Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber sends invites for jobs summit

The Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry has sent invitations to business and community leaders from across Whatcom County for the Whatcom Jobs Summit on Friday, Sept. 28.

The event is designed to bring together a wide variety of interest groups to develop strategies to promote job growth and job creation. Delegates to the summit will spend the day working toward a common mission and action plan for the community.

“We are very pleased that the community has come together around this concept,” said Ken Oplinger, the chamber’s president and CEO, in a press release. “When it comes to economic development, everyone has a different definition, a different idea of what it is and how you do it. But when we start talking about creating and growing family-wage jobs, we can bring people together to a common purpose that they generally support.”

The chamber has created a steering committee for the summit, with representatives including: Ramona Abbott, Futurewise Whatcom; Jack Louws, Whatcom County Executive; Peter Cutbill, Whidbey Island Bank; Mark Lowry, Northwest Washington Central Labor Council; Jim Darling, Maul Foster Alongi; Dan McShane, Stratum Group; Rob Fix, Port of Bellingham; Brad Owens, IBEW Local 191; Cathy Lehman, Bellingham City Council; Jon Sitkin, Chmelik Sitkin Davis; Kelli Linville, mayor of Bellingham; and David Warren, retired former president of the Northwest Washington Central Labor Council.

The steering committee has chosen the Ruckelshaus Center at Washington State University to provide facilitators for the summit. An agenda for the meeting is under development.

The chamber plans to issue a report on the outcome of the summit after its completion, detailing steps delegates recommend for job creation and job growth in Whatcom County.

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