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Opportunity Youth Initiative Delivers Results in Underserved Communities

Summer programs continue through fall, offering more relief during COVID-19 downturn
September 9, 2020

The Port of Seattle’s $1.5 million Opportunity Youth Initiative continues to support nearly 200 jobs this summer for underserved youth, providing funding and support to four local non-profit organizations: Seattle Goodwill, Seattle Parks Foundation, Partner in Employment (PIE), and Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. Early results are in, and youth are learning skills and earning money for themselves and their families.

“The Port of Seattle will continue to do its part to bring equity and opportunity to communities throughout King County and beyond,” said Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. “By working with the Urban League and others, we can bring 21st century training and technical skills and experience to those that need it most, and our work is just beginning.”

The COVID-19 global pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to the entire region, but the communities the farthest from opportunity experienced the most harm. The Port particularly focused the investments of this initiative to those underserved communities who have been most impacted by COVID-19.

On August 7, the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle finished its first round of youth workers who were trained to build ‘tiny houses’ with LIHI, providing housing for those most in need. More groups of youth will train in the program in September and October.


“We thank the Port of Seattle for offering the much-needed resources to fund youth employment and training,” said Lawrence Willis, Community Liaison for the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. “The hands-on construction skills they’ve learned will help prepare them for a living wage career in the construction trades provide a lifetime of skills for those entering trades across our region.”

Seattle Goodwill, Seattle Parks Foundation, and PIE will continue their programs through the fall, providing further economic benefit and jobs training for their youth participants. Those programs include environmental remediation and sustainability, salmon habitat restoration, aerospace manufacturing programs, along with career awareness and job readiness skills.

While workers in nearly every sector of Washington’s economy have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, low-skilled workers between 16 to 24 years of age have been hit the hardest, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department. In particular, workers with a high school degree or equivalent education, between the ages of 16 and 24, living in south Seattle and the south King County area, and workers of color have the highest number of unemployment claims per capita. Through these community partnerships, the Port of Seattle is working to combat the systemic racism that is exacerbating the effects of this crisis for youth and communities of color.


Peter McGraw | Maritime Media
(206) 787-3446 |

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