Business Briefs — March 2019

Kennewick job fair planned for March 21

WorkSource Columbia Basin, Goodwill Employment Connections Center and Opportunities Industrialization Center Pasco will have a job fair March 21.

Multiple employers from various industries will participate. Job preparation classes will be offered at Goodwill and WorkSource to better prepare job seekers.

The event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at WorkSource, 815 N. Kellogg St., Suite D, Kennewick.

Leadership Tri-Cities applications due April 30

Applications are being accepted for the next Leadership Tri-Cities class.

The program includes 10 sessions focusing on various sectors and industries in the Tri-Cities. The sessions give class members unique access to key facilities throughout the Tri-Cities and provide dialogue and interaction with prominent local and state leaders in the region.

The class meets over 10 months for a full day each month, learning about regional issues, digging deeper with peers, exploring diverse perspectives and building relationships.

To learn more about the program, attend an informational open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 28 at the Tri-City Development Council, 7130 W. Grandridge Blvd., Kennewick. RSVPs are not required.

Tuition for the 2019-20 is $1,400 per person, which covers all fees, meals, session transportation and lodging. 

Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. April 30. For more information, go to

Tri-Cities follows state’s surging retail sales trend

Strong sales in construction and new and used automobiles continued to boost the state’s taxable retail sales in third quarter 2018, including in Benton and Franklin counties.

Statewide, the taxable retail sales increased by 8.3 percent in the third quarter of 2018 during the same period in 2017, reaching $44.7 billion.

In Benton County, taxable retails sales increase 6.2 percent in the third quarter of 2018 over a year ago, reaching $1.08 billion. In Franklin County, for the same period, the sales increased 8.7 percent, reaching $435 million.

Across the Tri-Cities, here’s how much the taxable retail sales increased, year over year, for the third quarter: Kennewick, 8.4 percent; Richland, 4.7 percent; Pasco, 9.9 percent; and West Richland, 10.4 percent.

Statewide, construction rose 11.6 percent to $9.5 billion and taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers increased 4.9 percent to $3.7 billion.

Retail trade, a subset of all taxable retail sales in the state, also increased by 6.9 percent to a total of $18.6 billion, statewide. Retail trade includes sales of items such as clothing, furniture and automobiles, but excludes other industries, such as services and construction.

Taxable retail sales are transactions subject to the retail sales tax, including sales by retailers, the construction industry, manufacturing and other sectors. These figures are part of a quarterly report released in February by the state Department of Revenue. The taxable retail sales figures compare the same quarter year-over-year to equalize any seasonal effects that would influence consumer and business spending.

Prosser legislator back at work after heart attack

Rep. Bill Jenkin, R-Prosser, has returned to Olympia following a heart attack Jan. 25.

“Having a heart attack was a life-changing event. But let me tell you, it sure is nice to be back to work here in Olympia, proudly representing the people of the 16th District,” Jenkin said in a news release.

Jenkin has resumed his leadership role as the ranking Republican on the House Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee. He also resumes service on the House Capital Budget and Commerce and Gaming committees.

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn the 105-day session April 28.

Carson College of Business fundraiser rescheduled

A blizzard prompted the rescheduling of the third annual Point to Success Brunch to benefit the Carson College of Business at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

The event will be at 10 a.m. March 30 at Anthony’s Restaurant in Richland. It was originally scheduled Feb. 9.

Those who have already registered are good to go. If not, registration is re-opened at Cost is $100 per person.

The master of ceremonies will be KNDU Television news anchor Tracci Dial and the featured speaker will be Tim Hanni, an internationally known expert in wine and the wine business, and the first person in the U.S. to earn the Master of Wine credential. He is author of “Why you like the Wines you Like.”

The brunch will include a live auction, a $25 wine grab and $10 game of heads-or-tails.

Anthony’s is donating the venue, food and champagne, so almost all of the money raised goes to the Carson College of Business at WSU Tri-Cities.

SBA offers free small business training program

For the fourth consecutive year, the U.S. Small Business Administration Spokane Branch Office – part of the SBA Seattle District – is offering the Emerging Leaders training program for small businesses in the Inland Northwest on the brink of growth.

The program provides free entrepreneurship education and training for executives of small, poised-for-growth companies that are potential job creators.

This entrepreneurship series includes nearly 100 hours of classroom time and provides opportunities for small business owners to work with experienced coaches and mentors, attend workshops and develop connections with peers, local leaders and the financial community.

Past graduates include small-business owners from north Idaho, the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla, Colville and Spokane. 

Since its inception in 2008, the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative has trained more 5,000 small business owners across the country. The program has grown to be offered in 60 cities across the U.S. this year.

Basic eligibility requirements to participate include: having business annual revenues between $250,000 and $10 million; been in business for at least three years; have at least one employee, other than self; and demonstrate the business is on the brink of growth or transition.

