Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dollars to Train Your Workforce

$450,000 is available to assist Pierce County businesses to upgrade their existing employees’ skills to increase productivity and competitiveness.

WorkForce Central, the single contact for Pierce County employers to access a comprehensive system of workforce services, is responding to our business community’s need to keep its employees skills current, whether these are soft skills or technical skills.

This investment was competitively obtained by WorkForce Central to benefit our local businesses in a time when employee training funds are tight. A highly trained workforce is key to our economic recovery and overall prosperity. WorkForce Central invites Pierce County businesses to submit a funding request for consideration by February 19, 2010, no later than 5:00 p.m.

Please go to Workforce Central for details. All awarded requests will be announced on March 1, 2010.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2010 Center for Education Luncheon on Feb. 5

Washington Policy Center (WPC) is hosting its annual Education Luncheon (co-presented by the Chamber) on Friday, February 5, at the Westin-Seattle from 12 – 1:30 p.m.

Featuring Rob Stein, principal of Manual High School in Denver, Colo, who will discuss both the Innovation Schools Act as well as his experiences with the newly passed legislation (Manual High School was one of the first schools to apply for Innovation Schools status in Colorado). His experience with Innovation Schools is especially relevant as similar legislation was recently presented down in Olympia during the current 2010 Session. Cost is $35. To register, visit WPC’s website.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

CERB Pierce's Grant

The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) today announced a $25,000 grant to Pierce County for an economic development study identifying potential business development on the Tacoma Narrows Airport properties. This project would allow for an intensification of use of existing industrial land.

As Washington’s strategic economic development resource, CERB is focused on creating private sector jobs in partnership with local governments by financing infrastructure improvements. These improvements encourage new business development and expansion. In addition to funding construction projects, CERB provides limited funding for studies that evaluate high-priority economic development projects. Learn more about CERB.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Economists Questioned About Forecast

Want that last word from the PCEI authors and economists Drs. Bruce Mann and Doug Goodman?

Thursday, about 9 a.m., they'll be on TV Tacoma's CityLine to talk about their forecast for 2010.  This is the live broadcast.

Join Carol Mitchell and Amanda Westbrooke as they host this LIVE, one hour call in talk show that puts you in touch with the activities, events, and services available in our City! (60 mins.)

Mondays, 11am & 6pm
Tuesdays, 2am, 2pm & 7pm
Wednesdays, 4am, & 11am
Thursdays, 9am (LIVE) & 7pm
Fridays, 1am & 8am & 9pm
Saturdays, 2am, 1pm & 7 pm
Sundays, 10am, 2pm & 11pm

Governor Gregoire to Make Special Announcement at City Center Luncheon

Governor Christine Gregoire will attend Friday’s City Center Luncheon to make a special announcement about Tacoma. To accommodate the Governor’s announcement the venue of the luncheon has been changed to the Marriott Hotel Ballroom.

Register now to find out what’s in store for downtown Tacoma in 2010!

When: Friday, Jan. 15th,
Time: 11:30 (registration) 12:00-1:15 (program)
Location: Courtyard by Marriott, Marriott Ballroom, 1515 Commerce St., Tacoma
Validated parking is available in the Convention Center Garage

Thank you to this quarter’s City Center Luncheon Sponsor Absher Construction Company

In addition to the Governor’s announcement, this quarter’s luncheon will feature:

A Community Forecast by a panel of experts from the commercial, retail and residential housing real estate markets, the hospitality industry and the cultural arts sector. Representatives from Windermere Real Estate, Colliers International, the Broadway Center and The Greater Tacoma Convention and Visitors Bureau, among others will discuss what you can expect from each of these sectors in downtown Tacoma in 2010.

The Tacoma Partnership, an effort by community leaders to dramatically upgrade the infrastructure and aesthetics of downtown; enhance the educational and cultural opportunities offered downtown; and recruit and retain high-wage primary jobs in downtown.

The Downtown: on the Go! Transportation Partnership
Learn how you and your business can join nearly 20 other businesses and organizations in advocating for commute strategies that save you money and help get you to your destination faster.

PT Tomorrow, Pierce Transit’s System Redesign
Pierce Transit is in the midst of a complete system overhaul. Come to learn how Pierce Transit is preparing for the future of transit in Pierce County.

Prices: $225 Corporate Tables of 8
$20 Ambassadors pre-paid
$25 Members pre-paid
$30 Members at the door
$35 Non-members/Walk-Ins

Register with Janice Hutchins, (253) 627.2175 or

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Keep Tabs On Olympia

The Association of Washington Business (AWB) serves as the state’s chamber of commerce and prides itself on building a solid record of success in the legislative and regulatory arenas. The AWB membership (including the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber), are a sought-after source with the Governor, Legislature and state agencies for business input on policy matters.

