Career Center Blog

September 9, 2009

Putting Tacoma (and Seattle) back to work


As it has been for more than 100 years now, Tacoma's loss appears to be Seattle's gain. Tacoma managed to secure the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad in the 1870s, but the City of Destiny's fortunes have seemed to creep slowly downhill over the last century.

Today, the bad news for our southern cousins continued with the announcement that financial firm Russell Investments, Tacoma's largest employer, will move its 900-employee headquarters to Seattle next year. After Tacoma and the state offered $148 million in tax incentives to stay put, Russell's parent company, Northwestern Mutual, apparently couldn't pass up JP Morgan Chase's bargain-basement price for the lightly used, 42-story Chase Center, which has sat mostly empty since the Washington Mutual implosion.

The move will be wrenching for Tacoma, leaving a gaping hole in its downtown core and forcing many of Russell's Tacoma-area employees to either double their commute times or find other jobs during one of the worst employment markets in recent memory. For Seattle, the move is only a hollow victory, at best. The Chase Center (nee WaMu Center) once housed 4,000 WaMu workers, so this infusion will restore less than a quarter of that deficit.

In light of the Russell development, the search for jobs in Tacoma can only intensify in the coming months--a perfect time, then, to hold a new job fair. Next week, on Tues., Sept. 15, the Seattle Employment Guide will host its Fall South Sound Diversity Job Fair at the Tacoma Convention Center. The event, lasting from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., is the latest in a series of Job Fairs affiliated with the national Putting America Back to Work initiative, which has a goal of employing 15,000 workers across the country.

Companies and organizations that will be represented at the Tacoma event will include Puget Sound Energy, Skookum, IADT, Waddell & Reed, Nu Skin, Ameriplan, Jackson Hewitt, Isagenix, Arbonne, Aflac, CDL, Zones, Argossy, Primerica, ACS and the U.S. Army National Guard. For more information about this free job-search event, visit the registration page. For some valuable tips about how to make the most of your experience, see the Guide's Job Fair Advice page before you go.

No to be outdone, Seattle will also play host to a free job fair next week. The day after the Tacoma event, Wed., Sept. 16, Choice Career Fairs will hold its next Seattle Career Fair at the Seattle Center's Olympic Room from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Companies expected to attend include American Family Insurance, Gary Manuel Salon, Helzberg Diamonds and many others. For more information, contact Choice Careers' registration page.

Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

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I look forward to participating in the Tacoma Job Fair on Sept 15th. AmeriPlan has been providing Washington residents affordable health and dental care plans for the past thirteen years.

On Sept 15th we will introduce two new non-medical plans in Tacoma.
1)SecureNet: includes Family, Legal Plan,ID Theft Protection,Roadside Assistance and Financial Services.
2)Freedom Pass: discounts on dining,shopping,automotive and recreation.

Bill Simms
Everett WA

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Karen Burns Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.

Kristen Fife Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.

Lisa Quast Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.

Randy Woods Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

Former contributors

Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.

Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.

Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."


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