The program is free to small-business owners, but space is limited. There are 20 available seats.

The SBA Spokane Branch Office is accepting online applications at through March 24. The program will run from May through October.

For more information about the program, contact Joel Nania at or 509-353-2810.

Fuse offers eight-week small business startup series

A local workshop series aimed at small businesses called Launch Startup kicks off April 9 at Fuse in Richland.

The weekly series runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Tuesday through June 4. Entrepreneurs who already have started their company and are now looking to deepen their business knowledge and develop a plan for improvement are ideal candidates for the course.

Weekly topics include financial growth and control, sales and marketing, product solutions, team building, building a customer service culture and financial growth and control. Instructors are seasoned business owners willing to share their experiences of success and challenges in growing a small business.

The class is $297 for Fuse members, or $397 for others. Non-members receive free coworking at Fuse for the duration of the eight-week series.

For more information, go to

Annual spring breakfast raises money for 2 nonprofits

A fundraiser breakfast to support Safe Harbor Support Center and My Friends’ Place is planned March 28.

The local nonprofits are committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect by providing a safe and nurturing environment for children and teens when there are no alternatives.

The annual Spring Breakfast is from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. March 28 at Meadow Springs Country Club in Richland.

This event will include a full, plated breakfast and a presentation from Executive Director Karen Kirk-Brockman. Additionally, guests will have an opportunity to learn more about programs from Safe Harbor, Parent for Parents, My Friends’ Place.

For reservations to this free annual event or to become a table sponsor, go to or call 509-783-5734.

WSU Tri-Cities connects professionals to students

Washington State University Tri-Cities is launching a new program geared toward supporting students in their future careers.

Through the program, Partners in Career Development, professionals will be connected with students in their industry where they will have the opportunity to discuss real world career skills; experiences and credentials students should be seeking to be an ideal candidate; and future opportunities at their company and in the industry

Partners also will be able to help students with résumés and cover letters, or help with interview prep.

Employers and professionals will be able to dictate the time commitment they are willing to contribute and the type of mentorship opportunities they would like to offer. Volunteer commitments can range from a one time commitment, to once a week, to a few times a month or more.

The program officially launches March 18. Employers and professionals are encouraged to call 509-372-7433 or email

Expert women explore burden of Hanford cleanup

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Northwest News Network’s Anna King will present her award-winning public radio project Daughters of Hanford at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

Afterward, King will moderate a panel discussion with three of the experts. The event starts at 5 p.m. March 21 in WSU Tri-Cities’ East Auditorium.

Daughters of Hanford is oral histories, portraits and personal archives of women who changed the World War II plutonium production site, and women who were changed by it.

The evening’s panel discussion will feature three Daughters of Hanford: retired Washington State Ecology geologist Zelma Maine Jackson, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Frannie Smith and retired head of Washington State Ecology’s Hanford program, Jane Hedges.

Daughters of Hanford was created in partnership with WSU Tri-Cities, The Reach museum and Northwest Public Broadcasting.

The college, WSU WiSTEM and the Women Chemist Committee of the American Chemical Society, Richland Section, are presenting the program together.

Daughters of Hanford is an award-winning series, a museum installation and a radio documentary.

Listen to the audio stories and explore the full project and photography at

Health and Safety Expo set April 16-17 in Pasco

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Health and Safety Expo. The annual event is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 16- 17 at the TRAC facility in Pasco.

This year’s theme on transportation safety will include specialized displays, distracted driving and vehicle accident demonstrations, bicycle rodeos and free fitted helmets for children.

The expo will feature a variety of booths, displays and demonstrations to promote a proper work-life balance, improve organizational safety culture, expand safety awareness, inspire innovation and apply science to the topic of safety. There also will be breakout sessions on topics that include cyber education, the opioid crisis and proper use of car seats.

Admission and parking are free.

The Health and Safety Expo is supported by the Department of Energy, Hanford contractors and the Hanford unions. For more information, go to or find on Facebook.

Richland Rotary completes Howard Amon beach project

The Richland Rotary Club recently completed a yearlong project to improve a public beach area at Howard Amon Park.

The new Richland Rotary Beach provides access to the water along a section of the community park shoreline.

The club collaborated with the city of Richland to plan and execute the stabilization of the shoreline to prevent further erosion of the beach area. The club’s legacy project marks the 70th anniversary of Richland Rotary, which was founded in 1949.

Richland Rotarians in bright neon “Rotarian At Work” T-shirts gathered Jan. 29 with Richland City Manager Cindy Reents and Director of Parks and Public Facilities Joe Schiessl for a brief ceremony to unveil the beach reclamation project and sign.

The basalt column sign, which features sand-blasted letters, was installed near the Lee Boulevard dock to complement Richland Rotary’s Centennial Plaza gazebo project on the north end of Howard Amon Park.

