Mark Vasconi appointed to lead Washington State Broadband Office

Mark Vasconi appointed to lead Washington State Broadband Office

Digital equity focus, successful work with rural and underserved communities, position new director to continue advancing state’s ambitious goal of broadband access for all by 2024. OLYMPIA, WA — Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed Mark Vasconi to serve as director of the Washington State Broadband Office within the Department of Commerce. Vasconi comes to the job with significant public and private sector experience in telecommunications. During more than a decade…

Washington Community Economic Revitalization Board lands $65 million in new capital budget

Washington Community Economic Revitalization Board lands $65 million in new capital budget

Clallam, Pacific, Spokane and Yakima Counties awarded latest round of $200,000 in CERB planning grants today OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) received $40 million for economic development funding and $25 million for community broadband funding in the 2022 supplemental capital budget. These historic levels of funding arrive as CERB celebrates 40 years and will assist rural communities and Tribes in building their economic futures.…

Washington Community Economic Revitalization Board invests $5.1 million in four counties

Washington Community Economic Revitalization Board invests $5.1 million in four counties

Port of Pasco clean energy project, expected to create over 400 jobs, is among four projects approved for funding at the CERB January meeting. OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) today approved $3,937,996 in low-interest loans and $1,136,999 in grants for economic development and public infrastructure improvements. Projects awarded funding are located in Franklin, Jefferson, Okanogan, and Skamania counties and will spur business growth and…

Commerce expands team dedicated to promoting equitable opportunities for underserved communities and small businesses

Commerce expands team dedicated to promoting equitable opportunities for underserved communities and small businesses

Yakima’s Jessica Camacho to lead statewide Small Business Resiliency Network; Karlena Brailey and Norma Chavez take on community engagement posts in the Olympic Peninsula and south central regions. OLYMPIA, WA — Three recent hires by the Washington State Department of Commerce significantly increase the agency’s Community Engagement and Outreach team dedicated to promoting equity and opportunity for rural and underserved communities, small businesses and organizations. Jessica Camacho of Yakima will…

With groundwater supplies in dire straits, Columbia Basin communities mobilize together to preserve their future

With groundwater supplies in dire straits, Columbia Basin communities mobilize together to preserve their future

Disparate groups unite to advocate for sustainable water resources their mid-Columbia communities need to survive. Longtime residents of Columbia Basin farming communities in Lincoln, Franklin, Adams and Grant counties understand deeply that water is precious. They’re in the heart of central Washington’s rich agriculture region that feeds not only our state, but the world, with wheat, potatoes and many other staple crops. For generations, much of their water has come…

Historic budget accelerates investments in helping businesses, families and local governments rebound and grow

Historic budget accelerates investments in helping businesses, families and local governments rebound and grow

As you are likely aware by now, the 2021-23 state biennial budget makes historic investments in Washington’s recovery and growth trajectory coming out of the pandemic. At Commerce, we are preparing for significant work ahead as we implement a $2.7 billion operating budget and $2.4 billion in capital funding. Our team is growing – we’re recruiting exceptional team members, so I invite you to check out and share positions currently…

State teams with Premera Blue Cross to invest $2.24 million to increase rural mental health crisis care capacity

State teams with Premera Blue Cross to invest $2.24 million to increase rural mental health crisis care capacity

Unique public-private partnership funds capital grants that will create more options for people to get multiple levels of crisis stabilization care locally in communities throughout the state OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced $2.24 million in capital grants to three behavioral health care providers across the state. Funding is provided through an innovative partnership with Premera Blue Cross – the first of its kind in…

Commerce awards $75,000 to address housing affordability in three rural communities

Commerce awards $75,000 to address housing affordability in three rural communities

Othello, Stevenson and Cowlitz County will use grant funds to develop housing action plans and adopt municipal code changes to make it easier for rural residents to find housing they can afford.   OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Department of Commerce has awarded growth management grants of $25,000 each to Othello, Stevenson and Cowlitz County to help the communities address housing affordability. “These grants support and strengthen communities in their…

Commerce awards $10.5 million for vital infrastructure projects in 25 rural communities

Commerce awards $10.5 million for vital infrastructure projects in 25 rural communities

Community Development Block Grants will help fund high-priority local projects throughout Washington state OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Department of Commerce announced that 25 rural cities and counties will receive a total of more than $10.5 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for 2019. Twenty-seven projects were selected from 41 grant applications requesting over $20 million. The projects awarded funding will improve water and sewer systems, streets, community…

Community visits validate strength in partnerships

Community visits validate strength in partnerships

Summertime is perfect for getting out on the road to check in with the many partners who help Commerce fulfill our mission of strengthening communities. I enjoy nothing more than learning directly from individuals and organizations across the state how we are doing and how we can do better at improving the lives of the people we serve. There are too many highlights to talk about in this brief update…