FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 7, 2015
The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (WDC) announces a $700,000 Award for Seattle-King County Partnership to Reconnect– The WDC is pleased to announce a $700,000 award and designation as a Performance Partnership Pilot (P3) from the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education. The award will support the WDC’s Seattle-King County Partnership to Reconnect (SKC Partnership), a pilot project that will develop a blueprint for a cohesive youth employment system in Seattle King County. The Pilot includes a partnership with King County Education and Employment Resources (KCEER) and the Community Center for Education Results (CCER). Seattle-King County is one of 10 cities across the country to receive this award.
“This announcement is great news for Washington State’s efforts to support young people in King County by helping put them back on the path to education and employment,” said Senator Patty Murray. “Programs like the Seattle-King County Partnership to Reconnect are an important part of strengthening our middle class, our workforce, and our economy, and I am proud that my bill, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, could make this investment in the partnership possible.”
“The future of U.S. economic growth depends on the investments we make in a skilled American workforce. I was proud to support this grant to the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, which will enable youth to access education and workforce development programs vital to gaining living wage employment,” said Senator Cantwell. “We must continue to break down barriers for disadvantaged and at-risk youth to enter the workforce.”
The mission of the WDC is to support a strong economy and the ability of each person to achieve self-sufficiency. Under the direction of the WDC, P3 and the SKC Partnership, offers increased flexibility in using federal funds and strengthens infrastructure that serves disconnected young people ages 16 to 24.
The WDC, KCEER, and CCER share a firm commitment to building a strong system of reengagement pathways that capitalizes on Washington State’s new Open Doors program that offers re-engagement pathway to young people who have dropped out of high school. This project furthers the recent authorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) that calls for targeted employment and education services to disconnected youth in the public workforce system.
“This innovative program will help reduce inequities in our county, and open new opportunities to succeed – in particular for those who have dropped out of school or had a brush with the law,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
“In King County alone, there are nearly 25,000 young people who are not in school and not working,” Marléna Sessions, CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. “The Seattle-King County Partnership to Reconnect project is a tremendous opportunity to invest in our future workforce through reengagement and employment. It’s our greatest hope that this project will set young people on a path to careers that lead to self-sufficiency and a stronger regional economy.”
Using three primary strategies, the SKC Partnership will align pathways, improve eligibility requirements for young people, and build shared functions across employment and education programs. The project, funded through December 2017, will specifically:
· Facilitate the strategic coordination of workforce development services with the State’s Open Doors dropout reengagement program and increase access to Reintegration of Ex-Offenders services for some of our hardest-to-serve opportunity youth;
· Leverage the work of AmeriCorps members to implement a regional outreach strategy aimed at connecting youth with programs that best reflect their needs and to enhance existing employer engagement efforts; and
· Advance coordination efforts through the development of a common intake process and aligned data systems.