AWB provides several quick and easy ways to keep pace with the Legislature this session:
  • Find your legislator and contact them with one click on AWB’s new site, Washington Business Votes.
  • You can also keep tabs on all of the bills affecting business in our state through AWB’s Jobmakers site. This Web page tracks the progress of business-related legislation and the lawmakers who support or oppose the bills.

Businesses can also follow AWB on Twitter (@awbolympia) or read their blog, Olympia Business Watch and stay current on the latest news and information coming out of Olympia this session.

The Washington Alliance for a Competitive Economy (WashACE) a coalition of Washington business associations and chambers (including Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber), also provides regular analysis, action alerts and information about business-related bills and policy decisions during session.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hopes for 2010

With the tragic deaths of 5 local law enforcement officers and the recent announcement of the Russell Company’s decision to relocate to Seattle, 2009 has ended on an economic and civic sour note. There is no denying that for many individuals and businesses this year has been the “worst of times.”

However, just as the year 2000 opened positively after Y2K fears subsided, so might 2010 open a new period of constructive change and opportunity.

As I take a few moments at my desk as the new year begins to reflect on the past year, I offer my top 10 hopes for a more prosperous and peaceful 2010!

1. Top of mind in the business community is the urgency of an economic offset for the departure of the Russell Company. The cachet of an internationally known headquarters will be hard to replace, but a recent announcement by DaVita that they would stay and expand in downtown Tacoma, the stunning new platinum LEED Pacific Plaza project and several business relocations to the Puyallup/Sumner areas give credence to Pierce County being the right place for quality firms.

2. Also of significance to the regional economy is the hope for continued healing of the domestic economy and increased global trade and accompanying shipping activity at the Port of Tacoma. Buoyed by recovering consumers, feeling confident enough to shop again, the automotive and retail sectors of our community would receive a needed lift. A new Port Executive will doubtless see new opportunities to leverage our Port’s capabilities.

3. A stabilized housing market would give confidence to both first-time buyers and those wanting to move up and would help clear the inventory of condos and lay the groundwork for dormant and new projects.

4. Elected and public officials at all levels should use the economic crunch as an opportunity to examine their priorities, look at new ways of delivering services, perhaps radically revisiting long-held practices, but without resorting to increasing taxes and fees at a time when many individuals and businesses are already financially stressed.

5. The news of outstanding neighborhoods, civic participation and the goodwill of Pierce County citizens will outweigh the recent negatives of isolated criminal acts.

6. The growth and health of our public and private universities and our community and technical colleges will continue. They are key to preparing our citizens for the jobs of tomorrow.

7. The cooperation and commitment to opportunity and achievement in our K-12 system as exemplified by the new Skills Center, will inspire more collaborative efforts, more passion for keeping students in school until graduation and pointing them toward potential careers.

8. The vital role of transportation infrastructure will become more evident as I-5 commuter lanes are built and commuter rail line service to Lakewood takes shape. A hope is that the economic benefits of being a transportation center will begin to drive additional economic planning and benefit for our community.

9. Small businesses have perennially been the backbone of our area’s economy. A hope is that renewed energy and resources will be placed in not only encouraging and nurturing start-ups and entrepreneurs but that existing smaller enterprises will also discover that resources are available to them.

10. Our military will continue to play a huge role as our top economic influence in 2010. These good neighbors not only provide an economic “shot in the arm” during recessions, but the military families and individuals who are our involved neighbors and friends sacrifice a great deal for the nation. A hope for 2010 is that the status of global conflicts will permit more troops to return safely to their homes and loved ones.

We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful areas of the nation and to have so many economic and physical resources close at hand. Despite economic setbacks and occasional civic “black eyes” the area generally works collaboratively toward positive outcomes. That’s a good thing because it will take all of us working hard to turn “hopes” into reality and opportunity. Here at the Chamber, we are committed to a more prosperous future and are taking steps to make that happen. I look forward to celebrating our area’s progress on December 31, 2010.

Guest Author: David W. Graybill, President & CEO, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Claw-Back" Process in Place

The City of Tacoma’s Tax & License Department is notifying businesses that have received the employment credit for new hires of family-wage jobs, of the action by the Tacoma City Council to rescind the “claw-back” provisions.

The economic conditions have forced some businesses to lay-off employees. If the two actions of having received the B&O credit and laying-off some of those employees overlap, the original city ordinance would have required the affected company to pay the tax once claimed as a credit.

Some companies may have already paid the “claw-back” and are eligible for return of that payment. A form for claiming that refund is here too.