Technology
Mia Williams, principal of Aki Kurose Middle School, addresses tech workers and leaders as Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan looks on.
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Mia Williams, principal of Aki Kurose Middle School, addresses tech workers and leaders as Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan looks on.
Credit: KUOW Photo Carolyn Adolph

After head tax, tech and Seattle lawmakers look for ways to mend

Ever since last spring's battle over the head tax in Seattle, it’s been unclear how the city and its tech companies could partner to solve Seattle’s growth-related problems.

A partial answer surfaced yesterday in two meetings.

Durkan’s office announced the first meeting of city’s new Innovation Advisory Council, which included Amazon and Facebook. The mayor's office said the council would focus on the city’s most urgent challenges, acting as an advisor on solutions for pressing issues — which the office failed to define.

But in southeast Rainier Valley, tech leaders and workers joined teachers and students for a more focused initiative: bridging the gap to higher education.

At a news conference in front of Aki Kurose Middle School, Durkan said many of the jobs in Seattle's future are tech jobs that require a college degree. But, she said, an under-resourced school system in Seattle means many young people won’t be able to attain that level of education.

"That's telling our kids: Those great jobs in these wonderful companies small and big aren't for you,” she said. “Initiatives like this, partnering with our kids starts to turn the dial."

At the middle school, tech workers met with students and teachers to talk about overcoming obstacles to academic success and focusing on goals. Tech firms also came bearing gifts: calculators and supplies for the school, backpacks and other gear for students. More events are planned.

Aki Kurose principal Mia Williams told those gathered that the students at her school deserve every opportunity to be part of Seattle’s future as a tech hub.

"We have here at Aki Kurose 650 brilliant babies and they need the support to be able to have a bright future," she said.

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