On September 26th a gathering occurred in Rainier Beach where a panel talked about how to create jobs in the neighborhoRainier Beach Jobs Panelod. The event was held at the Somali Community Center (8810 Renton Ave S) and coordinated by Rainier Beach Moving Forward. Panel members who shared ideas included Wayne Lau-Executive Director Rainier Valley Community Development Fund; Frank Martinez-Southeast Angel Investor and RBHS Instructor; O. Thomas Harper-Economist Van Gogh Development; Christie Mouneke-Boardmember Soutjeast Effective Development; Habamu Abdi-Business Owner and Office of the Mayor; Maiko Winkler Chin-Executive Director of SCIPDA.  David Sauvion Rainier Beach Moving Forward Steering Committee Chair and Lance Matteson Executive Director of SEED also presented ideas.

Job creation strategies identified by panelists

  1. Hold meetings like this on a regular base where report outs of job activity in the neighborhood get made
  2. For any project that is meant for the people “in an actual sense” talk to those people. Engage the community directly
  3. Have an organization that assists businesses with technical assistance that can help businesses expand
  4. Bring new businesses into the area, that satisfies the desires for goods and services the people in Rainier Beach have
  5. Allow growth to be organic, not predetermined by a public entity, than figure out the roles of the stakeholders (public, private and nonprofits) e.g., government should create the conditions to make it easier for investors to come in and entrepreneurs to thrive
  6. Entrepreneurial Live Work, home based businesses…the presenter for this idea projects 36 jobs in 12-18 months
  7. The neighborhood must reach a level of subsistence…where subsistence and sustainability cross you will get a fully supported systems that will support each other
  8. Utilize the product innovators in the Rainier Valley and ignite a “maker movement” where ideation energy and ideation scale are matched….the presenter say 18 maker shops and 500 jobs in 2 years
  9. Don’t bring projects to the community unless you are going to hire local people….the coalition organizing around this idea and very close to winning says 500 jobs in 5 years
  10. Retention programs

Success measures for job creation in the Rainier Beach neighborhood:

  1. Number of businesses retained…semi-annual reporting
  2. That any physical development is active, bustling, well used, well-loved and financially feasible….15 years after it starts
  3. Race and Social Justice principles are used by the business…annual review
  4. Dollars businesses invested in themselves…annual reporting
  5. Dollars being leveraged and translated into increased profitability and productivity…annual report
  6. The number of jobs in the businesses and number of new jobs…annual report
  7. The increase in the number of small businesses able to produce financial statements and performance reports….annual report
  8. Number of new business attracted to the neighborhood… annual report
  9. Number of live work unites…annual report
  10. Number of maker spaces online and jobs as a result…annual report
  11. Number of jobs through public work projects…annual report

Other groups in attendance included: Rainier Beach Merchants Association, Department of Planning and Development, Seattle Public Utilities, Somali Community Services, Department of Transportation, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands.

FYI – The coordinator of this event Rainier Beach Moving Forward wants it known that they listened to listened to the neighborhood who said these events need to be taken to the people in the neighborhood….thus this meeting was held at the Somali Community Center and “roaming” RB Town Hall if it were, the first in a series of many. RBMF is seeking communities of color and immigrant refugee communities to host future “roaming” town halls.

The event was also presented by Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition, Somali Community Center, South CORE, SEED, Department of Planning and Development, Office of Economic Development, Department of Neighborhoods and the Rainier Beach Merchants Association