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

WDC Announces Governor's YouthWorks Award

WDC awarded YouthWorks grant to serve King County young people

Seattle, Wash. – The Workforce Development Council (WDC) of Seattle-King County, is pleased is to announce a $418,003 award as part of the statewide YouthWorks grants that create internships and work experience for thousands of young people. The YouthWorks grant will provide internships and other work-based learning experiences for thousands of youth and help re-engage those who have dropped out or are at-risk of not graduating from high school.

“This grant will provide internships and other work-based learning experiences for thousands of youth,” says Marléna Sessions, Chief Executive Officer of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. “We’re excited to expand our efforts in re-engaging our region’s disconnected youth and setting them on career pathways to achieve self-sufficiency.”

Last Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee joined employers and youth at Seattle’s SRG Partnership to spotlight successful King County youth career readiness projects. Inslee also announced the winners of a new round of funding to help thousands of youth across Washington prepare for meaningful, living-wage careers, and the education opportunities necessary to attain them.

“It is inspiring to see these young people and their business mentors working together to create exciting new aspirations and futures,” Inslee said. “The numbers speak for themselves. This effort is successfully helping young people plan for their futures and get ready with top-quality job-skills and mentors.”

Since the program began in 2013, YouthWorks has doubled the number of young people doing internships at local employers, doubled the number of youth matched with employer mentors, and tripled the number of youth who designed a specific career plan at YouthWorks sites across Washington.

With the help of its partners, Highline Public Schools, Juma Ventures, YouthCare, and the YMCA of Greater Seattle, this WDC initiative will increase youth awareness and access to high-demand, high-wage careers by introducing youth to the world of work and career fields, developing skills, and strengthening personal networks.

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

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

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