Seattle Youth Employment Initiative celebrates employers and youth

Thousands of youth were offered employment opportunities with private and public sector employers across the city through Seattle’s Youth Employment Initiative in 2018. The program has provided 9,624 paid internships for low-income and marginalized young people in the past three years.

“I want to thank all the employers and young people who participated in the Seattle Youth Employment Initiative,” said Rebecca Lovell, Acting Director of the Seattle Office of Economic Development said. “Investing in young workers is a win-win. Employers have an opportunity to mentor their future employees, and young people are better positioned for a healthier, more financially secure future.”

“We are committed to ensuring youth have a window into the economy, through career-connected learning, exploration, and experiences,” Rebecca Lovell, Acting Director of the Seattle Office of Economic Development continued. “We are fortunate to partner with employers who have committed to developing their future workforce, in part through engaging youth in summer employment. Along with our partners, we are focused on ensuring young people of color have equitable access to such opportunities as early as possible.”

To support the effort, JPMorgan Chase awarded the City of Seattle $100,000 this year to fund youth internships and the City’s program that helps recruit employers. With this year’s donation, JPMorgan Chase has now donated $1 million over the last five years.

As a first-time funder this year, Bank of America joined the City’s youth employment efforts and invested $50,000 in support. Bank of America also supports the initiative through employing interns at a number of Seattle-based financial centers.

Swedish Hospital contributed $30,000 to host interns at its offices this year. Other donors include the Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Google, and the Seattle Music Commission.

Through the Youth Employment Initiative, eligible youth and young adults are connected with paid work experience in positions at various City departments and other public and private sector placements based on their career interests. The City is also collaborating with partners to provide other creative career exploration activities for young people, where students have the opportunity to learn about potential jobs and network with employers and workers.

Youth employment provides skills necessary for young people who otherwise would be left out of the labor market and has been shown to have positive effects on lifetime employment, earnings, and net worth.  Internships also help young people build a network of caring adults, practice employment skills in a supported environment and connect their education to career goals. This is particularly critical for marginalized and low-income youth, who may lack family or community networks to help guide them towards a successful career.

“Youth employment is a platform for the future, and JPMorgan Chase is committed to helping organizations make long-term investments in increasing the number of job opportunities available to our local youth. We feel our support of the Mayor’s summer youth employment program is an important way we are helping to build the long-term success of the local economy,” said JPMorgan Chase Chairman of the Pacific Northwest, Phyllis Campbell. ”We take great pride in our history of supporting organizations and programs that strengthen access to opportunities for youth and we commend the important work of the summer youth employment program.”

Partnering with the Seattle Youth Employment Initiative is part of Bank of America’s $40 million commitment to reach 100,000 young adults with job skills and employment experiences,” said Kerri Schroeder, Seattle Market President, Bank of America. “Youth unemployment limits income mobility well into adulthood, so we’re excited this program targets historically underserved youth and young adults in Seattle and provides a unique opportunity to build their resumes, serving as a catalyst for future economic success and mobility, as well as advancing the long-term success of our community.”

Last year, over 3,000 local youth were employed at organizations and companies across the city through Seattle’s Youth Employment Initiative. This year we expect to serve approximately 4,000 youth.

For employers who are interested in working with the City of Seattle to help young people reach their full potential, reach out to

Mayor Durkan Announces $1.2 Million for Neighborhood Business Districts to Help Small Businesses

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today joined neighborhood business district leaders and business owners to announce a $1.2 million investment in all 23 neighborhood business districts as part of the Only in Seattle Initiative, which provides investments and staff support to foster inclusive neighborhood business districts that allow small businesses to thrive.

“Seattle’s small businesses are part of who we are as a City: innovative, dynamic, and unique. Supporting our neighborhood small businesses is key to making our City more vibrant, innovative, and affordable,” said Mayor Durkan. “If Seattle is going to continue to be the City that invents the future, we must do all we can to support our small businesses.”

Since taking office, Mayor Durkan has also created a new Small Business Advisory Council, a group tasked with ensuring small businesses have a role in informing policies and programs, and have the access to resources they need to thrive and be part of the solutions to the challenges of growth and Seattle’s affordability crisis.

“Our small businesses are not just an essential driver of our economy, but part of the cultural fabric that makes our unique and sometimes quirky neighborhood business districts, and Seattle itself, so special. Residents and tourists alike enjoy diverse cultural experiences across Seattle, from Little Saigon to Lake City,” said Rebecca Lovell, Acting Director of the Office of Economic Development. “The City and the Office of Economic Development are here to support our local stakeholders, as they create a sense of place and promote ownership in their communities.”

The Office of Economic Development’s Only in Seattle initiative supports investments in neighborhood business districts, and focuses on the following strategies to create strong business districts including supporting current small businesses, business retail and development programs, technical assistance and problem-solving for minority owned businesses, community events, improving public spaces, and creation of potentially new Business Improvement Areas (BIA).

