Preparing Youth for Success

The City of Seattle's Human Services Department (HSD) is dedicated to ensuring all children and youth transition successfully into adulthood. HSD's Youth and Family Empowerment (YFE) Division supports positive youth and family development through strategic investments in community safety, youth employment opportunities, mentoring and educational supports, affordable living, family support, food and nutrition, and behavioral and mental health programs.

Programs and services funded by YFE are also key elements of signature initiatives including the Mayor's Youth Opportunity Initiative, Youth Employment Initiative, and Our Best.   HSD is deeply committed to ensuring that all Seattle youth are prepared for the future regardless of race, income, immigration status, or neighborhood. To achieve this the department facilitates a combination of direct services to Seattle youth and robust investments, totaling $27.5 million annually.  


Youth Opportunity Initiative:  The Mayor's Youth Opportunity Initiative (MYOI) is an effort to align City resources and strategy to ensure that every young person in Seattle has access to opportunities and resources to thrive and successfully transition into adulthood. MYOI is comprised of programs contributing to five pillars of youth success: Education, Positive Connections, Employment, Community Safety and Health.

Youth Employment Initiative: Despite Seattle's economic gains in recent years, many youth still lack economic opportunities. Youth unemployment in Seattle is 13 percent overall and a whopping 28 percent for young people of color. Launched in 2015, the Mayor's Youth Employment Initiative (MYEI) is a citywide effort to offer Seattle's most underserved populations with opportunities to develop critical skills through internships and entry-level jobs. This cross-sector, collaborative effort includes employment opportunities through public, private, and non-profit employers such as Alaska Airlines, Coca-Cola, Seattle Public Libraries, Creative Arts Digital Media Academy, and Neighborhood House.

Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative: For the past eight years, the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI) has worked to ensure that all Seattle youth are achieving their full potential. Three community-based networks-in the Central District, Southeast Seattle, and Southwest Seattle-coordinate collaborative, cross-sector efforts to identify youth at risk of perpetuating or being a victim of violence and connect them with needed services such as mentoring, street outreach, case management, and behavioral therapy.

Programs and Services:

The Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP), in support of the Mayor's Youth Employment Initiative, provides internship opportunities for young people (16-24) in our community who are from low-income households and communities that experience racial, social, and economic disparities. By promoting work readiness and strengthening career development, SYEP helps to prepare and support youth for real world jobs by providing them with the skills necessary to be competitive in the job market.
Summer meal program provides no-cost breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for kids and teens ages 1-18.
Upward Bound prepares underserved high school students for higher education by promoting academic achievement, goal setting, and career exploration. The program’s goal is to give students the knowledge, skills and motivation necessary to earn a two- or four-year college or technical degree after high school.