The Port of Seattle Commission expands its investments in critical equitable recovery programs with the approval of $3.9 million in funding for youth jobs and local economic development.
“These programs bring more youth and business-owners, especially from communities of color and immigrant communities, to the prosperity starting line,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Hamdi Mohamed. “Investing where needs are greatest addresses root causes of economic inequity while allocating public resources toward continuous improvement. An early and key connection can make all the difference in choosing a high-quality career or getting a small business on solid footing. This is how Port-related opportunities can change lives.”
The Commission approved $2.1 million to fund the Youth Career Launch Program, an evolution of the Port’s Opportunity Youth Initiative, for three years. The Commission authorized $1.86 million for the Economic Development Partnership program, which supports two-year economic development projects jointly funded by the Port and King County cities. The Commission also authorized the Executive Director to use underutilized grant program funding from 2021 to support regional small business recovery initiatives.
About the Youth Career Launch Program
The Youth Career Launch Program builds on work began by the Port in 2020 when it created the Opportunity Youth Initiative as a direct response to economic crisis in communities most impacted by COVID.
In 2021, the Opportunity Youth Initiative provided 280 youth – the majority of whom were youth of color and from economically distressed zip codes – with internship training opportunities in Port-related jobs and careers in aviation, construction, green jobs, and maritime.
An order presented by Commissioner Hamdi Mohamed and supported by fellow commissioners renames the Port’s Opportunity Youth Initiative to the Youth Career Launch Program, explores how to evolve the program from a temporary economic response to a permanent program aligned with core Port priorities and best practices, expands community and industry partnership, and lays the groundwork for a process to evaluate and set a plan for the program’s future by the end of 2024.
About the Economic Development Partnership
The Port of Seattle Commission created the Economic Development Partnership (EDP) program in 2016 to advance local economic development in partnership with cities in King County. Since the program's inception in 2016, the Port has awarded over $3 million in program funding cities in King County.
Cities apply for grants worth between $5,000 - $60,000 to implement economic development projects that tie to the Port’s business interests. The Port requires a 50 percent match (up to 25 percent monetary match and 25 percent in-kind resources match) to ensure cities are also committed to project success.
The 2022-2023 grant partnership with King County cities will continue to focus on initiatives that advance COVID-19 economic recovery.
In 2021, City participants used Port grant funding to advance economic relief and recovery initiatives that support small business, promote buy local campaigns, advance responsible tourism, and support impacted workers.
In 2020 the Port of Seattle developed principles of equitable COVID recovery strategies. You may view the COVID recovery strategies here.
Please visit the workforce development program page for more information.