A “Win-Win-Win:” Research shows impact of private-public partnerships in job training

Photo courtesy Cameron Karsten Photography for Seattle Colleges 2018 marketing campaign at Seattle Central College.

Seattle is enjoying impressively low unemployment rates—the lowest point in 2018 so far was 2.8 percent in April. With so few workers to go around, how is an employer to fill open positions?

The answer to that question, for many employers, is investing in workforce development—that is, making sure that prospective future employees are trained and prepared to fill in-demand positions.

According to a new study from the National Skills Coalition, about 80 percent of jobs in the U.S. require candidates to have some form of training or education beyond high school. This doesn’t mean that most workers will be required to get a four-year degree to be successful. About 53 percent of jobs in our labor market are “middle skill,” meaning they require training beyond high school but not a college degree, according to the same study. However, only 43 percent of workers have the training they need to qualify for these middle skill jobs.

The need for middle skilled workers is apparent in several important industries right here in King County: the Seattle Jobs Initiative projects that there will be shortages of hundreds of workers to fill openings in teaching, nursing and computer support in the coming years, for example.

In order to fill these positions, employers are joining forces with community partners to connect adults with the skills they need to be successful. Community colleges have proven to be particularly effective partners in workforce development efforts locally, and across the country.

Through the Office of Economic Development’s investment in the Seattle Colleges’ Center for Working Adults, (CWA)  the college is working to ramp up its capacity for public-private partnerships. For employers, CWA represents a pivotal partner for talent recruitment, retention, and advancement.

Seattle Colleges have a legacy of developing effective employer-training partnerships. For example, Vigor Industrial is the leading provider of shipbuilding, complex fabrication and ship repair and conversion in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska; they need welders. South Seattle College leases training space from Vigor, administers a welding program, and pays instructor salaries. Vigor currently hires about 50 percent of the students into welding, fitting, fabricating, and other trades positions, and has a list of other employers that other grads are often referred to. An entry-level employee can expect to make an average of $21 per hour as a pre-apprentice.

As a recent report from the Seattle Jobs Initiative details, local private-public partnerships in job training, like Vigor’s, are a win-win-win situation for all parties involved. Colleges improve the quality and relevance of their training programs, students improve their employment prospects, and employers secure a pipeline of workers who have the specific skills they need.

Participating in job training programs saves businesses money. The Seattle Jobs Initiative’s study of Shoreline College’s program, for example, found that businesses saved thousands of dollars on both training and labor costs. Partnering with community organizations is especially helpful for small businesses, which are less able to shoulder the costs of training staff on their own.

The Office of Economic Development continues to support partnerships that bridge the skills gap between workers and employers. Have questions or ideas? Reach out to us at oed@seattle.gov.

Only in Seattle Newsletter – August 2018

The Only in Seattle newsletter is designed to share resources and information with leaders in Seattle’s neighborhood business districts.

In this edition:

  • Invitation to summertime social – Peer Networking at Tai Tung;
  • SODO’s track mural is the longest in the world;
  • Ballard’s Sidewalk Sale is this weekend;
  • Funding opportunities for business districts;
  • Neighborhood Events;
  • and more!

View this newsletter in your browser

Seattle Youth Employment Initiative celebrates employers and youth

Thousands of youth were offered employment opportunities with private and public sector employers across the city through Seattle’s Youth Employment Initiative in 2018. The program has provided 9,624 paid internships for low-income and marginalized young people in the past three years.

“I want to thank all the employers and young people who participated in the Seattle Youth Employment Initiative,” said Rebecca Lovell, Acting Director of the Seattle Office of Economic Development said. “Investing in young workers is a win-win. Employers have an opportunity to mentor their future employees, and young people are better positioned for a healthier, more financially secure future.”

“We are committed to ensuring youth have a window into the economy, through career-connected learning, exploration, and experiences,” Rebecca Lovell, Acting Director of the Seattle Office of Economic Development continued. “We are fortunate to partner with employers who have committed to developing their future workforce, in part through engaging youth in summer employment. Along with our partners, we are focused on ensuring young people of color have equitable access to such opportunities as early as possible.”

To support the effort, JPMorgan Chase awarded the City of Seattle $100,000 this year to fund youth internships and the City’s program that helps recruit employers. With this year’s donation, JPMorgan Chase has now donated $1 million over the last five years.

