Career Pathways Initiatives

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, 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.

The Center for Working Adults at the Seattle Colleges is a partnership with the Office of Economic Development that connects workers with the skills and opportunities to advance in their careers. Through student navigation, worker-friendly programs in high-demand sectors, and employer partnerships, CWA is focused on developing innovative talent and workforce strategies that strengthen local communities and business.  By working closely with organizations like Seattle Jobs Initiative, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW Multi-Employer Training Fund, and Seattle Colleges, CWA is able to leverage a broad range of resources to support working students for a vibrant and equitable Seattle.

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.

Workforce Equity

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. We ask 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 underrepresented 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. The IDT has finalized and prioritized five deliverables, created a timeline, and developed internal definitions for the scope of its work.

To learn more, contact Matt Houghton, Workforce Development Advisor.

Infographic describing employment pathways interdepartmental team