The Municipality of Anchorage is launching a new initiative to make the community and the economy more inclusive. The city received a grant to participate in the Gateways for Growth Challenge. The goal is to develop a strategic plan for incorporating new arrivals from rural Alaska and other parts of the world into the city’s economy. Mara Kimmel, the mayor’s wife and a co-founder of the Alaska Institute for Justice, is spearheading the project. She says it’s about more than just getting people jobs — it’s about helping them maximize their skill sets.
“This gives us the opportunity to figure out who’s out there, what skills and expertise they bring, and how we can mobilize those skills to the benefit of our economy. And in these days of shrinking economic resources, it’s really important that we active everybody, and we tear down barriers to marketplace and to our community.”
Kimmel says they will look at things like language barriers and limited public transportation.
The grant and matching funds from the state and Wells Fargo total $29,500. The money will be used to conduct research around the city with individuals and organizations about how to make Anchorage a more inclusive place and to expand entrepreneurship. More than 40 community businesses, non-profits, and government agencies are participating. Twenty communities around the country received grants.