Manufacturing Workforce in Seattle-King County to Receive Grant from National Fund for Workforce Solutions

Seattle among two workforce collaboratives to receive grant supporting on-the-job training in advanced manufacturing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Fund for Workforce Solutions has announced that two workforce collaboratives in its network—Seattle, Washington and Sarasota, Florida—will each receive $125,000 in grants for on-the-job training in high-demand advanced manufacturing skills.

The two-year investment, made possible by The Boeing Company, will provide support for participating employers to train new and incumbent workers in the skills needed to remain competitive. The training programs will help manufacturing companies fill vacancies while advancing current employees into positions with higher skills and higher wages. The program will prioritize racial and gender diversity in the workforce and will develop employer leaders who commit to building a sustainable career development system.

Seattle-King Workforce Funders Collaborative, in partnership with the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee, will use on-the-job training resources to connect underserved populations – especially young adults, women, and people of color – to advanced manufacturing jobs and registered apprenticeship training that lead to family-sustaining careers.

A total of five communities are participating in the program, with three having been selected in 2018.

“The National Fund is excited to expand this successful on-the-job training program,” said Dr. Pam Howze, director of work-based learning at the National Fund. “Since we started this Boeing-funded work in August 2018, 54 workers have successfully completed on-the-job training programs in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Wichita. We know we will have continued success in Sarasota and Seattle.”

Each local partner will design job training strategies tailored to their labor market, employer partners, and unique needs.

Read the press release from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.

Kaiser Permanente Awards $350,000 to Expand Youth Apprenticeship

Partnerships throughout the community focus on scaleable, equity-focused impact

On May 22nd the Kaiser Permanente Health Plan of Washington announced a generous grant of $350,000 to the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (WDC) to expand apprenticeship opportunities in in-demand sectors for opportunity youth. "We’re pleased to have so many partners on-board as we take on this project,” said Marie Kurose, new CEO of the WDC. “It’s exciting to bring our focus on high-quality training and high-demand jobs into a community like South King County, where those resources, combined with a commitment to equitable outcomes, can have a huge impact on the lives of opportunity youth."

The WDC, in partnership with Puget Sound Educational Services District (PSESD), the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC), and Seattle Education Access (SEA), will develop a scalable system  that connects low-income youth and young adults to high demand registered apprenticeship pathways, with an initial focus on manufacturing and healthcare. “The continued conversations around regional strategies and the integration of current systems to assist in the expansion of registered apprenticeship opportunities for all youth in multiple industries is both important and exciting.” Demetria “Lynn” Strickland, Executive Director, AJAC. 

Partners will form an opportunity youth apprenticeship consortium, bringing together apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, service providers, youth re-engagement centers, and other interested partners to better understand the challenges facing young people when entering apprenticeship.

Across the two-year grant emphasis will be placed on building pathways for opportunity youth to enter healthcare apprenticeships. With new apprenticeships starting up in Medical Assisting and other occupations, the timing couldn’t be better. “There is tremendous momentum for the apprenticeship model in our region,” said Kim Wicklund, Director of Community Health at Kaiser Permanente. “We are delighted that the Consortium is looking at apprenticeship opportunities through the lens of equity and supporting disengaged youth in accessing such important programs. These young adults play an important role in the healthcare workforce of the future.”

Research shows that there are 19,000 young people ages 16 to 24 that are not in school and not working across south King County, the target area for these resources. Through access to apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship, young people with barriers to employment like housing insecurity, justice involvement, and food scarcity will enter the workforce prepared to succeed.

By working with dropout re-engagement centers and recruitment partners, the consortium will ensure a diverse set of prospective apprentices hear about pathways to living-wage careers. PSESD's role across school districts will ensure that a referral and placement system will be designed with long-term programmatic sustainability in mind, accessing funding sources like Open Doors.

Youth apprenticeship transforms how education systems prepare young people to enter careers and launch into adulthood through mutually beneficial partnerships across schools, industry, and communities. These partnerships create opportunities for young people to finish high school, start their postsecondary education at little-to-no cost, complete paid work experience alongside a mentor, and start along a path that broadens their options for the future. 

The work supported by the Kaiser grant will be closely aligned with the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship grant awarded by New America to the Construction Center of Excellence at Renton Technical College. Both grants will seek to build regional capacity for in-school and out-of-school youth to access and succeed in apprenticeship pathways. "We have been honored to be a part of expanding registered apprenticeship opportunities across industries and beyond the traditional trades programs," said Shana Peschek, Director of the Construction Center of Excellence. "Supporting the Workforce Development Council of Seattle King County on their Kaiser grant is another opportunity to align the work we are doing under the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship grant for youth in apprenticeship.  This work will focus on equity and access for youth, opportunity youth and young adults to gain living wage career opportunities through a registered apprenticeship pathway. These two funding mechanisms will bring together agencies in synchronized efforts for systemic change. It’s exciting to be a part of!"

