Career Connected Learning Grants

Update October 12: Applications for the Career Conencted Learning Grants are now closed and awarded. Click here for the 2020 Career Connected Learning Grants Awardees

Download the Career Connected Learning RFP - Updated August 24

Cover Sheet -Fillable PDF

Cover Sheet - Word

OED's Career Connected Learning programs are specifically focused on ensuring local youth have the skills, knowledge and networks to connect to the region's economy. Our Career Connected Learning programs are operating within the context of two economic forces that are exacerbating existing racial and economic disparities and further exposing the vulnerabilities of many of Seattle's workers and businesses: COVID-19 and the rise of automation.  

Resources and opportunities for youth are critical as young people are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 related job loss, and the reduction of career connected learning experiences and internships due to economic impacts. Additionally, people of color and women, and those with lower levels of educational attainment - already over-represented among the out of work and low-wage workforce - are bearing the brunt of the impact. Solutions will require new and innovative approaches to ensure we are collectively working toward our goal of achieving an inclusive economy.  

The second disruptive force is the rise of automation, artificial intelligence and similar technologies. Without intentional strategies, it will further "hollow out" the economy and magnify the disparities that already existed. Preparing youth with skills for the emerging economy, such as digital literacy, adaptability, social-emotional skills and creativity, will enable more of our young people to participate in, and benefit from, a changing economy. These changing conditions only increase the urgency to invest in youth and young adults. 

This RFP is intended to provide Career Connected Learning opportunities to low-income youth who have historically had limited access due to systemic racial, ethnic and economic segregation.  We are interested in funding systemic strategies to support and empower youth from Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color (BIPOC) communities to connect to key sectors in the economy. Activities should be aligned to build talent pipelines to OED's key industries: IT, Creative, Maritime, Manufacturing and Clean Technology, all of which provide access to middle wage jobs and career progression. Applicants will be evaluated based on their ability to support youth and young adults move away from jobs at risk of being eliminated either due to COVID-19 or advancing technology, toward the emerging economy of the future.  

Successful applicants will demonstrate their ability to support BIPOC youth who otherwise would not have the opportunities or networks to build connections to the labor markets. Awarded grantees will have demonstrated their ability to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in their communities, build capacity and the infrastructure within their organizations to provide career connected learning experiences for youth ages 14-24 that create deeper connections to the workforce, and support youth to build social capital. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: If we are applying as a consortium, is it $25k to each organization or can the budget be split differently?

A: More than one organizations can apply together for up $50k. Only one organization will contract with OED and the other organizations will be subcontracts to that organization. The organizations can create a budget based on activities, and it does not need to be evenly split between the organizations. 

Q: Under the Investment Framework section on page 8 of the RFP, in the first paragraph, it states "Applicants must select one or more indicator..." then in the sentence just above the list of leading indicators, it states in parentheses "must choose at least 3." Is it one or three?

A: Sorry for the confusion, it should be at least 3

Q: Can we serve youth who live outside of Seattle?

A: While some of the youth served may live outside Seattle, the funding should be primarily directed to Seattle residents. One of the funding goals is to ensure that young people who grew up in Seattle, particularly those from underinvested communities, are connected to careers that enable them to thrive in Seattle as adults.   

Q: Can a union be considered an employer?

A: Yes, the letter of support should demonstrate how activities support union jobs and how proposed activities will prepare youth for their employer partners. 

Q: If we receive an award, when will funding be available?

A: Activities cannot start until after the contract is signed by both parties. Grantees may bill after that date. You can expect that it will take between 2-4 weeks after award notification to agree on the scope of work and deliverables, and fully execute the contract. 

Q: Can organizations apply for multiple grants?

A: Yes, organizations can apply for multiple grants if they are separate program ideas and there is a clear distinction between the proposals. 

Q: Who is eligible to apply?

A: Nonprofits, government agencies and schools  

Q: What is required of an employer partner?

A: An applicant must have an employer partner included in the application and a letter of support from the employer. The employer can be for-profit or non-profit. The employer does not need to be a joint applicant, but can be a subrecipient to the application. If that is the case, please include that in the narrative and identify the subrecipient in the proposed budget. An employer can be involved in a any number of ways, including but not limited to, program design, program oversight, advisory, partnership development, fundraising, activity implementation, etc. The purpose of having an employer partner is to demonstrate to the review committee that proposed activities are aligned to employer needs. 

