Forging Career Pathways for Untapped Talent in Seattle-King County

New Unleashing the Power of Untapped Talent Program Launches

Seattle, Wash.- A creative new pilot has launched out of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County this fall—connecting adults and youth to career pathways. Partnerships throughout the local area make this project powerful, with three nonprofit service providers on the adult side—the Asian Counseling Referral Service, Pioneer Human Services, and the YWCA; as well as and three on the youth side—YouthCare, El Centro de la Raza, and IKRON.  The Workforce Development Council looks to achieve best practices to sustain this work. The lessons learned during the demonstration period will become the foundation for future work to lead a system change in serving youth and adults who deal with employment barriers, as well as inform how best to help transition individuals to self-sustainability.

The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County was awarded the 2016 “Trailblazer Award” from the National Association of Workforce Boards because of innovative approaches to addressing local employer and jobseeker needs. The Unleashing the Power of Untapped Talent initiative is one such trailblazing program. Braiding and blending federal, state and private funds, the project gives adults and youth opportunities to connect to not just a job, but a career pathway toward self-sufficiency for themselves and their families. The program strategically addresses employer needs so participants are made ready for industry while providing integrated, wrap-around services so participants don’t just get the training and job readiness they need but are supported in the process. 

Media Contact
Hannah Mello, Communications Program Manager
Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County  | (206) 448-0474

The WDC is excited to support the Mayor’s Ready to Work Initiative

From the Mayor’s office, please see the Ready to Work Press Release below:

Mayor Murray Encourages Enrollment in Ready to Work June 17, 2015 by Kathryn Robertson During the final week to enroll in Ready to Work, Mayor Ed Murray encouraged eligible immigrants and refugees to take the opportunity to improve their English skills that will help them access quality jobs.

“One out of every five people in Seattle is foreign-born. Our economy is stronger when immigrants have the opportunity to overcome language and skills barriers,” said Murray. “Ready to Work will help open the door to a job with a livable wage and good working conditions.”

The Ready to Work model will offer tailored learning for each participant to access English as a Second Language, computer literacy and critical job skills training. The courses will be enhanced by hands-on skill training in computers and other workplace basics. Classes will meet four times a week in the summer and five times a week during the fall and spring. There is no cost to program participants.

“What excites me is the innovate approach to adult learning and employment,” says Jill Wakefield, Chancellor for Seattle Colleges. “Social and economic mobility is a big challenge for our community, especially for our immigrant population. Working with our partners to teach ELL with a specific outcome is special. We are doing more than helping them obtain jobs. We are building a foundation for further education, training, and career development—items I view as a key to individual growth and prosperity.”

Summer classes will be offered at Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) with an additional Southeast Seattle location to be offered in the fall. Seattle residents over 18 years of age who are looking for a job, or a better job, and have limited English proficiency are encouraged to apply by calling ACRS at (206) 695-7517 as soon as possible. The last day to apply for the program is June 22nd. The first class begins on June 29th.

“We are pleased to support the Mayor’s Ready to Work Initiative,” says Marléna Sessions, CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. “Ready to Work is a fantastic model for connecting immigrants and refugees with limited English proficiency to the skills and career navigation necessary to finding good jobs and meeting the workforce needs of local businesses.”

The partners engaged in Ready to Work include: the Seattle Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs; Seattle Human Services Department and Seattle Office of Economic Development; Seattle Housing Authority; Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services; Seattle Jobs Initiative; Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County; Port Jobs; Seattle Colleges; Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges; Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS); Seattle Goodwill; Neighborhood House; and One America.