As a first-time funder this year, Bank of America joined the City’s youth employment efforts and invested $50,000 in support. Bank of America also supports the initiative through employing interns at a number of Seattle-based financial centers.

Swedish Hospital contributed $30,000 to host interns at its offices this year. Other donors include the Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Google, and the Seattle Music Commission.

Through the Youth Employment Initiative, eligible youth and young adults are connected with paid work experience in positions at various City departments and other public and private sector placements based on their career interests. The City is also collaborating with partners to provide other creative career exploration activities for young people, where students have the opportunity to learn about potential jobs and network with employers and workers.

Youth employment provides skills necessary for young people who otherwise would be left out of the labor market and has been shown to have positive effects on lifetime employment, earnings, and net worth.  Internships also help young people build a network of caring adults, practice employment skills in a supported environment and connect their education to career goals. This is particularly critical for marginalized and low-income youth, who may lack family or community networks to help guide them towards a successful career.

“Youth employment is a platform for the future, and JPMorgan Chase is committed to helping organizations make long-term investments in increasing the number of job opportunities available to our local youth. We feel our support of the Mayor’s summer youth employment program is an important way we are helping to build the long-term success of the local economy,” said JPMorgan Chase Chairman of the Pacific Northwest, Phyllis Campbell. ”We take great pride in our history of supporting organizations and programs that strengthen access to opportunities for youth and we commend the important work of the summer youth employment program.”

Partnering with the Seattle Youth Employment Initiative is part of Bank of America’s $40 million commitment to reach 100,000 young adults with job skills and employment experiences,” said Kerri Schroeder, Seattle Market President, Bank of America. “Youth unemployment limits income mobility well into adulthood, so we’re excited this program targets historically underserved youth and young adults in Seattle and provides a unique opportunity to build their resumes, serving as a catalyst for future economic success and mobility, as well as advancing the long-term success of our community.”

Last year, over 3,000 local youth were employed at organizations and companies across the city through Seattle’s Youth Employment Initiative. This year we expect to serve approximately 4,000 youth.

For employers who are interested in working with the City of Seattle to help young people reach their full potential, reach out to oed@seattle.gov.

Career exploration day connects youth to opportunity in the maritime industry

Students aboard the SS Virginia V.

This summer, the Youth Maritime Collaborative’s first-ever South Lake Union Day event provided a chance for youth who are participating in internships or training programs to learn about maritime career opportunities, get hands-on experience with real maritime skills, and explore the history behind transportation and industry in the Puget Sound region.

Sponsored by the Port of Seattle, the all-day event featured hands-on activities from SS Virginia V and partnering organizations including The Center for Wooden Boats, Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), Northwest Seaport, and Puget Sound Maritime. Over a hundred students from six local youth-serving organizations—King County Airport interns, Goodwill Youth Maritime Program, WA-BLOC (Washington Building Leaders of Change), Seattle Skills Center Vessel Operations Program, Port of Seattle and SS Virginia V–split into groups and rotated through several stations throughout the day.

At the first station, students boarded the historic Virginia V and were taken on a voyage around Lake Union. Crewmembers provided narration of departure and docking procedures, gave tours of the engine room and wheelhouse, and performed demonstrations of knot tying and firefighting basics.

A scavenger hunt inside MOHAI was a chance for students to explore the exhibit and learn about local maritime history. The Center for Wooden Boats’ station gave students a chance to row out together on an umiaq (a type of open skin boat, similar to a canoe, historically used by Yupik and Inuit peoples), while Northwest Seaport’s station took students aboard the 1911 halibut schooner, Tordenskjold, to learn about the fishing industry.

Students on the Virginia V learn about the engine’s operations from a crewmember.

The value of this kind of career exploration was clear from speaking with one student aboard the Virginia V expedition. A high schooler enrolled in Freedom School, the student got to know a few crewmembers and had the chance to ask them questions about the ship’s operations. The student expressed a goal of majoring in mechanical engineering at Washington State University: “I don’t really know what I want to do in mechanical engineering, but it’s something I definitely have an interest in.” Crewmembers were eager to answer the student’s many questions about their work, particularly in the engine room, where the student’s interest in engineering was apparent as he asked about all of the vessel’s many moving parts.

