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Seattle Youth Employment Initiative celebrates employers and youth

Thousands of youth were offered employment opportunities with private and public sector employers across the city through Seattle’s Youth Employment Initiative in 2018. The program has provided 9,624 paid internships for low-income and marginalized young people in the past three years.

“We are committed to ensuring youth have a window into the economy, through career-connected learning, exploration, and experiences,” Rebecca Lovell, Acting Director of the Seattle Office of Economic Development continued. “We are fortunate to partner with employers who have committed to developing their future workforce, in part through engaging youth in summer employment. Along with our partners, we are focused on ensuring young people of color have equitable access to such opportunities as early as possible.”

To support the effort, JPMorgan Chase awarded the City of Seattle $100,000 this year to fund youth internships and the City’s program that helps recruit employers. With this year’s donation, JPMorgan Chase has now donated $1 million over the last five years.

As a first-time funder this year, Bank of America joined the City’s youth employment efforts and invested $50,000 in support. Bank of America also supports the initiative through employing interns at a number of Seattle-based financial centers.

Swedish Hospital contributed $30,000 to host interns at its offices this year. Other donors include the Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Google, and the Seattle Music Commission.

Through the Youth Employment Initiative, eligible youth and young adults are connected with paid work experience in positions at various City departments and other public and private sector placements based on their career interests. The City is also collaborating with partners to provide other creative career exploration activities for young people, where students have the opportunity to learn about potential jobs and network with employers and workers.

Youth employment provides skills necessary for young people who otherwise would be left out of the labor market and has been shown to have 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. This is particularly critical for marginalized and low-income youth, who may lack family or community networks to help guide them towards a successful career.

“Youth employment is a platform for the future, and JPMorgan Chase is committed to helping organizations make long-term investments in increasing the number of job opportunities available to our local youth. We feel our support of the Mayor’s summer youth employment program is an important way we are helping to build the long-term success of the local economy,” said JPMorgan Chase Chairman of the Pacific Northwest, Phyllis Campbell. ”We take great pride in our history of supporting organizations and programs that strengthen access to opportunities for youth and we commend the important work of the summer youth employment program.”

Partnering with the Seattle Youth Employment Initiative is part of Bank of America’s $40 million commitment to reach 100,000 young adults with job skills and employment experiences,” said Kerri Schroeder, Seattle Market President, Bank of America. “Youth unemployment limits income mobility well into adulthood, so we’re excited this program targets historically underserved youth and young adults in Seattle and provides a unique opportunity to build their resumes, serving as a catalyst for future economic success and mobility, as well as advancing the long-term success of our community.”

Last year, over 3,000 local youth were employed at organizations and companies across the city through Seattle’s Youth Employment Initiative. This year we expect to serve approximately 4,000 youth.

For employers who are interested in working with the City of Seattle to help young people reach their full potential, reach out to