Economic Development in Kittitas County
A word from the Chief Executive Officer of the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce
"The Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce is an advocate for local businesses as well as Kittitas County and is positioned to assist in finding solutions and positive change for the community. By leveraging the collective strength of our members, we are able to influence public policy related to business and economic advancement, as well as the quality of life issues impacting businesses such as those related to transportation, housing and education. Our work in the community and our efforts to enhance the quality of life in the valley continues to be a driving force for our Chamber and its members. We know that quality of life issues are vital to attracting employers and employees alike to the communities in the county and maintaining a thriving tourism economy. Our strength lies in our ability to work together. We invite you to join us in our quest to build a stronger and more prosperous county."
Associate Economic Development Organization (ADO)
The Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce is the Associate Economic Development Organization (ADO) for Kittitas County. Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce is part funded by the Washington State Department of Commerce and strives to provide collaborative resources and economic growth to the county through specific economic development goals. Washington State is composed of 39 counties, each one represented by an Associate Economic Development (ADO) organization that furthers the county's or region's economic development goals. These ADOs are funded in part by the Department of Commerce and their performance and expertise is critical to our goal of growing the economy and building communities statewide.
Why Kittitas County?
Kittitas County is full of contrasted landscapes that serve as backdrops to play and learn, Central Washington is a premier destination for year-round outdoor recreation, education and growing businesses. Along the I-90 transcontinental interstate, Kittitas County covers over 2,300 sq. miles of land with enriched agriculture, historical architecture and and economic development.
Communities We Serve
The community of Snoqualmie Pass traces its history back to the history of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railway as it developed the main line construction from Seattle to Chicago beginning in 1906.
A community called Laconia was developed to house the mountain helper engines, which assisted trains across the pass. The railroad had a turntable, engine house, depot, water tank, passing tracks, while the community had a hotel, bunkhouse, and houses for those living there. Freight and passenger service began in June 1909, and additional services were added in May 1911.
The historic Indigenous trail turned wagon road was designated a state road in 1905 and improved upon, becoming the Sunset Highway in 1913. It was upgraded and dedicated in July 1915 and became part of the Yellowstone Trail Road. In 1928, the highway was shifted slightly from running through downtown Snoqualmie Pass to the existing route of Interstate 90.
Our Major Industries
Higher education and K-12 jobs are important to the local economy. Central Washington University employees over 1,900 faculty and staff, making it the county's biggest employer. State and local government education represented 4,810 jobs in the county in 2016, according to the state's Employment Security Department. That figure includes Central Washington University's student employment.
Ellensburg School District
Kittitas School District
Thorp School District
Damman School District
Cle Elum-Roslyn School District
Easton School District
Central Washington University
Other Schools including: Ellensburg Christian School, Discovery Lab,
Ellensburg Homeschool Co-op and Swiftwater Learning Center
The Business Development Center (BDC) can help residents in Kittitas County make their dreams of business ownership a reality. This space is available for rent for meetings, workshops and more. In 2021 the BDC had more than 500 people through the door for different networking events, workshops and trainings. We have a Certified Business Advisor who also is available for 1-1 appointments to help better support your business. The Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce is a trusted and reliable resource for the community and local businesses.