This is reporter Rachel Pritchett. Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman was a guest yesterday of a Kitsap Sun editorial-board meeting, and from that, I began to identify what I believe is a change in direction he will attempt to bring to the port.
That change might be toward making the port a player in education, in expanding higher-education opportunities here, and even more specifically in the area of four-year degrees in areas such as sustainability. He even spoke of a “sustainability institute” at the port, just for that purpose. The port has had some modest partnership with Olympic College, but the port becoming a partner in education has never been discussed on my watch.
Like many others, Bozeman said our best and brightest young people leave and don’t come back because of a lack of higher-ed opportunities and non-military, non-government jobs for highly trained people.
He’d like to change that, and if I had to guess at this early juncture, he’ll be working to make that happen. And I’m guessing Olympic College could be a part of that, in a much bigger way.
That might mean a reinterpretation of the port’s wished-for SEED project, which calls for a business-incubator building at the port to spawn clean-tech businesses to grow and diversify Kitsap’s employment base. At the very least, Bozeman said he doesn’t think the port will even call it the SEED project anymore.
The SEED program has at least one friend on the Port of Bremerton commission in Bill Mahan, and it remains to be seen whether Mahan signs on to this new education emphasis I expect from Bozeman. We don’t yet know if Commissioner Cheryl Kincer, who seems supportive of SEED, is going to go for a new term. Mahan, after all, has done a lot of groundwork to lift SEED off the ground, including trying to set up a relationship between the port and a WSU-affiliated incubator in Spokane, as well as advocating for a SEED nonprofit board.