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City of Seattle
Mike McGinn (former Mayor)
NEWS ADVISORY
SUBJECT: Mayor announces innovative new job-readiness program for immigrant and refugee youth and their families
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
1/10/2012  2:30:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:


Mayor announces innovative new job-readiness program
for immigrant and refugee youth and their families

$465,000 available in City funds

SEATTLE - Mayor Mike McGinn today announced an innovative new program to help immigrant and refugee young people prepare for the workplace with training that is coordinated with support for parents.

The City will provide $465,000 for the Integrated Job Readiness Training for Immigrant and Refugee Youth and Families program, funding that will be awarded through a competitive Request for Investment (RFI) process. Applications for the RFI are due on February 14, 2012. Contracts are scheduled to be awarded in April 2012 and services are scheduled to begin in May 2012.

"Our diverse population is one of Seattle's strengths," said Mayor McGinn. "And our job training efforts need to recognize and build on our diversity. One of the common themes at last year's community meetings for the Youth & Families Initiative was the need to provide culturally relevant job readiness training to refugee and immigrant youth. Today's announcement is part of our response to what we heard."

The program targets low-income youth, 15-20 years old, and their families who speak the nine most common non-English languages spoken in Seattle Public Schools:
- Amharic
- Cambodian
- Chinese
- Filipino
- Oromiffa
- Somali
- Spanish
- Tigrinya
- Vietnamese

Immigrant and refugee youth, ages 15 to 20, have the lowest high school graduation rates. At the same time, immigrant and refugee parents face multiple challenges making a successful transition to life in America such as obtaining a living-wage job and overcoming language barriers. Most parent education for immigrant and refugee parents are focused on families with younger children.

Program Services
The Integrated Job Readiness Training for Immigrant and Refugee Youth and Families program features:

  • Family-based approach to job readiness training for immigrant and refugee youth coordinated with support for parents;
  • Co-location of youth and parent services;
  • Family self-sufficiency classes for both youth and parents;
  • Bilingual job readiness training for youth with paid summer employment;
  • Bilingual parent education to expand understanding of American schools including postsecondary education and career pathways.

The goals of the program are that services will contribute to fewer student absences from school; facilitate better communication between parents and schools; improve youth job readiness skills and identification of career interests; and improve youth and family self-sufficiency skills and exploration of post secondary options.

The RFI is unique in its approach to include both established agencies that serve immigrants and refugees and smaller "developing" agencies that are based in the community. Applying for government funds can be complex and time consuming so the City is providing added technical assistance through a series of workshops and hands-on training to help agencies apply.

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Office of the Mayor

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