Economic Opportunity

Seattle’s regional economy is strong and growing, with opportunities for high-quality jobs in multiple sectors. While these trends are promising, economic opportunity remains uneven across our region with substantial and persistent disparities by race, age and place. However, with a growing need for well-trained employees, a large share of small-to-midsized businesses and creative solutions from stakeholders across the region, Greater Seattle is uniquely positioned to disrupt longstanding patterns of economic inequity.

Learn more (pdf) about the Economy element. 

Living-wage jobs

To create economic opportunity, we use a strategy of expanding access to opportunity and remove barriers to employment by creating educational and training pathways to stable, living wage jobs. These efforts are bolstered by supporting partnerships between industry and educational institutions to help make training programs more accessible and affordable.

Strategy Approaches:

  1. Prepare people for living-wage, high-demand careers through programs at community and technical colleges, including apprenticeships and earn-while-you-learn programs
  2. Provide support for low-income adults pursuing post-secondary education, such as connecting them to affordable childcare, career coaches, academic counselors and technology
  3. Improve the overall training system to better serve students and workers, increase access and coordination, and encourage partnerships between industry and educational institutions

Small and start-up businesses

One of our strategies to create economic opportunity is to build local strength by investing in small businesses and start-up enterprises in underserved communities and supporting efforts to rewrite the rules that enforce long-standing disparities in access to capital. 

Strategy Approaches:

  1. Support business development services that advance the business ownership skills of new entrepreneurs and expand their ability to access broader markets. Prioritize organizations that are community-driven or include robust community input and support
  2. Invest in organizations that offer affordable financial products and access to capital for people of color, women and other underserved communities through Community Development Financial Institutions
  3. Increase impact investing to partner with Community Development Financial Institutions in lending to small businesses
  4. Support policy efforts that address lending practices resulting in disparate outcomes and access to loans and capital, channel public support to Community Development Financial Institutions and community-based lending organizations, and open access to government contracting opportunities

Job quality for low-wage workers

We use a strategy of promoting economic resilience by supporting solutions that improve job quality to create a stronger economy and help families weather economic changes.

Strategy Approaches:

  1. Support workforce strategies that improve job quality and allow low-wage workers greater economic resiliency, including higher safety and training standards, access to career ladders and predictable schedules
  2. Promote policy and systems change that fosters economic inclusion, such as improved benefits and protections against wage theft
  3. Support efforts that promote and reward business committed to high-quality employment for workers and their families
  4. Expand programs that help low-income families build savings, reduce debt, and increase financial resiliency

You can increase your impact by donating to our Economic Opportunity Fund and connecting with one of our philanthropic advisors to meet your giving goals.