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King County Executive News

King County Executive News
Nov. 21, 2011

King County workforce development program wins Governor’s Best Practice Award

More than 90 percent of at-risk youth complete training program in Georgetown, with 50 this year hired into manufacturing jobs

For the second year in a row, an innovative King County education and employment program has been awarded a Workforce and Economic Development Best Practice award by Governor Gregoire - for success in providing education, training and internships for disadvantaged youth and young adults.

"Training low-income youth for family-wage jobs in manufacturing is creating opportunities for local kids to succeed, and providing businesses with the workers they need to grow our economy," said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

The Seeking Opportunities Developing Occupations (SODO), Inc. program recruits, trains, and helps place at-risk youth ages 18-24 in a range of manufacturing jobs, while introducing them to emerging green trends and apprenticeship opportunities. Located at the South Seattle Community College (SSCC) Georgetown Campus, the program seeks to help students move past joblessness or minimum wage employment to gain the skills for higher-wage manufacturing jobs.

About 250 young adults have participated in the program since it began in 2009. All are low-income, most are without a high school diploma or GED, and many have previous involvement in the criminal justice system. The project is funded by a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor through the Workforce Development Council (WDC) of Seattle-King County.

Students accepted to the program must complete a four-week introductory industrial training class at SSCC, after which they are eligible for paid internships with local Manufacturing Industrial Council employers to build their job skills and employability. Fifty local employers to date have hosted internships.

The completion rate for the training is over 90 percent. This year alone, 50 participants have already been hired to manufacturing jobs after completing their internship. In addition to the Manufacturing Industrial Council, other partners in the program include the SSCC Apprenticeship and Education Center, Puget Sound Industrial Excellence Center, and the WDC.

The Governor's Best Practices Awards for Workforce and Economic Development are developed through the Governor's Office, the state Department of Commerce, and the Washington State Workforce, Training and Education Coordinating Board, dedicated to helping Washington State residents obtain and succeed in family wage jobs.

For more information about the SODO Project and other youth programs, contact Jennifer Hill at 206-263-9022 or go to