Q: Are training, tuition, and scholarships an allowable expense? 

A: Yes 

Q: Can applicants focus on industries not specifically outlined in this RFP? 

A: No. Applicants must align activities to one of OED's priorities and key industries. Descriptions of the industry are located in the appendix of the RFP. We provided contact information for OED's sector advocates, you may reach out to them directly for further clarification. 

Q: Is there a preferred format for the application?

A: No, OED will accept any format and will evaluate proposals based on the content of the proposal.  

Q: Can organizations apply more than once?

A: Yes, but the proposals must be two separate activities.


RFP Released: August 5, 2020

Question Period: August 5, 2020 - August 28, 2020. The question period is extended from August 21 till August 28.

You may submit questions to related to the application and process. Questions and answers will be posted below. 

Proposals Due: Proposals must be emailed to by midnight on August 30, 2020. 

Award Notifications: September 25, 2020 

The City may make changes to this RFP if, in the sole judgment of the City, the change will not compromise the City's objectives in this solicitation. Any change to this RFP will be made by written addendum issued by the City and shall become part of this RFP.   

If awarded, grantees will work with OED to enter into contract negotiations to refine the scope of work and deliverables. Activities may begin once the contract has been fully executed. Contract awards will be up to 18 months from the date the contract is signed. 

The City of Seattle retains the right to reject any responses and is not required to award any funds if, in its opinion, the response failed to meet its requirements. The City of Seattle reserves the right to issue multiple or partial awards. 

Funding Priorities

OED is seeking innovative proposals to increase the number and quality of career experiences and opportunities, for young people ages 14-24, that provide access to and preparation for employment in Seattle's current and future economy. Successful proposals will demonstrate an applicant's ability to help young people transition from jobs lost to COVID-19 or at risk of being replaced by emerging technology to jobs and skillsets of the future.

Our priorities for this RFP are to:  

  1. Address systemic barriers in accessing Career Connected Learning experiences that provide young people with knowledge, preparation, and access to careers.  
  2. Build replicable best practice for high quality Career Connected Learning experiences that adhere to public health guidelines for distance learning/social distancing. 
  3. Provide high quality activities aligned to the career connected learning continuum referenced below for youth ages 14-24. (See the Appendix for complimentary research on best practices, including a toolkit for moving youth employment activities online). 
  4. Expand access, opportunity, and career navigation to youth with the greatest need and the least connection to the labor market.  
  5. Provide connection to other career development activities, education, and training programs so that youth benefit from a continuum of career connected learning opportunities  
  6. Ensure youth have the skills, competencies, and networks to be connected to and successful in the labor market. 
  7. Build talent pipelines for OED's key industries: Maritime, Manufacturing, Clean Technology, IT, Entrepreneurship and Inclusive Creative industries.  Please see the appendix for specific details. 
  8. Respond to the needs of communities to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 
  9. Increase the number of local employment and industry partners that engage in the full range of career connected learning experiences  

Project proposals must clearly demonstrate how projects are addressing employer talent and hiring needs, employer/supervisor training, or retention efforts, and include a partnership with at least one employer.   

Maximum grant awards are $25,000 per applicant; consortiums consisting of 2 or more organizations may apply for up to $50,000. The total number of grants awarded will be dependent on the number of proposals selected, requested funding amounts and available funding. OED will negotiate performance-based contracts with successful grantees to ensure contract goals and outcomes are met with awarded allocation. Grant period may be between 6 -18 months depending on proposed activities.   

All awarded grantees will be required to participate in 2-3 cohort meetings to foster learning across the cohort, share promising practices and lessons learned with peers and inventory best practices for career connected learning and skill attainment.

Key Industries 


What is the maritime industry? The Maritime Industry is waterborne commerce- it's about moving people and goods over the water.   

Maritime is most everything connected to the sea or waterways throughout the world, especially in relation to navigation, shipping and marine engineering. The industry has a direct impact on much of our everyday lives. Think about the oil that powers our cars, many of our vehicles, our electronics, the coffee we drink, foods we eat and the clothes we wear... most come from overseas.  

