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Greater Spokane Inc. Launches THRIVE Spokane

The Community is invited to engage and provide feedback to guide regional economic development vision and strategy for countywide effort

(SPOKANE, Wash.) – Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI), in collaboration with community partners has launched THRIVE Spokane, the development of a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the Spokane region. THRIVE Spokane is a vision and roadmap coordinated in collaboration with community leaders to create a plan for an equitable and vibrant future.

With funding from the US Economic Development Administration and in-kind contributions from economic development partners, GSI is leading the effort with guidance from consulting firms, TIP Strategies, Inc. and Maul Foster & Alongi, Inc.

THRIVE Spokane will identify the community’s common vision, creating opportunities for economic and equitable growth and collaboration across our region. The vision will help shape strategies that address deficiencies and help define growth objectives including programs for small businesses and entrepreneurship resources, talent and workforce attraction, and the incorporation of new innovations and technologies.

THRIVE Spokane is currently in the planning process stage, with the first phase of the project focused on data collection and analysis and community engagement. The project will continue through Spring 2022.

“It’s important to get feedback and have meaningful conversations with all members of our community so we understand what’s important to them and what their vision is for the future,” said Gary Ballew, VP of Economic Development for Greater Spokane Inc. “Our goal is to engage the broadest possible constituency to drive inclusive economic development for our community. This will help us shape a more unified approach to planning and create goals for our region that benefits everyone.”

The public is encouraged to visit ThriveSpokane.org to learn more and take the community survey.

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4 Responses to Greater Spokane Inc. Launches THRIVE Spokane

  1. Bob Scarfo says:

    I am excited about Thrive Spokane and that GSI is working to a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the Spokane region. I would like to see the Thrive Spokane Steering Committee include youth and a selection of innovative and creative thinking high school teachers and administrators in the planning and development process and as working partners in the outcomes. I know the creative energy and power kids can contribute to extending the economic development stream from childhood, through adulthood, and into retirement.

    I know there are periodic university student entrepreneurial competitions. I would like to see that same focus and energy, that same involvement, not as a competition but as an innovative economic development stream, of Spokane’s youth, instilled in the day-to-day Thrive Spokane working outcomes. I worked with university students in Canada and the United States for 40 years. We worked on real projects with real clients. During a three-year period in Spokane, I was fortunate to have teams of On Track Academy high school students working with my university students, again on real projects with real clients. The high school teams did better than hold their own. In fact, embarrassingly, one team outperformed their university counterparts. In a phrase, “blew them out of the water.”

    My idea, my request, is not new. Almost 50 years ago Margret Mead wrote, in Culture and Commitment (1978), to the growing separation of elders and youth and the need, to the benefit of society, for them to work together. A couple of her thoughts:

    “Today, suddenly, because all the peoples of the world are part of one electronically based, intercommunicating network, young people everywhere share a kind of experience that none of the elders ever have had or will have. Conversely, the older generation will never see repeated in the lives of young their own unprecedented experience of sequentially emerging change. This break between generations is wholly new: it is [a generation gap that is] planetary and universal” (64).

    “…we must learn together with the young, how to take the next steps. Out of their new knowledge —- new to the world and new to us — must come the questions to those [older individuals] who are already equipped by education and experience to search for answers” (94). 89

    “The children, the young, must ask the questions that we would never think to ask, but enough trust must be re-established so that the elders will be permitted to work with them on the answers” (95). 89

    Then 36 years later Peter Benson wrote in All Kids Are Our Kids (2006):

    “At the heart of our dilemma with our young people is the evaporation of intergenerational connections. Indeed, Western society — and increasingly global society — has been segmented into narrower and narrower age groups, often pitting one generation against another” (103).

    “Once again, there is an important place for age-specific opportunities. Society, however, has become so age-segregated that these experiences define the world for young people, isolating them from the rich experiences of intergenerational relationships. Furthermore, the exclusive emphasis on age-specific opportunities has increased fragmentation and isolation within communities” (103).

    “If there were only one thing we could do to alter the course of socialization for American youth, it would be to reconstruct our towns and cities as intergenerational communities. Cross-generational contacts would be frequent and natural. They would come in two forms: kids bonding with multiple adults, and adolescents bonding with younger children” (104).

    “Two primary sources of support must be omnipresent in young people’s lives: intergenerational and peer-to-peer….These relationships should include adults of all ages, from young adults to senior citizens, who can be, so to speak, elders and grandparents to young people.. Equally important is connecting adolescents to children in bonds of sustained caring” (104).

    After all Spokane’s youth are Spokane’s future. Why not involve them, truly involve them, in making the economic vibrant future they will be left to live with?

    I would be thrilled to talk with the Thrive Spokane Steering Committee members. As examples to consider, I have four proposals written over the last 20 years aimed at harnessing the creative energy of youth. One proposal targeted insurance companies, one the oil industry and Alberta Provincial government, one East Valley High and the Spokane Business and Industrial District, and one joined On Track Academy students and over 22 health care, manufacturing, and business organizations across Spokane.

    Thanks for your consideration,
    Bob

  2. Joseph Lee says:

    Thank you so much for your new drive of THRIVE Spokane

  3. Thanks for your support!

  4. These are great recommendations. Thank you, Bob! We will be involving youth in the process, both at the college/university level as well as the high school level. We look forward to engaging and getting feedback from our youth.

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