On his way out, one of the crewmembers said goodbye to the student with a handshake and a pamphlet with information about the Virginia V’s volunteer program, saying, “Hopefully I’ll see you here in a couple weeks!” Coming into South Lake Union Day, the student didn’t know that volunteering at a place like the Virginia V was an option. Now, he has personal connections with the crew and knows that he will be welcomed back.

That student, and many others like him, left South Lake Union Day with a new understanding of the maritime industry and the careers they could pursue in the field. Over one third of students who responded to an after-event survey said that they are now more interested in pursuing a maritime career than they were before the experience.

Maritime is a huge and vital industry with an aging workforce. In response to this growing need for workers in the industry, the Youth Maritime Collaborative was founded in 2016, comprised of members from the Port of Seattle, regional maritime organizations, youth serving organizations, industry leaders, educational programs and local government agencies. As a team, YMC works to increase awareness of and guide youth toward maritime-related careers through experiential events, high school internships and thoughtful career exploration.

The Office of Economic Development’s partnership with YMC is part of a larger effort to provide opportunities that give young people a window into Seattle’s economy and how they can join the maritime workforce. Employer tours, experiential learning events, and internships expose youth to maritime education and career pathways; events like South Lake Union Day show students first-hand that there are exciting, rewarding, living-wage jobs waiting for them in maritime that they may have otherwise never known about.

Have ideas for other career exploration experiences, or interested in finding out about upcoming events? Contact us at oed@seattle.gov.

Collaboration and community: Recent highlights from the Office of Economic Development

With the first half of 2018 in the rear-view mirror, we’d like to look back at some highlights of the last few months as we look forward to supporting you in your business and in your career.

Our teams have been hard at work for you in the community; we are pleased to report that as of mid-June, the combined efforts of our Small Business and Key Sector teams have directly provided services to 503 businesses. Our “Only in Seattle” team, through community partners, served an additional 374 businesses. In addition to individual contacts, read on for just a few examples of community convenings in which our office is engaged.

Africatown Innovation District Lunch and Learn:  In June, we were delighted to host Africatown in the Bertha Knight Landes Room of City Hall, where over 30 community and corporate leaders met to explore available resources and programs in support of a robust innovation district in the Central District. With a shared goal of preparing underrepresented youth for meaningful careers in IT and the creative economy, participants mapped current efforts, reflected on what is and isn’t working, and articulated their commitment to a more equitable tech economy. We thank GeekWire, Microsoft, HTC, HEREseattle, Seattle Colleges, Vulcan, Social Venture Partners and our City colleagues in Arts, IT, and Planning and Development for their time and energy. We look forward to next steps!

 

Peer Networking Event on Commercial Affordability: In our work with the Mayor’s Small Business Advisory Council, market and systemic pressures continue to make commercial affordability a significant challenge facing small businesses. In May, we convened about 15 business district managers from across Seattle at a local startup firm – Blokable – to discuss commercial affordability. The Office of Economic Development’s (OED) Only in Seattle, Small Business Development and Key Sectors teams, in partnership with the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDPDA) and Onpoint Real Estate Services, organized this peer networking event to share a model for commercial lease education workshops in Chinatown ID and Little Saigon, vet innovative solutions for affordable commercial space, and make connections between business districts.

 

Summer Youth Employment Experiences: As a part of our office’s efforts to provide a continuum of career-connected learning and work experiences for Seattle’s youth, every summer, employers across the public, private and non-profit sectors in Seattle open their doors to thousands of youth interns. We thank the private sector donors who have together contributed over $150,000 to support youth employment this year, and in particular, our valued partner JPMorgan Chase, who through five years of cumulative support, surpassed the $1 million mark in 2018!

Given our focus on equitable access and prioritization of under-served communities, including young women and people of color, we are thrilled to spotlight Zilllow Group’s “Shadow an Intern” event at their downtown headquarters. To better enable high school students to envision their careers and set themselves up for success, youth from TAF AcademyYWCA, and the Seattle Housing Authority enjoyed personalized tours of the Zillow office, and a panel focused on career development tips.

Until the fall, stay tuned to the Bottom Line Blog for updates, but in the meantime, please feel free to contact me if our office may better support you in your business and career!