Rotary work crew volunteers included Roy Keck, Dick Richter, President Bob Tibbatts, Mike Sinclair, Jon Putz, Larry Lowry, Tim Lewis, Gary Scofield, Janet Griffin, Pat Hollick and Phil Lemley.

Public feedback requested on Hanford Lifecycle Report

The U.S. Department of Energy Richland Operations Office and the Office of River Protection have released the 2019 Hanford Lifecycle Scope, Schedule and Cost Report, known as the Lifecycle Report.

It reflects the cleanup work that must be completed under the Tri-Party Agreement and other environmental obligations.

The report is available at

DOE is collecting written feedback on the report through April 15. For more information, go to the Hanford events calendar at

Tri-Cities ranks No. 3 best city for electricians

The Tri-Cities was ranked the No. 3 best city for electricians nationwide, according to a study by Advisor Smith.

The business insurance advisor company’s study cites Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and cold-storage and nuclear power plant facilities for creating plentiful jobs for electricians.

“This area has more electricians than the average city in our study and has a cost of living that is about average,” the report said.

The average electrician salary in the Tri-City area was $82,000, which was the third-highest salary in the study among cities in the U.S.

Topping the list of best cities for electricians was Decatur, Illinois, followed by St. Joseph, Missouri.

The study analyzed cities based on electrician salaries, cost of living and the availability of jobs for electricians.

Nuclear industry holding millennial caucus April 4

Researchers and leaders — especially those early in their careers, including college students — from the region’s nuclear industry are invited to learn, network and join the discussion about “Nuclear Energy and its Contribution to Future Sustainability.”

The Millennial Nuclear Caucus on April 4 is presented by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, in partnership with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the region’s nuclear industry, including Bechtel, Flibe Energy and NuScale Power.

Topics represent the full spectrum of the nuclear field: supporting the existing fleet, designing small modular and advanced reactors, managing spent fuel and advocating for a thriving nuclear future.

The event expo opens at 12:30 p.m. with flash talks, industry representatives, career advice, demonstrations, research posters and tours (space is limited, register in advance). The 4 p.m. keynote, “Rebalancing The Humanity-Environment Equation Through Technology,” by Kemal Pasamehmetoglu, executive director of the Versatile Test Reactor at Idaho National Laboratory. His talk is followed by a panel discussion and a networking reception.

Attendance is free but registration is required at The event is at PNNL’s Discovery Hall, 650 Horn Rapids Road, Richland. For more information, email or call 509-375-3880.

CITC open house set April 11 at new Pasco training center

The new Construction Industry Training Council of Washington training center in Pasco is celebrating its opening with an open house from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. April 11 at 5804 Road 90, Suite K in Pasco.

The center opened its doors Nov. 2 to more than 70 students who are taking part in the four-year “electrical: commercial wireman” cohort. It is the fifth of CITC’s training facilities in Washington, joining others in Marysville, Vancouver, Spokane and Bellevue.

The 9,600-square-foot building, designed by Rhodes Architecture + Light of Seattle, and built by Elite Construction & Development of Pasco, includes three laboratories – two dedicated to the electrical trades and one to the sheet metal apprenticeship – and four classrooms. Absolute Power, Inc. of Pasco was the job’s electrical contractor and Jacob & Rhodes of Kennewick performed mechanical work on the project.

The “meet and greet” open house includes facility tours and light refreshments.

To RSVP, contact Ken Hill, CITC’s Eastern Washington apprenticeship and facility manager, at 509-919-2029 or

Study finds kindergarten scores predict future success

The Children’s Reading Foundation national office, headquartered in Kennewick, recently released a school readiness study that establishes children’s kindergarten starting points predict their academic achievement in fifth grade and beyond. 

The “Readiness for Entering Kindergarten: The Impact on Future Academic Achievement” study was headed by Lynn Fielding, co-author of the books, “The 90% Reading Goal and Annual Growth, Catch-Up Growth” and co-founder of The Children’s Reading Foundation. 

Study co-authors Fielding, Jay Maidment and Christian Anderson analyzed data for 380,000 U.S. students using one of the largest kindergarten to fifth grade student test datasets in existence from the Northwest Evaluation Association. 

Some of the pivotal study findings include: 

• Children’s language and literacy skills on day one of kindergarten range four to five years – some have skills of a typical 3-year-old, while others have skills more typical of 7- to 8-year-olds.

• The majority (76 percent) of children who start kindergarten ahead are still ahead in fifth grade. Most (71 percent) who start behind are still behind in fifth grade.

• Most children (88 percent) who enter kindergarten reading in the highest 20 percent also score in the highest (64 percent) or the second highest (24 percent) 20 percent in math.

• The majority of children (85 percent) who read in the lowest 20 percent also score in the lowest (60 percent) or the second lowest (25 percent) 20 percent in math.

The full study is available online at

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