Issaquah hosts forum to focus on employment

June 12, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Citizens can join state legislators and business leaders soon at a local forum to discuss the dearth of young adult employment in Washington.

The employment rate is only 43 percent for young adults age 16 to 24 in Washington — the ninth-lowest in the United States, according to government labor statistics. Community Forums Network is hosting forums and promoting a survey to collect feedback on how to fix the problem.

The local forum is hosted by the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, Issaquah History Museums and Community Forums Network.

The forum includes a panel discussion with state Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup; state Rep. Jay Rodne, R-North Bend; and Jim Spady, vice president of Dick’s Drive-In Restaurant. Rodne represents Issaquah and other 5th Legislative District communities.

“Investments in our youth are vital to the health of any community. We want our community to provide opportunities for young people to establish a career and become successful,” Issaquah History Museums Executive Director Erica Maniez said. “Today’s young people are the civic leaders of tomorrow. We’re pleased to be part of CFN’s efforts to bring people together to talk about solutions.”

If you go

Community Forums Network Issaquah Forum

  • 3:30 p.m. June 14
  • Issaquah Train Depot, 50 Rainier Blvd. N.
  • The forum is free and open to the public. RSVP and find more information at the Community Forums Network website.

In addition to the local event, Community Forums Network is hosting forums and promoting a survey through a network of 25 nonprofit community, education and business organizations to collect feedback about how to address the issue of young adult employment.

“In the greater Issaquah community and throughout the state, we are seeing the day-to-day impact of young adult joblessness and the struggle that young people are having in the current job market,” chamber CEO Matthew Bott said. “The new economic reality mandates that we come together to solve this issue, as it is key to our state’s economic future.”

Community Forums Network is a nonpartisan organization created to build a network of organizations as a hub for public feedback. The idea is rooted in the work of Dick Spady, Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants cofounder and president.

“The CFN mission is to discover consensus on major issues and to share those insights with policy decision-makers,” said Carrie Shaw, Community Forums Network executive director. “All we hear about is how divided we are on important issues. We want to buck that conventional wisdom and find consensus on important issues like job creation. It’s a more solutions-based approach.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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