in Center City:
    Downtown Seattle and its adjoining neighborhoods will experience unprecedented construction activity over the next 10 years – the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement and Central Waterfront Redevelopment are the most visible of the major projects that will impact and transform the Center City. Major, non-transportation related projects will also have a profound impact on downtown, such as construction of the City Light substation in Denny Triangle and the new Amazon buildings in South Lake Union.

OUR ACTION PLAN

The Commission will organize briefings and convene discussions to better understand the magnitude of the coming investments and provide support for their successful completion. The Commission’s role will include pushing decision-makers and key constituencies to make choices about priorities and advocating for adequate funding to grow transit ridership and ensure major projects are fully realized, such as renewal of “Bridging the Gap” and a proposed “local improvement district” to help fund the waterfront redevelopment.

  • Maximize the University District as the region’s next innovation hub:
    Seattle’s urban centers and neighborhood commercial districts are one of its most valuable economic assets, and they will increasingly be seen as job centers where innovation occurs and talented people reside and congregate. The University District is undergoing tremendous changes and Seattle has an immediate opportunity to leverage its proximity to the University of Washington and help create the region’s next major hub for innovation and technology.

OUR ACTION PLAN

The Commission will focus attention and support on the opportunity to create a commercial district that consciously approaches future development – residential, office, retail, cultural, infrastructure, and open space – through the lens of stimulating the exchange of ideas and innovation in the fields of art, culture, and commerce. The presence of the University of Washington, strong collaboration of neighborhood leaders, future arrival of light rail, and commitment of multiple City Departments provide a rare opportunity for success. Near-term actions will focus on approval of new urban design guidelines and recruitment of early-stage technology entrepreneurs to the district.

initiative-3BUILD STRATEGICALLY ON OUR ECONOMIC STRENGTHS


Seattle is blessed with physical assets and intangible characteristics that throughout our history have contributed to the existence of a highly diverse and adaptive economy. These attributes have resulted in resilient industries that send goods and ideas around the globe and pioneering entrepreneurs who eschew conventions and aspire to make the world a better place.
  • Tell Seattle’s compelling economic story – “We make things that change the world”:
    Seattle is recognized for the global impact of its ideas and our community ably sheds light on its success stories. There is a need to do a better job reminding ourselves and others that Seattle is an amazing place with a rebellious, independent streak, gifted with natural beauty, global brands, and a penchant for attracting young, tech-savvy, creative talent. We need to craft a narrative centered on a “spirit of invention” and the impact of our ideas.

OUR ACTION PLAN

The Commission will focus attention and support on the opportunity to create a commercial district that consciously approaches future development – residential, office, retail, cultural, infrastructure, and open space – through the lens of stimulating the exchange of ideas and innovation in the fields of art, culture, and commerce. The presence of the University of Washington, strong collaboration of neighborhood leaders, future arrival of light rail, and commitment of multiple City Departments provide a rare opportunity for success. Near-term actions will focus on approval of new urban design guidelines and recruitment of early-stage technology entrepreneurs to the district.

initiative-3BUILD STRATEGICALLY ON OUR ECONOMIC STRENGTHS


Seattle is blessed with physical assets and intangible characteristics that throughout our history have contributed to the existence of a highly diverse and adaptive economy. These attributes have resulted in resilient industries that send goods and ideas around the globe and pioneering entrepreneurs who eschew conventions and aspire to make the world a better place.
  • Tell Seattle’s compelling economic story – “We make things that change the world”:
    Seattle is recognized for the global impact of its ideas and our community ably sheds light on its success stories. There is a need to do a better job reminding ourselves and others that Seattle is an amazing place with a rebellious, independent streak, gifted with natural beauty, global brands, and a penchant for attracting young, tech-savvy, creative talent. We need to craft a narrative centered on a “spirit of invention” and the impact of our ideas.

OUR ACTION PLAN

The Commission will partner with the local creative industry and broader business organizations to create a community driven public relations campaign, centered on a multi-media, “open-source” effort that more effectively highlights our diverse economic sectors and raises Seattle’s profile regionally and across the globe.

  • Maintain our strength in manufacturing and maritime:
    Manufacturing, maritime, and logistics have long been a key part of Seattle’s economy, accounting for about 22% of the Seattle’s workforce. In 2008, the industrial sector accounted for $6.1 billion in taxable sales, generating 36% of Seattle’s total retail tax revenue and 38% of the B&O tax revenue. Challenges facing our maritime and industrial community include developing talent, navigating government regulations, freight mobility, and decreasing availability of land. 

OUR ACTION PLAN

The Commission will actively support efforts to develop and execute a long-term maritime and industrial investment strategy that address the infrastructure, talent, and regulatory needs of these industries, with the objective of maintaining critical economic diversity and balance for our economy.

  • Assert Seattle’s role as a global leader in knowledge economy:
    Seattle’s continued growth will be spurred through a dynamic “ecosystem” of research, invention, and commercialization, and by cultivating a culture of public-private partnership that embraces broad spectrum of innovation sectors such as information technology, interactive media, life sciences, and creative industries like film, music, art, and theater. Active efforts to support the formation of new companies will continually refresh our economy and maintain our recognized leadership in this area.

OUR ACTION PLAN

The Commission will work with the City and industry partners on efforts to address major issues that impact innovation companies, including general business support, marketing Seattle as a destination for technology talent and incentivizing new technology investments. One of the first projects will be execution of StartupSeattle, an effort lead by the Office of Economic Development and local technology startup leaders.

  • Harness our talent in social entrepreneurship:
    Social entrepreneurship is the process of pursuing transformational solutions to deeply entrenched social problems, drawing upon appropriate thinking from both the business and nonprofit worlds. Seattle has seen an explosion of social entrepreneurship in the healthy competition to address our most challenging problems. There is a need to create more opportunity for our deep creative and entrepreneurial talent and socially progressive culture to design and deliver solutions to our community’s most intractable issues.

OUR ACTION PLAN

The Commission will partner with entities such as Impact Hub Seattle, City Club and others to create new approaches that connect entrepreneurial talent, social advocates, and policy makers and encourages them to conceive, test, fund, and scale new social ventures.