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Mayor Durkan, County Executive Constantine and Port Commission President Gregoire, Announce Multijurisdictional Partnership to Invest $2.1 million in Construction Training and Worker Support Services

SEATTLE (February 15, 2018) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today joined Port of Seattle Commission President Courtney Gregoire and King County Executive Dow Constantine to announce plans to invest $2.1 million in joint funding for pre-apprenticeship and worker retention services and the ability to participate in priority hire projects. These investments aim to recruit and increase the number of women, people of color, and residents living in economically distressed areas into construction careers while also addressing the critical issue of affordability within the region.

“Tackling our region’s affordability crisis means attacking the problem from every angle,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “Creating pathways to apprenticeship helps people build true economic opportunity. The regional expansion of Seattle’s Priority Hire model ensures that women and people of color from every economic background are prioritized and can attain good family-wage jobs, while remaining right here in the City we know and love.”

In November, Mayor Durkan signed the Seattle Promise college tuition program executive order, reducing and removing financial barriers that keep some public high school graduates from pursuing higher education. Students in the program will receive two free years of college and training opportunities, earning credits towards a degree or certification – including construction trades/pre-apprenticeship training.

“Local workers of all backgrounds should benefit from major public construction projects, but the facts tell us that has not been the case. We need a deliberate and regional effort to fix a historical imbalance and give women, minorities and workers from disadvantaged neighborhoods real opportunities,” said Commission President Courtney Gregoire. “Hiring local workers for skilled construction jobs also makes business sense by improving project delivery, lowering project cost, and helping our industries find skilled workers.”

“There is a severe shortage of construction workers in our rapidly growing region and a talented workforce that has been historically excluded from good-paying construction jobs – so it’s obvious what we need to do,” said Executive Constantine. “Together, we will connect more women, people of color, and people who live in economically disadvantaged communities to high-demand construction jobs that will build the future of our region.”

“The PACT program at Seattle Vocational Institute provides our local community with the high-quality pre-apprentice construction skills, training, and the critical wrap around support services needed to secure a living wage in the construction industry,” said Sheila Edwards Lange, president Seattle Central College. “This funding will strengthen the program, increase its sustainability, and help residents — especially women and minorities — from communities throughout the city realize the promise of higher education.”

Apprenticeships are a vital aspect of providing a well-trained workforce and giving workers access to transformative career ladders. This multijurisdictional effort – with $760,000 in City funds, $1.2 million in Port funds and $200,000 in King County funds – will support pre-apprenticeship training services that focus on construction skills-building and construction worker retention services to give workers needed assistance to thrive in a career in the construction trades. By the end of 2018, more than $1.3 billion City of Seattle Priority Hire Community Workforce Agreements projects will be completed or underway.

Five organizational partnerships have been selected to receive funding for a two-year period estimated to begin the first quarter of 2018:

Pre-apprenticeship training services

  • Seattle Vocational Institute Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training (PACT) in partnership with Seattle Goodwill and Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.
  • Apprenticeship & Nontraditional Employment for Women (ANEW) in partnership with Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Education (PACE).
  • Ironworkers Pre-Apprenticeship

Construction worker retention services

  • Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
  • Apprenticeship Opportunities Program (AOP)

By taking advantage of the unique opportunity to impact workforce development through publicly funded construction contracts, the jurisdictions can provide better access to training programs and well-paying construction jobs for local workers, yield a higher return on investment by increasing worker skills and productivity, while increasing the diversity of the workforce on these projects. The training and retention services support the goals of the City, County, and Port Priority Hire programs.