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Nathan Rusch

Equipping immigrant entrepreneurs in the YARD

Nathan Rusch, Planning & Development Services, No Phone Number Available


Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 4:03 p.m.

Equipping immigrant entrepreneurs in the YARD

From its early railroad days, the YARD has continually had a strong immigrant presence. Initially imported to supplement rail yard labor, now this lower-income community's lower rents have become a draw for the more than 450 immigrants that arrive in Spokane every year.

The YARD Entrepreneurship program has been launched to help this community bridge social and cultural barriers and realize the human capital potential of this disadvantaged group. The goal is to bring a diversity of ideas and experiences to the YARD's workforce.

As a part of the Northeast Public Development Authority's (NEPDA) youth & workforce development strategy for old James Hill's YARD, the NEPDA has partnered with World Relief, Spokane Neighborhood Action Program (SNAP), the Spokane College of English Language (SCEL) and the Spokane Valley Chamber to give the immigrant population of the YARD the technical assistance and language support needed to start their own small businesses.

Using the Smart Start entrepreneurship curriculum, administered by the Valley Chamber and with translation assistance by World Relief staff, up to 20 participants will receive the 36 hours of entrepreneurship instruction followed by a full-ride scholarship to the Spokane College of English Language. While participants study to overcome the language barrier, SNAP will provide business technical assistance, alternative credit, counseling and workshops to help develop their small business ideas.

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