The closeness of Corte Madera's community is one of our town's strongest assets. That's why I'm proposing a program that will harness that closeness and use it to the advantage of local workers and businesses.
The Hire a Neighbor Program is simple: a public directory created by the Town in partnership with the Corte Madera Chamber of Commerce and local school districts that connects local customers with stores, local clients with services, and local students with internships and apprenticeships.
Local professionals and locally owned/run stores and businesses would have a page in the directory with a description of what they do, their contact information, and their ties to the community (are they owned by a member of the community? How many Corte Maderans do they employ? Have they donated to local foundations?). They could also indicate if they are hiring, helping residents find local employment.
This directory, which would ideally be hosted in multiple locations (such as the Town's official website and the Chamber of Commerce's website, with hard copies at the offices of both), would empower Corte Madera's consumers and boost the local economy by allowing residents to prefer local businesses over those from outside the community, should they wish to.
For example, residents who need a financial advisor could use the Hire a Neighbor Program's
directory to find a qualified professional here in Corte Madera, instead of driving to San Rafael to consult one there.
The Hire a Neighbor Program also has the potential to connect local students with invaluable work experience and professional training through apprenticeships and internships. Local businesses and professionals could indicate on their page in the directory whether or not they are accepting interns or apprentices, allowing a high school student in Corte Madera to take an internship with a local engineer, instead of commuting to the East Bay for an internship.
Vocational training is a critical mode of education that is often overlooked by today's society, which is why the Hire a Neighbor Program aims to help make it easier for students to find such opportunities.
The Hire a Neighbor Program has great potential to bring the community closer together and grow the local economy, but making it a reality will require cooperation. I hope to see the Town of Corte Madera work together with the Corte Madera Chamber of Commerce and the Larkspur-Corte Madera and Tamalpais Union High School Districts to bring the program's benefits to our community.
In addition to the obvious economic benefits, the Hire a Neighbor Program is also consistent with Corte Madera's environmental goals; when residents do business in town instead of farther away, they commute less, reducing pollution and fuel consumption.
I'm excited about the Hire a Neighbor Program because, to me, it represents a perfect example of the future of local government: low-cost, high impact programs that harness innovation and cooperation to benefit the entire community.
The costs to taxpayers of this program would be minimal, if any—there should be almost no cost associated with establishing and hosting the Hire a Neighbor Program directory—and yet the program would almost certainly become a valuable asset to the town.