What is the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce?
The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is not a government entity, but rather a business association in the region. It serves as the largest business association in the Seattle area, in fact, with 2,200 companies and approximately 700,000 workers falling under its purview.
As a business association, the goal of the Chamber of Commerce is to advocate on behalf of business interests in the city, region and country. However, the Seattle Chamber tends to take a broad view on these issues, seeing their role as advocating for the overall health of the region and not strictly just the health of businesses. The Chamber has a few clearly defined goals that it interprets as its mission:
- To create jobs in a sustainable and socially responsible way in the region
- To see that everyone has access and opportunities in the business community
- To be environmentally conscious while doing business
Toward this end, the Chamber advocates on the city, state and national level. In addition to trying to provide resources and information for businesses in the region, the Chamber has representatives at all levels of policy making in order to advance its priorities.
Businesses in the region are not automatically part of the Chamber of Commerce. They must enroll for a fee of $500 in order to become a member.
Are There Jobs with the City through the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce?
The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce does have jobs within its organization, as well as promoting job growth in the region more broadly. Working for the Chamber means assisting its members and the wider Seattle community. As of publication, the Chamber did not have any current openings. However, there were job opportunities available with the affiliated Alliance for Education.
Finding employment with the city of Seattle will be easier by going through the city’s website instead of the Chamber. The city advertises dozens of positions that job seekers can easily browse through on its careers website.
Jobs with the city of Seattle vary greatly, with everything from administrative assistants to animal care officers to economists appearing on the job site. It is likely an average job seeker has skills that match at least one of the positions posted by the city because of the diversity of the employment offerings.
What Kind of Events does the Seattle Chamber of Commerce Run?
The Chamber is frequently running events of all sorts, from professional development to policy forums to networking gatherings for professionals in different fields. The Chamber says they they put on more than 350 events each year in order to help build networks, advocate for policies and allow its members to travel. Here are a few of the events coming up in 2018:
- The Advocacy and Civic Engagement Program (ACE): ACE is a program run by the Chamber that is meant to empower individuals to speak up and make a difference in their communities by learning how advocacy works and how they can work with local and state governments.
- Business Issues Forum: The forum is a monthly, members-only event that the Chamber runs in order to allow members to gather and discuss relevant business issues with each other. Members get the opportunity to get involved on issues they are interested in, strengthen their networking connections and hear from local leaders and influencers.
- 2018 Intercity Study Mission to Denver: The study mission is an example of the type of travel opportunities that the Chamber offers to members and others in the region interested in learning more about business and related issues. Some of the topics for 2018’s study include: arts and culture, smart cities technology, regional collaboration, education, economic development, government, healthcare and much more.
- Executive Speaker Series: Tourism: Experiences and Short-term Rentals: The Executive Speaker Series is an ongoing series put on by the Chamber to allow experts to come share business wisdom and insights with the community. The speakers generally address hot topics in business, such as the impact of short-term rentals on the tourism and hotel business.
This is just a small sampling of the types of events the Chamber runs all year. The events are often open to both members and non-members. Many require an entry fee (this varies greatly depending on the type of event). Events are a great way to meet members of the Chamber and get a feel for what the Chamber does and what its members believe in. Check the event calendar often for updates and new event listings.
Which Policies Does the Chamber of Commerce Advocate for?
The Chamber is outspoken on issues related to businesses in the region. They encourage members and non-members to take action on policies they are passionate about on the city, county, state and federal levels. The Chamber’s website lays out its policies in detail, but its broad areas of interest are:
- Business Climate
- Regional Collaboration
- Land Use and Housing
- Gender Equity
- International Trade
- Industry Specific Advocacy
At any given time, the Chamber may be pushing for any or all of these issues. A current campaign includes a push to get funding for Sound Transit and a proposal to help small and medium sized manufacturers in the region.
In general, the Chamber is in favor of expanding infrastructure, including public transportation such as Sound Transit. The Chamber also pushes for educational policies that can help keep the workforce in the area among the top in the nation.
When it comes to elections, the Chamber endorses CASE, the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy. CASE has outlined a few criteria for endorsing a candidate in any election. These include:
- Improving traffic and transit in the area
- Reducing homelessness through long-term systemic reforms
- Job growth
- Increased housing
- Better wages
- Responsible growth as the city continues to expand
Why Do Organizations Join the Chamber?
Membership in the Chamber is open to “any business or organization interested in increasing their presence” in the Seattle area. The Chamber has a tiered membership formula that allows for a more customized approach.
However, at all levels, businesses can participate in the business community created by the Chamber, get access to member-only events run by the chamber and showcase news about their business on the Chamber’s Member News page. Memberships are also appealing to organizations because they allow access to a network of other businesses and affiliate organizations and open up ways of influencing local and state elected officials through advocacy.
Higher levels of membership include perks like inclusion in the Chamber Board of Trustees, the ability to create events with the Chamber and access to Chamber facilities like the Events Center.
The exact benefit for any organization depends on how what level of membership they pay for and what they’re hoping to get out of joining the Chamber.
What Types of Organizations Join the Chamber?
Many businesses in the area are part of the Chamber, including:
- Kiro 7
- Adobe Systems
- The Seattle Times
- Pacific Northwest Ballet
- The University of Washington
This is a very brief listing of some of the businesses who are current members of the Chamber. Members span all industries, from technology to media to nonprofits to agriculture. A full list is found here.