OneEastside’s Community Initiatives include:
The creation of affordable housing for middle class workers with families is a driving need for our economic recovery and resiliency building efforts. Workforce talent has long been a selling point in the attraction of new companies to East King County. In 2020, COVID-19 sparked the transformation of the tech industry and its evolution into an adaptive work environment where remote working is commonplace. Employees can now work from anywhere, and we see this in the housing boom in Pierce and Snohomish counties. This change will affect the number of employees at our larger tech companies and campuses. In turn, this will drastically affect small businesses that depend on foot traffic from our major employers.
Even before COVID-19, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook committed hundreds of millions of dollars to provide affordable housing options to our communities. Local governments will need to respond with code and comp plan changes in order to incentivize the private sector to meet this need and respond to this opportunity. Working together, we need to find effective solutions that work here in East King County and that will help retain our talent.
OneEastside SPARK: East King County was the first COVID-19 epicenter in the nation. Our eastside businesses were hit first, and they were hit hard. OneRedmond quickly scaled its OneEastside program to assist as many businesses as possible, and created the Eastside Recovery Hub, a one-stop-shop for the latest information and resources for small businesses and non-profits. OneEastside SPARK continues this recovery work while expanding resiliency building efforts in collaboration with East King County’s 23 cities and towns, and supporting organizations including chambers of commerce, higher education, non-profits, and state and county government. SPARK provides responsive programing and tools to address key areas of need amongst small businesses and non-profits in East King County as they evolve.
OneRedmond is the preeminent economic development organization in East King County and is renowned for supporting and meeting the unique needs of the business community. Formed through the merger of the Redmond Chamber of Commerce, the Redmond Economic Development Alliance, and the Redmond Foundation (501c3), OneRedmond is distinguished in East King County by the expanse of our mission. Our public/private partnership is the contract economic development arm of the City of Redmond and this is the differentiating factor from other organizations in the region.As remote working becomes the norm for our major tech employers, other states and countries are regularly attempting to recruit our innovative companies and our talent. As the leader for economic development through the established OneEastside program, OneRedmond is well-positioned to tackle these and other big issues for the regional business community and proactively drives economic and community recovery and resiliency.
Our education system, including technical and community colleges, is a resource for our region’s recovery and future prosperity. We need to ensure that the existing labor force can meet the growing skills requirements of the marketplace and prepare our children for the future’s employment opportunities. Intentional actions also must be placed to increase the opportunities and positive outcomes for black, indigenous, and people of color. Now facing some of our highest unemployment rates, and a new King County workforce development strategy in place, we work hard to continue to connect industry to education to nurture our talent pipeline.
A large percentage of Eastside workers cannot afford to live close to work and faces long commutes from more affordable areas, even with the advent of light rail. Significant investments in public transit between Eastside communities and in our highway system are needed.