Mayor Mike McGinn updated the public on the progress of the Seattle Jobs Plan, launched three years ago, and described future efforts to support job creation in Seattle. New or expanded initiatives in 2013 include Startup Seattle, expansion of the Pathways to Careers and Career Bridge job training programs, new efforts to streamline permitting for restaurants and cafés, and new infrastructure projects including Gigabit Squared broadband.
Seattle’s April 2013 unemployment rate was 4.7%, the lowest unemployment rate for the city since 2008. It is lower than the state unemployment rate of 7.0% and the national rate of 7.5%. Between February 2010 and April 2013 the Seattle metropolitan area’s job growth rate is 7.7%, outpacing the state’s growth rate of 5.8% and the U.S.’s growth rate of 4.9%.
“This is great news for Seattle as we put the worst days of the recession behind us,” said McGinn. “But we cannot coast on our success. We can look across America to see examples of cities that did not continue innovating new ideas and new jobs and fell into decline. The Seattle Jobs Plan will help Seattle move forward by providing job training to those who still need a good job, supporting new innovation, and investing in our great neighborhood businesses.”
Since 2010, the City of Seattle has made significant investments in its youth and young adults, its innovative entrepreneurs, its economic strengths and infrastructure. Some of these investments and outcomes include:
- City has committed $2.9 billion in capital improvements, which created or retained 9,531 jobs
- Distributed $84.9 million in financing to 118 businesses, resulting in 1,476 jobs created or retained
- Provided training and employment services to 9,740 individuals through the Seattle Jobs Initiative and other workforce development partners, resulting in 1,747 job placements
- 60,018 businesses were licensed in Seattle at the end of 2012, which was 3,000 more businesses licensed than in 2011
- Value of construction permits increased almost 63%, from $1.6 billion in 2010 to an estimated $2.6 billion in 2013
- Issued permits for over 9,000 net housing units in 2012, the highest yearly total since the City began tracking permits electronically since 1984
- Invested over $12 million to support business district initiatives and community projects in our neighborhoods since 2010
“The workforce of today — and the workforce of our future — must be diverse, highly skilled, nimble, and collaborative,” said Jill Wakefield, Chancellor, Seattle Community Colleges. “Programs like Pathways to Careers, launched with a sizable investment from the City of Seattle, allows Seattle Community Colleges to broaden community partnerships and offer attainable, innovative education and training that provide all citizens with the skills to succeed in the world of work.”
Looking ahead, this Jobs Plan update focuses on items to help Seattle build shared prosperity by maintaining an innovative economy, educating our children, and building for the future. These priorities include:
- Launching Startup Seattle, an initiative to support the growth of the Seattle technology startup community and establish Seattle as an internationally recognized home for emerging technology companies
- Improve the experience of starting and operating restaurants and cafes by simplifying regulation and permitting processes with better coordination among City, County, and State governments
- Creating great urban neighborhoods, including an annual investment of $1.5 million directly in our neighborhood business districts through the Only in Seattle initiative
- Improve construction permitting across City departments to save time and improve transparency of decision-making to deal with increased demand for permits
- Execute three creative partnerships with State of Washington and King County as part of the Industrial Development District program. The projects will support industrial clean-up efforts and support expanded cargo capacity at the Port of Seattle
- Investing billions in major capital projects that will renew our infrastructure, enhance our quality of life and create thousands of good jobs, including the Elliott Bay Seawall project, Mercer Corridor West, First Hill Streetcar and innovative Green Stormwater infrastructure projects
- Partner with Gigabit Squared to begin rollout of high speed broadband to Seattle neighborhoods
- Expand the Pathways to Careers partnership with education, industry, labor, non-profits and philanthropy to transform professional education and training to low-income adults
- Expand the Career Bridge program to help up to 200 more low-income adults who have additional barriers, including Immigrant and Refugees with limited-English and low levels of education, gain access to the Pathways to Careers initiative and obtain the skills they need to get better jobs. $800,000 has been budgeted for this program expansion.
Read the full press release for more information on the update.
Read the full Jobs Plan 2013 Report and Economic Indicators.
Watch the full video of the update below, courtesy of the Seattle Channel.