WDC Announces Award for Youth Services Pilot

Workforce Development Council will pilot Rainier Community Services Office Youth Services project

Seattle, Wash. – The Workforce Development Council (WDC) of Seattle-King County, is pleased is to announce a $223,000 award from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Economic Services Administration, Community Services Division (CSD). The grant will fund education, employment, and work-based training opportunities for youth through the Rainier Community Services Office (CSO) Youth Services Pilot.

“This partnership will build upon our region’s robust youth employment system,” says Marléna Sessions, Chief Executive Officer of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. “With this project, we hope to lead systems change efforts in serving youth and young adults who face barriers to employment and self-sufficiency.”

The one-year pilot will assist 40 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients, ages 16-24, to connect to education, training, and work activities that will prepare them to engage in the workforce, build their network, and develop skills that will contribute to future employment and, ultimately, self-sufficiency. The WDC will provide a Career Specialist and specialized Business Services Liaison to lead this effort. Through the partnership with CSD, the WDC of Seattle-King County looks to achieve best practices to sustain this work. The lessons learned during the pilot will become the foundation for current and future work to serve youth and young adults who deal with employment barriers, as well as inform how best to help transition individuals from public assistance to self-sustainability.

“We are pleased to partner with the WDC on this tremendous effort to connect young people to education and jobs that ultimately lead to career pathways,” says Babs Roberts, director of DSHS’s Community Services Division. “This project builds on the WDC’s success in providing job-driven employment services to young people who have traditionally faced barriers to finding good jobs and accessing higher education, while helping the department to assist these young people in building a better future.”

For more information about the Workforce Development Council, job seeker programs and workforce initiatives, visit www.seakingwdc.org or call 206-448-0474.

The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County is a nonprofit workforce grant-making organization that oversees employment-related programs for youth, the adult workforce and employers in King County, with the goal of a strong economy and self-sufficiency for every resident.

Media Contact
Danielle Wallace, Project Manager
Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County
206-448-0474 x 3002

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WDC Announces Award for Health Workforce for the Future


The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (WDC) announces a $9.4 Million Five Year Award– The WDC is thrilled to announce a $9.4 million five-year award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Profession Opportunity Grant for the WDC’s Health Workforce for the Future (HWF) project.

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, HWF will help to build the healthcare workforce needed as healthcare workers near retirement age and King County’s population becomes increasingly more diverse. Leveraging the strong partnerships with Washington State Employment Security Department, Department of Social and Health Services, regional healthcare employers, local colleges, housing authorities, and community partners, HWF is poised to transform King County’s healthcare system.

Using system-changing lessons learned from the WDC’s Health Careers for All five-year project, HWF will leverage, redesign, and enhance existing training program strategies. This project will target outreach to (1) individuals who remain unemployed, or have tenuous connections to the workforce, despite the improving regional economy. In order to ensure true momentum on a career path is possible, this project will also focus on (2) incumbent workers in need of support for wage and career progression.  Finally, the project will target (3) low-income youth who are critical to the future workforce but remain even more disconnected from the labor force.

Industry partners report that the push of healthcare reform toward a more prevention-oriented focus, changes in the economic model of healthcare, and demographic shifts in the patient population put new demands on the health workforce. Accordingly, local employers have emerging priorities around increasing workforce diversity, and expect growth beyond what labor market data alone might predict in many areas. HWF is designed to respond to these needs with an emphasis on occupational pathways and an explicit focus on engaging a diverse customer population.

“Despite King County’s incredible economic growth, many jobseekers have been left behind,” Marléna Sessions, CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. “Health Workforce for the Future draws upon industry-driven workforce solution to support King County jobseekers and workers. Our innovative work and strong employer partnerships in this field are unparalleled, and we are excited to build upon this foundation.”

“Group Health Cooperative has a long history of working collaboratively with WDC of Seattle-King County to support workforce needs for the changing health care environment and has enjoyed many successes as a result of our partnership,” says Barbara Trehearne, Vice President of Clinical Excellence, Quality, and Nursing Practice at Group Health Cooperative. “We are pleased to continue partnering on this exciting project.”

“Health Workforce for the Future is a fantastic opportunity to offer TANF jobseekers access to health care careers in King County, and we are thrilled to be a part of this project,” says Melanie d’Almada Remedios, Region 2 WorkFirst Coordinator at the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

“The Employment Security Department values its partnership with the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County and looks forward to working together to connect job seekers with high-quality jobs in the health care field,” said Greta Kaas-Lent, Northwest Regional Director for ESD’s Workforce and Career Development Division. “As this sector evolves, we will continue to work together to arm job seekers across the spectrum with training and development opportunities to prepare them for jobs in our state’s health care industry.”


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.