7 maritime sectors in Washington [Source: Washington Maritime Federation]:  

  1. Passenger Water Transportation - Includes recreational cruise lines, Washington State Ferries and other ferries, water taxis, and recreational fishing, sailing, and diving charters.  
  2. Maritime Support Services - "These services include support for commercial, recreational, and defense-related Maritime, including boat dealers, marinas, fueling and lubricant businesses, to naval architects, engineers, parts suppliers, and construction, to professional services such as attorneys and accountants, and federally-funded support involving NOAA and the Army Corps of Engineers." [Source: WA Maritime Federation] 
  3. Maritime Logistics and Shipping - Includes Port and harbor operations, deep and shallow water goods movement, inland water freight transport, and refrigerated warehousing and storage. This sector includes many support firms and services, such as Maritime construction firms who contract with the Ports, and longshoremen. 
  4. "Fishing and Seafood Products - Includes commercial and recreational fishermen, seafood processing firms, aquaculture and fish farming, and wholesale and retail seafood markets. 
  5. Shipbuilding and Repair - Is the design, engineering and construction of new vessels as well as repair of vessels needing rehabilitation. Shipyards are where ships are built and repaired, example: cargo ships, cruise ships, ferries, yachts, military vessels, etc. 
  6. Recreational Boating - Boating is a leisure activity involving travel or fun via a boat, powerboat, sailboat, rowboat or paddle boat. "The outdoor recreation economy is a $22.2 billion industry and recreational boating comprises the largest portion of this economic powerhouse. Recreational boating means more than $4 billion (Hebert number) for our state. Whether it's stand-up paddleboards or superyachts (and everything in between), boats of all shapes and sizes either visit our state or are moored here permanently (238,000 recreational boats are registered in Washington state in 2014). 
  7. Emerging Technologies - Offshore wind energy, wave, tidal or ocean thermal energy.   


What is Manufacturing? The term may refer to a range of human activity from handicraft to high tech but is most commonly applied to industrial design, in which raw materials from primary industry are transformed into finished goods on a large scale. Such finished goods may be sold to other manufacturers for the production of other more complex products (such as aircraft, household appliances, furniture, sports equipment or automobiles), or distributed via the tertiary industry to end users and consumers (usually through wholesalers, who in turn sell to retailers, who then sell them to individual customers). Producing locally-from food and energy to materials and consumer products, manufacturers are makers of everything from chocolate to kimchi, bicycles to biodiesel, and jewelry to jam.   

Traditional manufacturing is defined as the act of converting raw materials into finished products by using manual or mechanized transformational techniques. The term "advanced manufacturing" encompasses many of the developments in the manufacturing field during the late 20th and early 21st centuries, including high tech products and processes and Clean, green, and flexible manufacturing, among others. No one definition captures everything said about advanced manufacturing, although the majority of definitions found on the web include the use of innovative technology to improve products and/or processes and may also include the use of new business/management methodologies.  

To learn more about Maritime and Manufacturing, you may contact:  

Sarah Scherer 
Manufacturing and Maritime Advocate 
C: 206-514-1930 | 

Clean Technology  

Clean technologies represent a diverse range of products, services, and processes, all intended to play a solution in the transformation toward a greener economy, with the potential to foster regional economic growth while simultaneously mitigating environmental challenges. Clean technologies span many industry verticals such as 

  • Energy (Generation, Storage, Infrastructure, Efficiency) 
  • Transportation  
  • Water & Wastewater 
  • Air & Environment  
  • Materials   
  • Manufacturing/Industrial 
  • Agriculture  
  • Recycling & Waste 

Seattle's leadership is committed to move beyond incremental environmental change and fundamentally reshape our systems towards a green economy effecting current and future employers and employees.  Recent City commitments include:    

  • The Mayor's Green New Deal (Executive Order #2020-01) requires the City to engage with local businesses, workforce development organizations, and the labor community to identify and strengthen pathways to economic opportunity for those workers most impacted by the transition to a clean economy and to ensure workers are well matched to jobs created by emerging clean industries.   
  • Resolution 31895, adopted by the City Council in August 2019, established a goal of making Seattle climate pollution-free by 2030, and committed the City to ensuring a just transition for workers whose jobs currently depend on the fossil fuel industry.   
  • Starting in September 2020, residential heating oil in Seattle is subject to a tax which may affect the heating oil industry as well as open doors to an increase of residential electric HVAC installations and thus, create more green jobs.   

