Youth Employment Program

SYEP youth attending the 2019 Capstone Event at Seattle Center

The Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) helps young people (ages 16 to 24) from low-income households and communities that experience racial, social, and economic disparities. The goal is to increase youth and young adults' ability to pursue careers that pay well and are meaningful to them.

SYEP has two components: a school-year exploration and learning experience, and a summer internship. During the school-year session (three quarters: fall, winter, and spring), participants will identify professional interests, gain marketable skills, be exposed to various career fields, and build their social network.

The summer internship places young people in work settings to apply their knowledge, gain hands-on experience, develop professional connections, and build their resume.

Summer 2020 Update:
Recognizing the lack of youth employment opportunities as a result of public health directives to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, SYEP is partnering with the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Parks and Recreation to launch a virtual job readiness pilot instead of our usual internship opportunity.

Here’s what the summer pilot program will look like:

  • Applications for summer internships closed on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
  • 300 youth and young adults, ages 14 to 24 will be selected to participate by lottery.
  • The summer pilot will last six weeks and virtual learning sessions will take place twice per week for 1.5 hours each session.
  • Each participant will receive one $599 stipend upon successful completion.
  • More information can be found in our Frequently Asked Questions.

A Commitment to Seattle's Future Leaders

SYEP's summer internships offer engaging, real world experience that require commitment and dedication. Young people who apply to the program need to be ready to rise to the challenge and will have the dedicated staff of SYEP to help them succeed. SYEP interns, staff, and employers build community together, create opportunities for young people to gain and practice new skills, and introduce participants to multiple career fields.

Specific supports are provided to young people to ensure they are set-up for success, including:

  • An ORCA card to cover transportation to and from the program (if they don’t already have one issued through their school)
  • All fees for tests and/or certifications required by internship sites, such as food handler permits or first aid/CPR
  • Internship-related work clothes or safety equipment, such as hard hats and/or work boots
  • Ongoing support from their Youth Development Counselor for general coaching

Are You Eligible?

80% Area Median Income (AMI) Table for 2019To be eligible for SYEP, young people must:

  • be between the ages of 14 and 24 years old on July 08, 2020.
  • live within the Seattle city limits (check here).
  • live in a household with income at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI). See AMI table to the right.

Please read all program requirements before applying. You will not be considered for the program if you do not meet all the program requirements so please ensure that your application is accurate.

Want to Apply?

You can apply for SYEP in one of two ways:

Number One

Summer Internship
The summer 2020 internship runs July-August 2020. Applications are now closed.


Number Two

School-Year Program
The 2020/2021 school-year program starts in October 2020. Program details and application process are currently under consideration.

Application Requirements

You will need the following to complete your application:

Three icons representing individuals shown together



Image showing a generic cash bill



Image showing a house
Seattle Resident

Summer Internship Application

Applications for summer 2020 internships closed on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Please keep an eye out for the School Year Program application.

Lottery Process

Due to high demand, only 300 slots are available for this summer's virtual job readiness program.  Only eligible applications received by March 17, 2020 will be entered into a lottery. You will be notified of the results of the lottery -- whether you were accepted or declined.

SYEP uses a computer-generated randomized selection process to select program participants. 300 potential participants will be notified that they have been selected for the screening and interview process. Additional eligible applicants may be notified that they are on a waitlist and will be contacted if a slot becomes available.

When Will You Know If You're Enrolled?

All applicants will be notified by email the week of June 29, 2020.


  • Notification - June 29 - July 2, 2020
  • First day of virtual learning session - July 13, 2020 
  • Last day of virtual learning session - August 21, 2020