Economic Development & Workforce

City of Tacoma

Tacoma Hilltop Economic Empowerment

Project Details

BDS Planning & Urban Design, in association with Jackie St. Louis and Nissana Nov, facilitated a stakeholder process on behalf of the City of Tacoma that ultimately resulted in the “Hilltop Economic Empowerment Through Construction Careers Model.”

The City of Tacoma, through its Equity & Empowerment Initiative, provided pathways to living wage careers in the construction industry for women and people of color, particularly those associated with the Hilltop community. Hilltop, a historically African- American neighborhood, is a community faced with rapid cost- of-living increases, and related displacement, and is also the future site of Sound Transit’s Tacoma Link Light Rail Extension.

With the help of the BDS Team, the City partnered with residents, community stakeholders, and local industry experts to develop a model to help job seekers overcome barriers to success. Through advisory committees, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, a town hall, and in-person surveys, BDS and the City worked closely with community-based organizations and individuals to understand the barriers faced by individual job seekers, and what actions the City and various stakeholders could take to remove these barriers and streamline processes for securing employment in this field.


“The report articulates the transformational changes necessary to achieve equity and economic empowerment for Hilltop residents and businesses...I want to also thank the BDS team for their focused and authentic effort to engage community members, business owners, the faith community and others during the development of their report.” ~ Hilltop Community Member & Small Business Owner, Eric Alozie

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