Legislative Update

The recent legislative session was the longest ever, and for many, the most difficult in memory. Lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on a capital budget. This is unprecedented, and, depending on how long it takes to finally pass the budget, will have far-reaching and disruptive impacts on the lives of Washington residents, on our communities and businesses, and on Commerce. Most projects currently underway will continue, thanks to a

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Connecting employers with Washington’s hidden workforce

We all must work together to ensure that those re-entering the community after incarceration have opportunities for housing and employment and other connections to community. Commerce has been directly involved in re-entry in a number of ways this past year – and we will stay involved in years to come. It is critical that re-entry after jail or prison go smoothly. Successful re-entry improves public safety and reduces recidivism. Commerce

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Northrop Grumman: “one of our best small business events”

Nearly 130 small and diverse manufacturers and other businesses attended a one-day supplier summit with defense contractor Northrop Grumman on July 21 in Renton. Congressman Adam Smith delivered keynote remarks at the event organized by Commerce, Washington State Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance, Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition, and the Washington Center for Women in Business. The event is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to showcase Washington innovation, manufacturing

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Budget cuts gut international trade, business development on the heels of successful summer trade show season

Summer months are often the busiest for Commerce teams and our community economic development partners who help Washington’s key industry sectors and small businesses connect with new business opportunities and investors at home and abroad. This year is no exception, with successful delegations to the International Paris Air Show, SelectUSA Investment Summit, BIO International and a state technology trade mission to Tokyo among the highlights. Unfortunately, deep budget cuts to

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HART recommends ways to address affordable housing crisis

On June 6, Director Bonlender joined a cross-divisional team from Commerce’s Growth Management Services and Community Services and Housing, and members of the Governor-appointed Affordable Housing Advisory Board (AHAB) in presenting Governor Inslee’s office with eight recommendations for reducing barriers to middle and low-income housing production in Washington state. The recommendations represent the initial findings of the Housing Affordability Response Team (HART), which was convened at the request of the

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China-Washington State Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum

On July 20 in Seattle, the Trade Development Bureau of the China Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), Commerce and the Washington State China Relations Council (WSCRC) co-hosted the second subnational forum on promoting trade and investment between Washington state and provinces of China. It was a return engagement spurred by last year’s highly successful gathering. Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib, Commerce Director Brian Bonlender, Chenghai Sun, Director General of Trade Development Bureau

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New Americans program helps community members complete the path to citizenship

The Washington New Americans program receives state funding through Commerce to connect immigrants and refugees to the information and legal services needed to naturalize and exercise their civic voice. Following is the story of one woman’s successful journey to citizenship. It’s one of many similar tales, this one shared by La Casa Hogar, a nonprofit organization serving immigrant families in the Yakima Valley. Maria came to the United States 27

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Washington state #1 economy in America

The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) numbers out this month place Washington state’s economy as the fastest growing in the nation in 2016. With a 3.7% GDP growth rate, our diverse economy continues to thrive at more twice the national rate.