Clean Energy workers at the lower ends of the income spectrum can earn up to $10 more per hour than other jobs, and 50% of workers attain no more than a high school diploma yet earn higher wages than similarly-educated peers in other industries. However, the clean energy workforce is older, dominated by male workers and lacks racial diversity.

To learn more about Clean Technology, you may contact:  

Stephanie Gowing 
Green Business Advocate 
206.684.3698 |  

Technology Industry 

There is no denying that Seattle is a global leader in technology and innovation, and as the economy continues to be impacted by technological advances, there are tremendous opportunities for well-paying jobs and sustainable career development in the space. OED's priority in regard to the technology industry in Seattle is to ensure that not only these companies are increasing their diversity and inclusion efforts, but also that the local BIPOC workforce has the proper access to education and training in order to be competitive candidates for these roles. 

Having a four-year degree is not a requirement for many technology companies hiring for both technology-focused and technology-adjacent jobs, some of which make over $100,000 a year, on average.  Here are some examples of entry level technology jobs and their median base salaries in Seattle (not including additional cash compensations and bonuses): 

  • Data Scientist: $95,000 
  • Junior Software Engineer: $90,000 
  • Product Designer: $87,000 
  • UX Designer: $73,000 
  • Game Developer: $70,000 

LinkedIn's 2020 Emerging Jobs Report highlights the top 15 jobs in the US that have experienced significant growth over the last five years and includes the required skills associated with each. Of the 15 jobs listed, five of those have a significant number of hires in Seattle while also being and are technology focused.  

Seattle is known for being the home some major global players in technology, such as Amazon, Tableau, F5, and Big Fish Games, and hosting local offices of Silicon Valley-originating companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter. However, there is a long list of fast-growing small to medium-sized companies in this industry that are just as promising as potential employers, especially as their smaller corporate environments and rapid growth allow for more opportunities for learning and advancement. 

Additionally, the demand for talent with the understanding and skills relevant to emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Nanotechnology, and Blockchain will continue to grow; and naturally there is a unique opportunity to offer training and education in these areas. 

To learn more about the Technology Industry, you may contact:  

Anisa Khoshbakhtian 
Technology & Media Industry Advocate 
M: 206-514-1929 | 

Inclusive Creative Industries

Seattle is a city that invents the future, and the strengths of local industries are diversity, innovation, and creativity. It follows that Seattle's creative industries, which include film, music, architecture, journalism, live event production, cultural institutions, emerging technology, and software development, totaling nearly 70,000 creative workers, are essential to this city's identity and are powerful economic drivers.

Creative industries produce and commercialize creative content, output, and exports. Creativity itself can be defined as the ability to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others. Can you connect the dots of a complex situation? Can you generate new solutions to new problems? What do you do when you don't know what to do?

As the knowledge economy (led by the technology industry) transitions to the network economy (led by creative industries), the City is prioritizing education, training, and job placement in creative industries to build and prepare for the future of work, particularly for BIPOC youth. Creativity is an essential skill of the future because it is a human trait that automation can augment but not replace. It is also an essential skill now as Covid-19 has required that we continuously problem solve in unfamiliar and rapidly changing environments, pivot business models, and learn new ways to connect with each other.

LinkedIn Learning named creativity as the #1 soft skill that companies need most in 2020 (and in 2019). While psychologists tend to agree that the barriers to development are naturally low as everyone is born creative, creative ability needs technical training to translate into a career in the creative industries. Paired with digital learning, a skillset that fuses emerging technology and creative ability will prepare youth for increasingly relevant occupations within creative industries.

The City focuses on creative occupations that use creative skills and produce creative results across all industries, targeting youth skill development in the following occupations that fuse creativity and emerging technology:

  • Emerging and Immersive Technology, including Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality, Extended Reality, and Computer-Generated Imagery 
  • Animation 
  • Marketing 
  • Gaming 
  • Film Production 
  • Music and Event production 
  • Content Creation 
  • STEAM curriculum development and advocacy 

To learn more about Inclusive Creative Industries, you may contact:  

Meghan Sebold  
206.514.2904 |