College2Career Event #1–Bellevue City Hall

By inviting guest speakers with different career backgrounds and in different age groups, the LMC College2Career program aims to provide high schoolers an opportunity to gain insights into real-world careers so that they could better identify their true career passion, select college majors that suit their own interests, and facilitate their future career development. From the stories of our guest speakers, we learn together how to achieve personal goals while serving our community at the same time.

Join Bailing Hou, the founder of College2Career, and his team on their first visit to the Bellevue City Hall, and let’s see how people work in a local government!

Below is the event summary:

Part I: Civic Engagement

On April 12, 2022, a group of over twenty high/middle school volunteers from Little Masters Club organized by our C2C program visited the Bellevue City Hall. It was only the second week that staff officially returned to the office in the City Hall since Covid, we were very honored to be the first group of visitors.

We were greeted by Mr. Mike McCormic-Huentelman, Assistant Director of Neighborhood Services. He welcomed us in the City Chamber and explained the government’s fundamental function by quoting Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address that “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. We also learned that residents of Bellevue are welcome to give their opinions; actually, they have a 3-minute speech opportunity every Monday in the City Chamber, because it is important to get their voice heard and their opinions adopted into the government’s planning and decision-making. This is how democracy works.

Following the City Chamber visit, we had an interactive workshop on learning how the Bellevue city government makes a long-term Bellevue 2044 Comprehensive Plan to strategically sustain the city’s development and to get the residents’ involvement in the process.

(Photo Credit: City of Bellevue)

Why We Need a Long-term Planning?

Can you believe that the population in the Puget Sound region is expected to add 1.8 million more people by 2050, based on the current 4 million in size?

(Data Source and Photo Credit: City of Bellevue)

As a metropolitan center in the region, Bellevue is growing fast. The population in Bellevue has increased from less than 6,000 people in 1953 to more than 152,000 in 2021, and it is still growing.

(Data Source and Photo Credit: City of Bellevue)

Bellevue is also becoming more diverse and global. 50% of Bellevue residents are non-white, and 71% of them were born outside of the United States.

(Data Source and Photo Credit: City of Bellevue)

What’s In the Bellevue 2044 Comprehensive Plan

To address the needs of a growing population and to make sure our city remains a livable, welcoming, and vibrant place, the government needs a long-term strategic plan as the city’s primary guidance for development. There comes the Bellevue 2044 Comprehensive Plan. It focuses on the city’s development in the next twenty years.

“It ensures that people who live, work, and play in Bellevue:

  • Can find a variety of housing options
  • Enjoy parks and green space
  • Have access to job and economic opportunity
  • Are able to get around using all kinds of transportation options
  • And so much more!”

(Quoted Paragraph, Data Source, and Photo Credit: City of Bellevue)

 Who Will Use the Comp Plan?

The Bellevue 2044 Comp Plan is a high-level document that sets direction and provides guidance for decision makers such as city council members, board and commission members, and staff when they set regulations, plans, and programs on every aspect of the city’s development, all the way from job opportunities, housing, transportation, safety to public facilities, parks, recreations, and climate change.

(Data Source and Photo Credit: City of Bellevue)

What Can We Do? – Share Our Vision for the Future

Therefore, it is important to let the City hear our opinions and suggestions in the planning. And the City warmly welcomes voices from all residents and different groups. We can get our voice heard by:

  • Fill out the Bellevue 2044 Com Plan questionnaire online:

English: https://www.engagingbellevue.com/bellevue-2044-vision/survey_tools/bellevue-2044-vision

Chinese: https://www.engagingbellevue.com/bellevue-2044-vision/survey_tools/bellevue-2044-chinese-simplified;

  • Encourage our family members, friends, and neighbors to answer the questionnaire both online and in hard copies;
  • Help promote the Com Plan on social media;
  • Participate or volunteer at city workshops or outreach events

Part II: Career Development

After the Com Plan session, We were very honored to have Ms. Brooke Brod, the Community Engagement Lead; Ms. Elizabeth de Regt, Senior Planner; Ms. Thara Johnson, Planning Manager; and Ms. Michelle DeGrand, Deputy Communications Officer from the City as our guest speakers for the career development panel, who generously answered our questions and shared with us their working experience and career tips.

The city government is composed of 13 departments, ranging from Attorney’s Office, Clerk’s Office, community development, finance, and human resources to fire, police, and facilities.  There are about 800 people working in the City Hall, while a total of about 4,000 employees working all over the city.

(Data Source and Photo Credit: City of Bellevue)

Q1: What was Your Major in College and What Did You Do Before Working for the City?

  • Different college majors: Fine Arts, Communication, Political Management, Architecture, and more.
  • Diversified working experience: political campaign, private companies, TV news reporter, public management, and more.

Q2: How is a College Major Important to Your Current Job?

  • For some professions, a specific degree or major is needed;
  • In some positions, the City hires people from different majors, while relevant working experience matters much;
  • Get some volunteering or internship experience. It is truly important to understand what your interests are and how to align them with your job;
  • Volunteering is also a good way to meet people, who can answer your questions and give you advice, and maybe recommend you more volunteering and internship opportunities;
  • Take some classes and learn some skills other than your major to discover what you are interested in.
  • Stay being curious and always want to learn more;
  • Find your passion and pursue the things that you like doing.

Q3: Why did you choose to work for the government?

  • Guest speakers have different career paths, but they all agree that they come to work for the City of Bellevue to make our community a better place.

Part III: Participant Feedback

Jason Z., incoming freshmen: “after hearing from these civil officials and their experiences, it’s just amazing to learn how simple engagement from the community can make a great change. “

Serena C., Junior: “things I learned from this event is that what’s important about your job is your passion about what you are doing, especially if you are working for a government, if you care about your community and if you would like to help your community be better and always.”

Parents: “This event is very meaningful. More of such type of events are appreciated.”

After the visit to the City Hall, our LMC young volunteers actively promoted the Bellevue 2044 Comprehensive Plan to our families, friends, and neighbors around. We collected a total of 123 completed surveys from our community and presented people’s opinions and feedback to the City.

It’s never too early to serve our community, no matter what age. Come join us!

Editor: Bailing Hou