Workforce Development

OED's Workforce Development Team brings together a network of partners to ensure Seattle residents, especially low-income workers, youth and communities of color, get the education and training they need to be ready for - and get - high-quality jobs. We're growing the talent we have, to strengthen the economy we want. Learn more about our workforce development team.

Connecting with Local Talent


Seattle is one of America's great cities.  A place that fosters innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship.  The well-known key to Seattle's success is our people.  With over 540,000 Seattleites in the labor market, we bring skill and talent to our region's new and established businesses.

Business Decision Engine 
The Engine is an interactive tool that provides businesses with information on Seattle's economy, including data on our most important assets - our workforce. 

If you need help finding talent, contact the business services team at WorkSource of Seattle-King County.  The Business Services Team assists employers with their workforce needs by providing no cost services and support to acquire, develop and retain talent.

Map of workforce sites

Youth internships can help your business build a future talent pipeline and develop interest and skills in your industry.  If you are ready to host an intern, sign up here. 

Connecting with Jobs and Educational Resources

Looking to start a new career, or change careers? We partner with a number of organizations to support jobseekers who need general support, those entering the workforce for the first time or learning new skills. 

Seattle - King County's WorkSource  
WorkSource connects job seekers with job openings, offers access to training resources and information about in-demand jobs, and provides other job search assistance.  Find your local WorkSource office here. 

Airport Jobs  
This site helps job seekers navigate employment opportunities at the airport, complete job applications, create resumes, practice interviews and enroll in airport-related job training. 

Seattle Jobs Initiative  
SJI's CareerConnect program provides rapid training, coaching, and job placement in positions in Healthcare and Manufacturing with employers who are committed to career advancement for their employees. 

Ready to Work  
The RTW program is an innovative combination of classes for English Language Learners, computer literacy curriculum, job training, and case management to successfully connect immigrants and refugees who need the most assistance with an education and a stable job. 

The Seattle Colleges  
The College for Working Adults partnership offers technical training for students who have other obligations such as work, school and family. "Worker-friendly" programs and a personal navigator can help you start and finish your degree. 

Career Navigation & Exploration 

Seattle Public Library  
The Library Jobs and Career Page offers a wealth of information to job seekers and those who are looking to change careers.  On this site, you can research where there are employment opportunities, build a resume and find multiple job boards. 

Invest in Our Future Workforce

Advertisement featured in Puget Sound Business journal features City of Seattle Logo and headline "We thank our partners for their commitment to youth employment. Thanks to their support, Seattle youth have access to enriching, paid work experiences." Graphic features Seattle skyline with logos of participating partners.

Advertisement in Puget Sound Business Journal features an illustration of a nametag reading "Hello, I'm: The Intern." Text below reads: "Remember your first job?"

The City of Seattle's youth employment initiative builds career pathways for youth & creates a recruitment pipeline for local businesses seeking skilled workers.  Our goal is to connect more local youth with employers so that young people gain career knowledge and experience and businesses can address their current and future needs for talent. 

Youth employment provides skills necessary for young people who otherwise would be left out of the labor market. First work experiences that teach professionalism, work readiness, and 21st century skills are critical in providing young people with a pathway to success and upward mobility. Youth employment has positive effects on lifetime employment, earnings and net worth.  Internships also help young people build a network of caring adults, practice employment skills in a supported environment and connect their education to career goals.

We partner with Seattle Public Schools, community based organizations, and employers to increase internship and employment opportunities that are connected to a young person's education and career pathway.  Many employers have already invested in Seattle's youth by hosting young people in a variety of internship and work experiences.  We also understand that small businesses provide vital jobs and an invaluable training environment for our people, but often do not have the resources to host an intern.  In many cases, we can provide wage support to small businesses to enable them to host a youth intern and share their insights for a successful entrepreneurial career. 

Visit our Employer Resources site to learn how to sign up, roles and expectations, how to create internship descriptions, and key dates. Since our Youth Employment Initiative began in 2015, we've partnered with the community to connect over 9,000 young people with an internship, career experience or employment.   Businesses and philanthropic partners have invested close to $1,000,000 toward giving more youth these important career experiences.   Thank you to all our MYEI partners!

Improve Diversity and Inclusion in Tech

Seattle is experiencing unprecedented growth, with over 63,000 new jobs created in the last five years, primarily driven by a booming technology sector. The city has also been recognized as one of the fastest growing startup ecosystems in the nation.  All of this growth brings opportunity; in the last 30 days, Seattle businesses have posted 1,800 job openings for software developers alone.  To increase the connection between these jobs and the local pool, and diversify Seattle's technology workforce, the City of Seattle is working with local training partners to connect 2,000 people from underrepresented communities to technology jobs by 2020.  