“Beacon Hill has grown mightily since starting out in the Only in Seattle Initiative in 2010,” says Angela Castañeda of the Beacon Hill Merchants Association. “Our business and community have rallied to support major developments like El Centro’s development of affordable housing and micro business space, to local activations like the Beacon Hill Block Party and Dozer’s Warehouse. We are excited to receive additional investment to build on this existing momentum.”

Organizations may apply to a variety of service or grant tiers as part of the Initiative. Districts are constantly evolving and can progress cyclically through various stages of development from organizing, transforming, and established. Districts were awarded funding based on matching criteria in the Action Plan, Business Improvement Area, Racial Equity Inclusion, and Public Space Improvements tiers of development.


More about the awards:

Local business communities in 23 neighborhoods are developing, have developed, or are launching comprehensive, multi-year strategies, in which the city is investing $1 million in 2018.

Aurora Licton Village-$20,000
Ballard -$20,000
Beacon Hill – $50,000
Belltown – $60,000
Capitol Hill – $87,000
Central Area – $104,000
Chinatown/ID – $135,000
Crownhill – $10,000
*Downtown – $15,000
Delridge – $20,000
First Hill – $40,000
Georgetown – $15,000
Greenwood/Phinney – $40,000
Hillman City – $25,000
Lake City – $83,000
Mount Baker – $45,000
MLK/Othello – $135,600
Pioneer Square – $35,000
Rainier Beach – $55,000
South Lake Union – $10,000
South Park – $62,500
Uptown – $30,000
West Seattle – $10,000

Action Plan – $1,000,000 will be invested in 22 neighborhood business districts to deliver programs and services based on one or more of the Only in Seattle strategies from the bulleted list above.

Business Improvement Area (BIA) – $32,000 will be invested in six neighborhoods to assist in exploring or forming a BIA. Existing BIAs have generated over $50 million over the last three years to fund clean and safe, marketing and events, and business retail and development programs across Seattle. Beacon Hill, Belltown, Central Area, Chinatown/International District, First Hill, and Lake City will receive this benefit.

Racial Equity and Inclusion – $44,000 will be invested in six neighborhood business districts that will receive the support of Community Liaisons – bi-lingual, bi-cultural outreach consultants – that offer technical assistance and problem-solving for minority owned businesses in their districts. This service is offered in partnership with the Department of Neighborhoods. Furthermore, a training cohort to assist with developing tools and identifying resources to build equity in their work plans will be developed. The neighborhoods are Ballard, Belltown, Central Area, Chinatown/ID/Little Saigon, Lake City, and Mt. Baker.

Public Space Improvements – $138,000 will be invested in eight neighborhoods with paid on-street parking, predominately low- or moderate-income neighborhoods, or neighborhoods with significant construction impacts for capital improvement projects that enhance the commercial district experience.
Central Area – $25,000 to support businesses during construction with additional signage, marketing, and improved pedestrian access.
Chinatown/International District – $31,000 to design, create and install a mosaic on the Danny Woo garden wall along Main St, and install a new fence in the garden. Also, the historic Filipino kiosk will be relocated.
First Hill – $60,000 to improve safety and walkability by adding flexipave to select tree pits, add additional artwork to existing signal boxes, and expand park activation.
Lake City – $10,000 to expand the mural program with local artists and youth at key sites within the district.
Downtown – $12,000 to improve pedestrian lighting at the entrance to the Westlake Station.
Additional investments at the Ballard Commons Park activation; in Capitol Hill for designing the Neighbors and Egyptian alleyway, and Pioneer Square to replace broken or sunken brick pavers in Occidental Square.

*Downtown is not a multi-year strategy but rather a specific project and is included in the list for recognition as one of the neighborhoods receiving funding.

STATEMENT RE: KeyArena Proposal from SODO Arena Group

The Seattle Office of Economic Development issued the following statement regarding a proposal from SODO Arena Group to renovate KeyArena:

In January 2017, the Office of Economic Development issued an RFP soliciting ideas for the future of KeyArena. The City received two strong proposals from Oak View Group and Seattle Partners (AEG), by the deadline. Those proposals were reviewed by City staff, the community and outside experts against the following criteria:

  • Provide a world-class civic arena (the “Arena”) to attract and present music, entertainment, and sports events, potentially including NBA and NHL events, to Seattle and the region.
  • Provide for Project design and Arena operations in a manner that integrates with and enhances connections to Uptown and adjoining neighborhoods and aligns with the Urban Design
  • Provide for design, permitting, development, demolition (if applicable), and construction of the Arena (the “Project”) with minimal City financial participation.
  • Provide for the continuous, successful, sustainable operation of the Arena as a world-class civic venue with minimal City financial participation.
  • Provide for mitigation of transportation impacts due to Project construction and Arena operations.
  • Provide Project construction and Arena operations in a manner that is equitable for workers and consistent with the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative.
  • Provide for Project design and Arena operational integration with Seattle Center, contributing positively to the vibrancy of Seattle Center.

