SEATTLE (August 12, 2021) – Building on last year’s success, the Port of Seattle’s Opportunity Youth Initiative continues in its second year, providing underserved youth with jobs and skills training throughout King County, centering its efforts in south Seattle and the south King County area. For this year’s Opportunity Youth Initiative, the Port of Seattle is investing $2 million in four partner organizations – Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Seattle Goodwill Industries, Seattle Parks Foundation, and Partner in Employment.
“Programs like the Opportunity Youth Initiative illustrate the Port’s commitment to leading our region’s economic recovery by centering racial equity in communities hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Stephanie Bowman, Port of Seattle Commissioner. “This program is a direct response to this disparity by investing in training, professional development, and career advancement of those who have historically been left behind.”
The Urban League’s Constructions Trade Program will provide youth with construction readiness training and hands-on pre-apprenticeship construction training in building tiny homes, including certifications, mentorship and career support, and on-site training from the trades industry. The Urban League will in turn subcontract with YouthCare’s YouthBuild, which is a cohort-based, construction, pre-apprenticeship program. The scope of the construction training is to teach foundational construction-industry skills needed to build two tiny homes and help participants earn their Flaggers and Forklift credentials. Another partner ANEW (Apprenticeship & Nontraditional Employment for Women) and its subcontractor LOVE-TO (Lending Our Voluntary Efforts To Others) are partnering to provide pre-apprenticeship training to Opportunity Youth and skills needed to obtain careers in construction trades.
“The Opportunity Youth Initiative is incredibly diligent about ensuring that Black and brown youth who come from low-income families are not academically disadvantaged, but rather, receive the training and support needed to be competitive in today’s job market and earn livable wages,” said Michelle Merriweather, President and CEO of Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. “We’re excited to partner again with the Port in this effort and to do our part in helping with our region’s economic recovery by training the next generation of professionals in port-related industries.”
Seattle Goodwill Industries operates the Youth Aerospace Program training, together with partner organizations, that provides youth with the opportunity to build essential aviation-related workplace skills and then connects them with career opportunities in one of the in-demand aviation industry sectors that interns have chosen to pursue. Youth will be introduced to technical skills like precision machining, composites, 3D printing, welding and fabrication, engineering technologies, and mechatronics, and will have the opportunity to design and complete projects in those areas during their internships. Seattle Goodwill and Seattle Central College will collaborate to provide the Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training (PACT) program, which will prepare youth for a career in the building and construction industry.
The Seattle Parks Foundation will partner with several organizations, including Friends of Georgetown History (FoGHI), where the focus is to build community through historical and environmental preservation. The Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Duwamish Valley Youth Corps (DRCC) will recruit and mentor youth in-person to work on environmental projects related to green jobs and maritime careers. Cultivate South Park’s (CSP) Urban Innovators program will engage youth in bringing about positive environmental change in the neighborhood such as increased recycling and composting, participation in decision making, and environmental stewardship to address better solutions for clean air and water and explore green job career opportunities. While the Duwamish Valley Sustainability Association (DVSA) will train youth to identify environmental solutions through renewable energy and outreach projects such as controlling non-source pollution to the river and solar energy in public green spaces, in addition to providing professional speakers and support in exploring green jobs/career.
Partner in Employment will collaborate with Mid Puget Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group to conduct youth habitat restoration training, benefiting salmon recovery, riparian habitats, and promoting healthy green spaces. Youth will work to restore forests at three parks within the cities of Tukwila, Burien, and Seattle. Additionally, Machinists Institute Youth Academy (MIYA) will provide participants with training in aerospace and advanced manufacturing to gain skills needed for entry-level work and a career pathway into the aviation, aerospace, and manufacturing industries.
During the pandemic, workers in our region with a high school degree or equivalent education, between the ages of 16 and 24, living in south Seattle and the South King County area, and workers of color have the highest number of unemployment claims per capita. With ties to Washington’s key economic sectors, the Port stands uniquely positioned to help lead our region’s economic recovery. The Opportunity Youth Initiative is one example of how the Port is leading that recovery by centering equity and providing opportunities and career development for communities that have historically been left behind.
Peter McGraw | Port of Seattle Media Officer
(206) 787-3446 | email@example.com