Grant by the numbers:

2 – initial occupations of focus, manufacturing and healthcare

5 – employers hire opportunity youth apprentices

15 – opportunity youth enter apprenticeship

75 – youth enter pre-apprenticeship or other pre-employment training

150 – out-of-school youth learn about manufacturing apprenticeship pathways

Meet Kristen Fox, New WDC Board Chair

In a recent board election, Kristen Fox was voted Chair for a 2-year term. Kristen has served as a board member since 2018, and we are excited for her to bring her business intelligence and acumen, in addition to her compassion, to this leadership role.

We recently profiled Kristen’s professional journey in healthcare and her pathway to workforce development. Read on to learn more:


Kristen Fox serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer at Swedish Health Services, where she works to plan and implement long­term workforce strategy in the midst of a constantly evolving industry. Swedish is the largest nonprofit healthcare provider in King County.

When she graduated from the University of Washington in 1995, Kristen planned to take a year off, go into law school, and pursue a career in public policy. But during that year, she started an entry-­level HR position and then ended up at a Critical Access Hospital in Wisconsin, where she discovered a passion for the patient-­centered mission. In her words: "How do you find people who can be there for others at the most vulnerable moments of their lives?"

Before joining the WDC board last year, Kristen already saw her mission as being bigger than a single company. Her work brought her into contact with local healthcare training programs, including apprenticeship design with SEIU Multi­Employer Training and Education Fund, and Seattle Jobs Initiative’s GrowHire, which increases access to healthcare opportunities by offering local training for entry­level care positions. "We live in a world where all ships rise," says Kristen. "How do we scale the work of Swedish to make it possible for small healthcare companies to make the same improvements in hiring?"

Her husband serves as something of a case study—he started his career as a mechanical engineer, went back to medical school as a resident physician, and now works as a family physician serving vulnerable populations.


That makes for a busy family, and they love to spend free time with their two teenage sons and half­-shepherd Tonka (@tonkatraildog). With two parents in healthcare, perhaps it’s not surprising the phrase "living wage jobs" has already worked its way into conversation at the dinner table.

Self-Sufficiency Calculator Redesign Overview


The Self-Sufficiency Calculator was designed to support career planning, helping individuals to understand where they are starting, explore options, and make decisions about what to do next.

We are excited to announce that a design update will go live in early July. Read on to learn more, or let project manager Seanna Ruvkun take you on a quick video walkthrough.


In order to help individuals plan for their financial and career goals, and for programs to measure their impact, the Self-Sufficiency Calculator utilizes the Self-Sufficiency Standard, a sophisticated metric incorporating validated national, state, and local data to determine individual costs of living, accounting for variations in cost by geographic location and family composition.


The Standard report is packed with great info, but it can be hard to find just what you need in a print report. The Calculator is designed to:

Provide a tool that integrates cost of living information (the Standard), basic budgeting, and career and vocational planning

Embed information about work supports, such as food stamps or subsidized health care, that can help when expenses exceed income

Allow programs to measure their effect on customers’ ability to make progress toward economic self-sufficiency

In King County, career counselors use the Calculator as a tool to support customers to gain a sense of their financial situation, goals, opportunities, and challenges.

The Calculator is updated with new data every 2-3 years. The WDC also provides ongoing training to staff in our system and partners in our community to support use of the Calculator.

Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County Names Marie Kurose as Chief Executive Officer

Chosen for her “vision, commitment to equity & fierce work ethic”


Seattle, Wash– The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (WDC) is pleased to announce that Marie Kurose has been named the next Chief Executive Officer, bringing to the role more than 30 years of experience leading workforce development initiatives in the region, working in community-based organizations, private philanthropy, and major public institutions, including the City of Seattle and most recently the Port of Seattle. Ms. Kurose also served nearly seven years at the WDC—known at the time as the Private Industry Council—working as a Project Manager to implement initiatives that included partnering with agencies to establish the first centralized dislocated worker program site.

“Marie has demonstrated a deep working knowledge of national and local workforce development systems and policies,” says Board Chair Tom Peterson. “That knowledge will be vital as we transform our regional approach to broadening funding sources, increasing program efficiency, and targeting racial inequity.”

Ms. Kurose was selected after an extensive national search led by the consulting firm and racial equity specialists at Morten Group LLC. A search committee comprised of WDC board members and stakeholders from King County’s business, labor, and philanthropy sectors—as well as community partners—interviewed candidates from across the country over the course of several months.

Throughout her career, Ms. Kurose has demonstrated a commitment to engaging and partnering with communities of color, immigrants, refugees, and other community stakeholders. She has led efforts to unite community, philanthropic, and public-private partnerships in effective working relationships, and to improve collaboration with diverse systems and community organizations.

“I am excited for this opportunity to build on my passion and longstanding commitment to economic equity and social justice,” says Ms. Kurose. “I look forward to collaborating with our business, labor, training, community, and philanthropic partners to ensure our diverse communities are part of our region’s economic growth and prosperity.


The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King Countyis a nonprofit workforce grant-funding organization led by a majority private sector board that oversees employment-related programs for youth, the adult workforce, and employers in Seattle-King County, with the goal of a strong economy and self-sufficiency for every resident.

Media Contact
Joe Taylor, Strategic Communications
Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County |  206-448-0474 x 3031; Cell: 206-452-9405