Oak View Group’s proposal was the strongest of the two, so they were selected. If the SODO Arena Group was interested in redeveloping KeyArena, they should have submitted their proposal during the RFP process, which would have shown a willingness to work with the City on this project. They did not submit a proposal and continue to show no interest in working in partnership with the City.

We are well underway negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Oak View Group, and plan to transmit the MOU to Seattle City Council shortly. We are excited about the future of the Seattle Center Arena and grateful private investors are committed to investing more than half a billion dollars in a venue designed to attract the NBA, NHL and outstanding music and entertainment.

The City of Seattle Launches Arena Community Advisory Group

As part of the ongoing process of evaluating plans for the possible redevelopment of the Arena at Seattle Center into a state-of-the-art entertainment and sports facility that could potentially bring the NHL and the NBA to Seattle, the City of Seattle assembled an Arena Community Advisory Group.

The group’s purpose is:

  • To help the City ensure that a redeveloped Arena would connect and integrate with Seattle Center and surrounding neighborhoods and advise on mobility planning
  • To partner with the City in the development of labor agreements supporting current and future workers
  • To champion “Women and Minority Business Enterprises” policy inclusion in any forthcoming agreements that may be negotiated

Members of the Arena Community Advisory Group include:

  • Monty Anderson – Executive Secretary, Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council
  • John Barr – NHL to Seattle
  • Robert Cardona – Uptown Alliance
  • Andrea Caupain – Chief Executive Officer, Centerstone
  • Evan Clifthorne – Project Belltown
  • Brian Curry – 10 Mercer Restaurant and Seattle Center Advisory Commission member
  • Deborah Frausto – Uptown Alliance
  • Ollie Garrett – President, Tabor 100
  • Nicole Grant – Executive Secretary, Martin Luther King County Labor Council
  • Mike McQuaid – South Lake Union Community Council
  • Brian Robinson – Founder, Sonics Rising
  • Sarah Wilke – Executive Director, Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)
  • Jane Zalutsky – Executive Director, Seattle Center Foundation

The group will meet on an ongoing basis through the permitting and environmental review processes and development of any final development agreements that may be negotiated.

In early 2017, the City of Seattle issued an RFP for the redevelopment of the Arena.  The City chose Oak View Group as the preferred partner and is currently negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Oak View Group. The City Council will review and potentially adopt the MOU later this fall.

For more information, visit

The City of Seattle Denies Permit for Capitol Hill Pride – Bite of Broadway for June 24

The City of Seattle denied a permit for Northwest Museum of Legends and Lore (a.k.a. Capitol Hill Pride Festival) for June 24 on Broadway. The permit was denied after Northwest Museum of Legends and Lore attempted to set up an unpermitted street festival on June 9, 10 and 11th and caused an unsafe condition resulting in an injury of an elderly woman.

In that case, the event organizers were notified on May 11, June 1, and June 8 that street parking reservation and street closures for tables, vendor booths, portable toilets, and other event set up were not granted as part of the permits issued for a June 10 and June 11 free speech event, in which 4 people participated.

The City of Seattle sent a letter denying the permit request for June 24th on June 15, 2017. In the letter, the City of Seattle wrote in part:

Your application for “Capitol Hill Pride – Bite of Broadway” (formerly “Capitol Hill Pride Festival”) is denied.  This is because you have violated the terms and conditions of the Special Events Permit that was issued to you for a march and rally on June 10, 2017, by 1) erecting approximately 60 or more “No Parking” signs along Broadway Avenue without permission, 2) by placing approximately eight or more port-a-potties on the Broadway Avenue sidewalk without permission, 3) by attempting to close the southbound lanes of Broadway Avenue without permission, 4) by allowing event participants to erect tents on the west sidewalk of Broadway Avenue without permission, and 5) by erecting an unauthorized 12’ by 12’ stage on the west sidewalk of Broadway Avenue without permission.

The full letter and supporting documents can be found here:

This decision does not impact the 43rd annual Seattle Pride Parade scheduled for 11:00 AM on June 25th along 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle. Nor does it impact Seattle PrideFest on Saturday, June 24th on Capitol Hill and Sunday, June 25th at Seattle Center.

The City is eager to work with other community organizers who may choose to come forward to plan an event for the traditional Broadway event that is impacted by this decision. If organizers come forward, the City will conduct an expedited permit review process to minimize the impact to the community and businesses.

The City of Seattle has a long history of support for the LGBTQ communities. The City of Seattle is proud to be home to one of the largest and oldest Pride parades in the world. The City was one of the first in the nation to recognize domestic partnerships, to offer transition as a benefit in healthcare for transgender City employees and to protect LGBTQ residents from discrimination in housing, employment, and other public accommodations. Every year, City employees voluntarily participate in Seattle Pride events with their friends, family, and coworkers. The City of Seattle also filed amicus briefs before the Supreme Court supporting nationwide marriage equality.