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City of Seattle
Mike McGinn (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: McGinn announces new work opportunities for at-risk youth

6/5/2013  11:00:00 AM

McGinn announces new work opportunities for at-risk youth
Programs intended to reduce youth violence and poverty

SEATTLE - Today Mayor Mike McGinn announced a new program that provides work opportunities for at-risk youth in collaboration arts organizations and the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI). Work Readiness Arts is a program providing out-of-school programming that links arts learning and work experiences for up to 70 Seattle youth ages 14 to 18. Arts organizations interested in participating in this program are encouraged to submit proposals by June 28.

This is in addition to summer work opportunities targeting at-risk kids offered by SYVPI, the Seattle Parks Department, and the Human Services Department. The mayor's 2013-14 budget funds 450 new slots in the SYVPI program, 225 of which will be filled this year.

"Seattle's at-risk youth need our help to get work experience and a path to prosperity," said McGinn. "By funding these additional opportunities we can help reduce youth violence and strike a blow against poverty in our communities."

"It's important that we provide positive opportunities for at-risk young people in our community to help prevent violence like we saw at the beginning of last summer" said Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel. "Having a summer job in the arts can help keep kids off the street and out of trouble, as well as inspiring them creatively."

The Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI) was established after an increase in gun violence in 2008. The Initiative provides youth enrolled in the program with activities, mentoring, case management, employment services, and other targeted support. In 2012, the demand for SYVPI services was so high that the Initiative had a waiting list of youth and enrollment was capped at 1,050 due to limited capacity and services. In earlier years, enrollment had reached a one time high of 1,600 because no one wanted to turn youth away. Without sufficient staffing and services, this was not a viable practice. SYVPI staff had to cut back enrollment to a manageable number.

The Mayor's proposed 2013-2014 budget included an increase to SYVPI to enroll an additional 450 youth. Due to the delay in the City Council process and its final decision splitting the funds up among departments, SYVPI will seek to enroll half of the intended goal in 2013: 225 additional youth. Since expansion was recently approved, SYVPI has enrolled an additional 25 youth and anticipates many referrals from community partners, schools and youth serving agencies. The City Council also provided funding to support programs for at-risk youth through other City departments including the Office of Arts and Culture, Parks, and Human Services.

In collaboration with SYVPI the Office of Arts and Culture is leading the Work Readiness Arts program, which is anticipated to provide up to 70 at-risk youth with summer employment. Last week they announced a Request for Proposals from arts, cultural and community organizations interested in providing out-of-school programming as part of this effort. Selected projects will serve youth who have been recruited through the SYVPI program and should strongly link arts learning with development of interpersonal, leadership and 21st century skills to boost academic, vocational and workplace success.

"Investing in our youth is one of the most important things a city can do," said Office of Arts and Culture director Randy Engstrom. "Work Readiness Arts demonstrates how career training can be done in our thriving arts community."

More information for organizations and a link to the online application are available at The RFP application deadline for Work Readiness Arts is 11 p.m. Friday, June 28, 2013. For more information, contact Jenny Crooks at 206.684.7084 or

The Seattle Parks Department has opportunities for 50 youth in the Lifeguard Training Team. This is a free program designed to train and certify Seattle's youth in lifesaving skills. The eight week program for youth ages 15-17 years old is designed to train participants to be lifeguards and build other job skills. Seattle Parks and Recreation provides training, books, uniforms, and basic materials at no charge. Participants get the opportunity to test for certification at the end of the program. The deadline to apply is this Friday, June 8. To apply, please go to, call 206-684-4079, or email

Parks is also sponsoring several other summer work opportunity programs, though the deadlines for these have already passed:

  • The Student Teen Employment Preparation Program is a job readiness program designed to provide 60 youth with education, job skills and career development training.
  • The Youth Career Training Program is a pilot program designed to increase employment readiness opportunities for 200 youth through programming in the areas of employment certifications, youth/teen advocacy, aquatics/tennis training, maintenance, urban design and environmental education and college preparation.
  • The Youth Engaged in Service Program is a volunteer program for 60 Seattle based youth between the ages of 13 and 18. Participants volunteer for six weeks from early July to mid-August for a total of 120 hours in a Seattle Parks and Recreation program or facility or a community based organization. Sixty hours of the required 120 can be used to meet the Seattle public high school service learning graduation requirement with proper pre-approval from the school. A stipend is available for volunteers who complete 120 hours of the program.

The Human Services Department will serve up to 450 at-risk youth, including 130 youth who are currently enrolled in SYVPI, with work opportunity programs in government and non-governmental agencies.

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Office of the Mayor

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