Real industry skills training at no cost.
Through the Youth Web Design program, Seattle small businesses without a business website or limited online presence are connected with local high school students to design modern websites that improve and expand their online presence and business operations.
The Youth Web Design program pilot was launched in 2020 to respond to two emerging needs.
First, as a result of COVID-19 and immediate public health protocols that required social distancing and stay-at-home orders, businesses pivoted their operations and relied on online tools including websites and social media to remain open and connect with customers. Businesses that were without websites and digital tools prior to the onset of the pandemic were further impacted economically and faced higher barriers to getting online.
Secondly, paid employment and internship opportunities for youth were instantly reduced or eliminated, creating an economic crisis for young people who relied on these opportunities to generate income.
In response to these economic and social challenges, the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development and the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle developed this program to educate, train and employ young people, and support small businesses—particularly Black and immigrant owned businesses—ability to stay open, operate in our new virtual reality, and develop sustainable digital tools for immediate and long-term stability.
To date the program has supported getting 30 businesses online and connected with the digital tools for long term stability and trained more than 20 youth. With new funding an additional 50 youth and 50 businesses will be supported throughout 2022.
Throughout the 6-week cohort, participating youth will work directly with business owners to design professional websites that meet the unique needs of the individual business and can be used as part of their professional portfolio for future employment opportunities.
With guidance and instruction from certified trainers, students will produce everything from the design and creation of the websites and corresponding pages for each business, product photos, written copy, social media implementation, content development, and more.
At the end of the program, the newly established or updated website and future management will transition to the business owner.
During the program, youth are taught industry standard skills including HTML, CSS, and JAVA, and will earn technical certification for the coding skills they learn. Youth will also learn social media strategy and marketing skills a part of the training curriculum.
Additionally, each young person will receive paid stipends for participating in the program and will soon earn Career and Technical Education (CTE) credits through Seattle Public Schools that will go toward graduation credit requirements.
The Youth Web Design program covers all website expenses for the first year, and business owners are taught technical skills needed to maintain and update their websites long-term.
“Having a website nowadays is no longer just ‘nice to have,’ it is vital for a business to thrive. Yet, it is out of reach for many small businesses—especially ones that are owned and operated by immigrants and other marginalized communities. In addition to the time needed to build one and the costs associated with maintaining a website, there are language barriers to overcome and a digital literacy gap to bridge. Our work with the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and students participating in the City of Seattle’s Youth Web Design Program gave us the support we needed to get started. We look forward to growing our online presence beyond what we’ve been doing through our social channels,” says former web design business participant Hong Chhuor, whose family owns King Donuts.
“I love what this program stands for and how it helps the youth in learning to design websites while paying them for their work. This is also important because it helps them value their own work and gain self-confidence. I actually have a 14-year old brother who attends Garfield High School, and this is exactly the kind of technology-focused programs he loves to participate in. We look forward to working with the youth in creating our website, and I hope that this program continues next year so that my little brother and more of his peers can be part of it.”
Participating Business, Owner of Mama Sambusa
Seattle Small Businesses can now apply to participate in the Fall 2022 cohort of the Youth Web Design Program!
Apply now for the next cohort!
Businesses interested in qualifying to participate in the program must meet the following criteria:
All Business and Occupation (B&O) fees must be paid in full
You must have a physical location
Selected businesses cannot be a 501(c3) nonprofit organization
Must be located in Seattle, WA
Must have a City of Seattle business license
You do not currently have a website or your website is outdated and unable to be updated
The program will also include mandatory meetings to coordinate the details of your website and connect with a student match. Specific dates will be determined once your business has been selected to participate. Attendance to these meetings is mandatory for the business owner or someone representing the business in an leadership capacity.
Application deadline is September 30, 2022. You will receive a follow-up email and/or phone call within 5 days of applying to confirm your participation.
Students interested in participating can now enroll for the upcoming Fall 2022 cohort of the Youth Web Design Program!
Apply now for the next cohort!
Students interested in qualifying to participate in the program must meet the following criteria:
- Be a City of Seattle resident
- Currently Attend a High School in the Seattle School District
- Be ages 15-19
The program will also include mandatory attendance during designated class times.
Application deadline is rolling — meaning students can apply at any time. You will receive a follow-up email and/or phone call within 5 days of applying to confirm your participation.
Real skill building. Real businesses. Real impact.
Take a moment to meet the first cohort of the ULMS Youth Web Design program! Students in this program worked hard to establish a web presence for 16 local business by learning how to building custom websites for each business.
Students learn web design. content creation. project managing. marketing. social media. coding.
“Students need an outlet. They need a competitve edge. They need to be creative. They need to be able to fill their time up with good things and I think this program allows all of our students to use their artistic flare and design something that will really help a local business owner.”
Finished Website Examples
Here you’ll find examples of finished websites completed by our students for participating businesses in previous cohorts!