For more information about TechHire Seattle, visit the TechHire website or contact David Harris.

Closing the Skills Gap

Washington State is projected to have over 740,000 job openings in the next five years, the majority of which will require some education beyond high school.  Combined with record-low unemployment, employers are faced with an immediate and growing talent crisis, especially in high growth healthcare and technology sectors. This workforce skills gap has serious implications for our ability to compete and innovate. At the same time, there are many young people and unemployed or underemployed individuals who have the potential to fill these workforce needs. Our solution is to establish career pathways of improved and progressive levels of education, training, support services, and credentials that are connected to employer needs in high-demand occupations.  

Workforce Equity in Employment Interdepartmental Team

The Employment Pathways IDT is one component of the Workforce Equity Strategic Plan and is co-led by the Office of Economic Development and Seattle's Department of Human Resources. Through this team, the City of Seattle is looking at its internal policies and processes as a major employer of talent in the region and how our internships, apprenticeships, youth employment, temporary employment and job training services can lead to regular employment at the City, especially for people of color and other marginalized and underrresented groups. The IDT is considering all City workforce entry and employment pathway efforts, and how they might strategically align to make recommendations around a consistent citywide approach to City internships, apprenticeships, youth employment, temporary employment, access and job training that reduces barriers to regular employment at the City, especially for people of color and other marginalized or underrepresented groups. To learn more, contact Matt Houghton, Workforce Development Advisor. The IDT has finalized and prioritized five deliverables, created a timeline, and developed internal definitions for the scope of its work.

Workforce Equity Supported by City Council and the Mayor | Co-convened by Seattle Department of Human Resources (SDHR) and the Office of Economic Development (OED) Inventory entry-level jobs and City resourced training programs to align with green jobs, City, and local employment opportunities. Recommend ways to promote upward mobility and success in green jobs, City, and local employment opportunities. Identify outreach and engagement strategies that promote the success of people of color. Engage with regional employers around leading workforce equity practices. Workforce equity is when the workforce is inclusive of people of color and other marginalized or under-represented groups at a rate representative of the greater Seattle area, at all levels of City employment; where institutional and structural barriers impacting employee attraction, selection, participation, and retention have been eliminated, enabling opportunity for employment success and career growth. Recommendations for an Inclusive Workforce The Employment Pathways IDT is striving to meet the definition above by recommending ways to create consistent pathways to regular employment, green careers, and upward mobility at the City of Seattle, especially for people of color and other marginalized or under-represented groups. Deliverables 2017 2018 Develop a coordinated structure for the City to partner with workforce training partners who support diverse communities  Matt Houghton Workforce Development Advisor OED matth Debbie White Employment Pathways Strategic Advisor SDHR

Regional Workforce Strategy Group

Co-convened by the City of Seattle and King County's economic development teams, a strategy group comprised of philanthropic and public funders is working to improve coordination of workforce policy and funding to address the regional needs of employers and jobseekers.  Our goal is to create a mechanism to coordinate the region's workforce efforts, establish joint priorities and measures to assess our progress. This collective approach is aimed to create a more adaptive and effective system in addressing our regional workforce needs.

Our Approach

Our team focuses on growing the skills of our current and future workforce to be part of region's world-class talent pool.  We are working to build career pathways to economic mobility by closing skills gaps in targeted growth industries.  With our education and employer partners, we are aligning education and training programs with industry needs to give jobseekers targeted in-demand skills while also helping businesses access the talent they need to grow.  Career pathways align education and training programs with industry needs to help individuals develop the skills they need to get in-demand jobs and advance in their careers, while helping employers access the skilled workers they need to compete.         

OED also represented the Mayor of Seattle, who along with the King County Executive, are the chief local elected officials (CLEOs) for federal Workforce Investment Opportunity Act grants that funds employment and training services for adults, dislocated workers, and youth.  The CLEOs appoint a local workforce board and together, the CLEOs oversee the administration of workforce development services and provides strategic direction for workforce development programs.

Contact the Workforce Development Team

Nancy Yamamoto Matt Houghton Sasha Gourevitch  
Workforce Development Manager Workforce Development Advisor Youth Employment Advisor  
206-684-8189 206-684-3978 206-256-5163