Inslee announces $2.2 million in new YouthWorks grants

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SEATTLE – Gov. Jay Inslee today joined employers and youth to spotlight successful youth career readiness projects and announce 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. The event took place at SRG Partnership, an architectural, interiors and planning firm.

The YouthWorks grants, totaling nearly $2.2 million, 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.

“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.

YouthWorks Phase One was a $250,000 pilot program funded by the Employment Security Department and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2013.

The governor’s office, Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, Workforce Development Councils, ESD and OSPI had agreed to use $1.9 million in federal discretionary funding to expand Phase Two of YouthWorks statewide in 2014–15.

Before announcing the 2015–16 grant winners at today’s event, Inslee recognized two local YouthWorks projects from the 2015-16 funding cycle: ACE mentorships and the Urban Artworks internship.

ACE is an after-school mentor program for high school students who are interested in learning about career opportunities in architecture, engineering and construction management.

Through the YouthWorks Project in Seattle-King County, three Highline Public School students participated in the Urban Artworks Summer 2015 internship. They worked two to four days a week with professional artists and other youth painting colorful murals around Seattle. By the end of the summer, they’d completed six murals.

“We’re changing lives here,” said Tim Probst, director of workforce development and strategic initiatives at ESD. “If you want to help low-income students — or any students — move up in their lives, connect them with a business mentor, internship and a career plan. YouthWorks really works.”


REPORTERS: To learn more about how the initiative works in your area, please contact the local coordinators listed below. Funded amounts are included with each group.

Olympic Workforce Development Council (Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap counties): YouthWorks Pathways to Success Kitsap Project helps barriered youth populations access services, use utilize career exploration tools, select career pathways and goals, participate in job internships and gain work experience. Partners: Westsound Technical Skills Center, Olympic College, OESD Educational Advocates and Stand up for Kids.


Media contact: Bob Potter, director, 360-337-4873

Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council (Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Thurston counties): Partnership develops programming and innovative solutions to assist with special and targeted populations, enhance job skills and secure and maintain employment. Partners: Capitol Region Educational School District and Big Brother Big Sister of SW Washington.


Media contact: Cheryl Fambles, chief executive officer, 360-482-1701

Northwest Workforce Council (Island, San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom counties): Collaborative local partnership supports expanding a multi-dimensional program for dropout re-engagement services. Partners: Bellingham Technical College, NW Workforce Council, Whatcom County School District Open Doors and NW Youth Services.


Media contact: Gay Dubigk, director, 360-676-3206

Snohomish County Workforce Development Council: Partnership is dedicated to increasing opportunities for the county’s youth to experience on-site internships and connect to business mentors, leading to successful job entry and career attainment. Partners: Everett Community College, Cocoon House and Snohomish County STEM Network.


Media contact: Erin Monroe, chief executive officer, 425-921-3423

Workforce Development Council of Seattle/King County: Initiative plans to increase youth awareness and access to high-demand, high-wage career opportunities by introducing youth to the world of work, exploring career fields, developing skills and strengthening personal networks. Partners: Highline Public Schools, Juma, YouthCare and YMCA of Greater Seattle.


Media contact: Marlena Sessions, chief executive officer, 206-448-0474

Tacoma-Pierce County Workforce Development Council: Collaborative partnership engages local initiatives to integrate systemic changes and create pathways for youth to develop and reach educational and employment goals aligned with their chosen career path. Partners: Pierce County Skills Center, Tacoma Public Schools and The REACH Center.


Media contact: Linda Nguyen, chief executive officer, 253-254-7607

North-Central Washington Workforce Development Council (Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties): Strategic partnership develops permanent and growing capacity to maximize the number of youth accessing mentors, employers and work- based learning opportunities. Partners: Wenatchee and Okanogan school districts.


Media contact: Dave Petersen, director, 509-663-3091, ext. 228

South-Central Washington Workforce Development Council (Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania and Yakima counties): This project changes old, established service models into sustainable integrated coordination with workforce and education partners leading to engaging out-of-school youth, developing career pathways, successful training and employment. Partners: Yakima County School District Open Doors, ACG Apprenticeship Center, Rod’s house (homeless support), Yakima Neighborhood Health, Laborer's International and the Department of Transportation.


Media contact: Patrick Baldoz, director, 509-574-1950

Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council (Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties): A continuation of a regional program supports and enhances pathways to business engagement and work-based learning opportunities for youth 16–24. Partners: Battleground, Camas and Vancouver school districts, Educational Service District 112, Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Regions, Innovative Services NW and Partners in Careers.


Media contact: Jeanne Bennett, executive director, 360-567-1070

Eastern Washington Partnership Workforce Development Council (Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla counties): Project provides individualized career development plans and strategies geared to each youth’s skills, interests and aptitudes. Includes pre-employment and work maturity skills, and career planning. Partners: Educational Opportunity Center Open Doors Out-Of School Re-Engagement, Clarkston School District.


Media contact: Tom O’Brien, director, 509-685-6129

Benton-Franklin Workforce Development Council (Benton and Franklin counties): Out-of-school youth affected by the Benton County juvenile justice system (community supervision for youth aged 16–18) will be connected to pro-social opportunities, career exploration and paid internship opportunities and training for in-demand occupations. Partners: IBEW and Benton Franklin Juvenile Justice Center.


Media contact: Jack Fitzgerald, executive director, 509-734-5984

Spokane-Area Workforce Development Council: Project maximizes the number of youth accessing mentors, internships, career skills curriculum, work-based learning opportunities, transition assistance to employment, postsecondary education and career pathways planning to help achieve individual goals. Partners: Open Doors Re-engagement program at the Next Generation Zone, YouthBuild Spokane, Community Colleges of Spokane and Washington Youth and Families Fund-Bridge 21st Century Skills Program (Career Path Services- Homeless Youth agency).


Media contact: Mark Mattke, chief executive officer, 509-533-8470

Media Contacts

Tara Lee
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office

Janelle Guthrie
Employment Security Department Communications Office