Mayor Murray calls on local employers to connect more youth with jobs

Today, Mayor Ed Murray announced a new directive extending participation in the Mayor’s Youth Employment Initiative (MYEI) to all City departments. The announcement marked the launch of 2017 employer recruiting efforts for the program, which connects Seattle youth ages 14-24 with paid internships and employment opportunities. Last year, 17 City departments collectively hired more than 500 interns through MYEI which includes the Seattle Youth Employment Program. These efforts, combined with support from the private sector, served a total of 3,500 youth, a seven-fold increase over 2014.

Several of the city’s largest employers – including Novo Nordisk, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and the Port of Seattle – hired interns through the initiative last year and have committed to participate again in 2017.

“One of the most important experiences a young person can have is on-the-job training and connections to a professional network,” said Mayor Murray. “Our youth employment initiative connects thousands of young Seattleites to job opportunities and helps address significant racial disparities by improving access for youth of color. This program only works with the support of the city’s employers and I encourage more to get involved by opening internship positions in their own companies or funding positions at non-profit organizations.”

At 12 percent, the youth unemployment rate is almost four times the city’s overall rate, according to the 2014 American Community Survey. For low‐income youth, young people of color, and youth who aren’t in school, the unemployment rate is as high as 28 percent. To address these challenges, in 2014 Mayor Murray piloted MYEI to build career pathways for Seattle youth.

“Participating employers provide vital opportunities for the young people they hire through this initiative, and they are also laying the foundation for an inclusive, equitable economy,” said Brian Surratt, Director of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development. “Investing in local talent is the best way to fill Seattle’s employee pipeline.”

To learn more and register your organization to participate in the initiative, visit murray.seattle.gov/youthjobs.

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