June 1, 2018

South Sound leaders create family-wage job credits

South Sound leaders collaborate for family-wage jobs

The South Sound is a great place to do business. And a recent proposal by an impressive number of Pierce County elected officials made it crystal clear the region is committed to family-wage job growth.
Unveiled by the group at a May 22 press conference at Centris Data Center in Puyallup, the proposals would implement job credits of at least $275 per new job created after Jan. 1, 2019.
“When it comes to creating jobs, messages matter, and the message we are sending loud and clear is that we want businesses to choose Pierce County and we recognize how important they are to creating vibrant communities,” said Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier.

Each jurisdiction customized the one-time credit and will submit ordinances to their respective councils for consideration and a vote. The proposal for unincorporated Pierce County is to create a job credit that will be available to businesses that create at least five new family-wage jobs ($65,000 annual pay) in 2019.

Business owners interested in applying for the rebate may contact the city or location where the jobs are created.
Tacoma already offers similar perks. “While I am not proposing any new credits today, Tacoma has a history of incentivizing the creation of family-wage jobs, and businesses that create these types of jobs in Tacoma can already qualify for up to four different credits,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards at the press conference. The credits can total up to $1,500 per year and can be claimed for up to five years for each qualifying job created.

In addition to Dammeier and Woodards, leaders present or represented at the announcement included Doug Richardson, chair, Pierce County Council; Neil Johnson, mayor, Bonney Lake; Mike Courts, mayor, DuPont; Kim Roscoe, mayor, Fife; Don Anderson, mayor, Lakewood; John Palmer, mayor, Puyallup; Ron Lucas, mayor, Steilacoom; Bill Pugh, mayor, Sumner; Kent Keel, mayor, University Place.

Speakers also included Mark Martinez, executive secretary of the Pierce County Building and Construction Trades Council, and Bruce Kendall, EDB president and CEO.

Spread the word. Pierce County is open to business.

John Wolfe pleads strong case against tariffs

Kudos to John Wolfe. In April, the Northwest Seaport Alliance CEO testified before the United States House Ways and Means Committee about the potential economic risks tariffs could bring to the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. Wolfe testified at the recommendation of U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert.
“We are deeply invested in U.S. trade policy discussions because they directly impact our core business, the success of our customers and the lives of our local residents,” Wolfe said. Marine cargo operations in Seattle and Tacoma support more than 48,000 jobs, while air cargo operations at SeaTac International Airporthelp create over 5,200 jobs, Wolfe told the committee.
In response to U.S.-imposed tariffs, China recently levied tariffs on a wide range of American goods. That’s a problem for our local economy. Hefty volumes of goods going to and from China move through the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. “Our success as an airport and seaport gateway is inextricably linked to China,” Wolfe said.
“As the most trade dependent county in the most trade dependent state in the U.S., Pierce County has a lot at stake in the current debate over tariffs and trade,” said EDB President and CEO Bruce Kendall. “We are fortunate to have John Wolfe deliver the free trade message to policy makers in Washington, DC.”
On the heels of Wolfe’s testimony, now is a great time to contact your congressional members and senators. Let them know you support reducing tariffs and re-engaging the Trans Pacific Partnership. It means jobs for Tacoma-Pierce County.

Greg Unruh winds up prestigious 35-year career

No matter how rewarding the work, there comes a time when you have to stop and smell the roses. Greg Unruh, EDB chair and Franciscan Foundation president, is retiring after a stellar 35-year career.

In just six years at the Foundation’s helm, Unruh made tremendous strides, including implementing the Corporate Partner Program and expanding funding for community initiatives around non-violence and behavioral health. He oversaw successful campaigns for the St. Joseph Medical Center Level III NICU, St. Clare Hospital’s emergency department, and CHI Franciscan’s hospice and palliative care programs, and secured millions of dollars for the new Behavioral Health Hospital

That’s what he’s done lately. Prior to joining CHI Franciscan, Unruh racked up more than 30 years in the banking industry and held senior leadership positions with Bank of AmericaWells Fargo and Timberland Bank.

“News of Greg’s retirement is bittersweet,” said EDB President and CEO Bruce Kendall. “The silver lining is that he will stay on as board chair through of the year, with full support from CHI Franciscan Health CEO Ketul Patel. He will also remain a key member of our Farnborough aerospace recruitment team this summer.”

UW Tacoma pre-law program gets boost from state

The drive to provide pre-law education in the South Sound got a boost from the State legislature with a $200,000 annual funding commitment to the University of Washington Tacoma. This ongoing commitment will support enhanced coursework and programming, mentoring efforts and community outreach.
The conversation about legal education continues to grow. In 2011 community members came together united by a common goal to establish a UW Tacoma law school. A recent feasibility study shows merit for establishing a future law school in the South Sound, but recommends looking at market forces in 2021 when the demand for legal education is expected to be on the rise. In the meantime, there remains tremendous interest in legal education in the region. That’s why UW Tacoma is building a solid pre-law pipeline and social justice program.
“There’s a lot of demand,” said Mike Wark, UW Tacoma assistant vice chancellor for External Relations. “It’s a great program and will feed law schools in the state and beyond. Students and faculty are excited, and community advocates are thrilled with the response.”
“This funding will help address needs identified in the South Puget Sound legal community and serve the growing number of students interested in careers that address social justice and public policy,” noted members of the Pierce County legislative delegation in a letter to chairs of the Washington State Senate Ways and Means Committee and House Appropriations Committee pledging support for the request for funding in the 2018 Supplemental Operating Budget. “We are pleased that this program will also emphasize supporting first-generation students and the diverse communities that we serve.”
Many thanks to Pierce County legislative delegation members for their tireless support, led by: Sen. Steve O’Ban (28th LD), Sen. Steve Conway (29th LD), Rep. Melanie Stambaugh (25th LD), Rep. Laurie Jinkins (27th LD) and Rep. Jake Fey (27th LD). Also on the team were: Sen. Randi Becker (2nd LD), Rep. Beth Doglio (22nd LD), Sen. Hans Zeiger (25th LD),  Rep. Joyce McDonald (25th LD), Sen. Jeannie Darneille (27th LD), Rep. Dick Muri (28th LD), Rep. Christine Kilduff (28th LD), Rep. David Sawyer (29th LD), Rep. Steve Kirby (29th LD), Rep. Kristine Reeves (30th LD) and Rep. Mike Pellicciotti (30th LD).
“This is truly a community-generated initiative,” Wark said. “It wouldn’t have happened without our Pierce County delegation and diligent community leaders who supported this effort from the start,” he added, citing Valarie Zeeck, attorney and partner at Gordon Thomas Honeywell; David Zeeck, UW regent, and editor and publisher of The News Tribune; Herb Simon, EDB board member and former UW regent; Mark Pagano, UW Tacoma chancellor; and Bruce Kendall, EDB president and CEO.
“This is just one more indicator that UW Tacoma is a powerful economic engine for the South Sound,” Kendall said. “This funding bolsters an already strong program that is vital to the region’s legal community and beyond.”

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