Strategic Plan Score Card - Economic Vitality
Increase access to family wage job opportunities throughout the County.
The School-to-Work (S2W) Program connects students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to employment services early – while they are still in their high school transition programs – with the goal of assisting them in obtaining paid employment before they leave school. S2W provides customized one-on-one support for clients to help them be successful in obtaining and keeping a job and transition to long-term adult employment support services. The program is a partnership between King County, Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), Washington State Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA), school districts, job support agencies, and clients and families.
How much are we doing?
From 2015-2018, an average of 133 clients participated in S2W each year. Among clients exiting school in 2018 specifically, 45% were people of color. This is comparable to King County overall, where 43% of the total population are people of color.
In a concerted effort to reach the region’s diverse communities, the Developmental Disabilities and Early Childhood Supports Division (DDECSD) invests in community organizations that provide additional outreach as well as cultural and linguistic support. This support is growing and will remain a priority effort to address racial disparities that impact equitable access to services.Back to top
How well are we doing?
School-to-Work and the provider community are committed to the motto “all means all.” This means that all clients who want to work, regardless of the level of support they need to be successful, have the opportunity to seek paid employment. The S2W program is unique in that it aims to help clients achieve the goal of employment before they exit school, as part of a successful transition to adult living. From 2015-2018, approximately 58% of all clients had jobs by the end of school. Across this same time period, initial job placement rates among clients of color were slightly lower than white clients, at 56% and 59% respectively.Back to top
Is anyone better off?
Another important goal of S2W is that clients have the support they need to either maintain existing jobs or obtain a new job once they exit school. To measure this, the S2W team tracks how many clients are employed six months after they leave school.
From 2015-2018, approximately 63% of all S2W clients were employed six months after they left school. However, there are disparities in employment rates between clients of color and white clients. As a priority, DDECSD is investing in training and direct support to employment service providers and collaborating with family organizations from diverse communities to better understand these differences and identify solutions so that all clients have equitable employment outcomes.Back to top
Additional resourcesBack to top
Because of the county's response to COVID-19, this data story will not be completed until the 2021 revisions.
King County’s Priority Hire Program is a workforce and economic development strategy that fosters opportunities for good paying careers in the construction industry, with a certain percentage of those jobs filled by local workers from economically disadvantaged areas. The Priority Hire Program provides training and family wage employment opportunities in the construction industry and requires that a percentage of labor hours be worked by these workers on King County public works construction projects of $15 million or more (this threshold is expected to be lowered to $5 million in April 2020). The Priority Hire Program provides access for persons interested in pursuing career opportunities in the construction industry who reside in economically distressed areas of King County, and in areas of Pierce and Snohomish counties where the county has wastewater rate payers.
How much are we doing?
One of the Priority Hire’s main goals is to increase retention rates and broaden access to apprenticeships and family wage jobs for women and people of color. King County’s Apprenticeship and Priority Hire programs work together to improve access to paid training and jobs while growing a skilled workforce that reflects the diversity of the county’s population. Workers are classified into two categories: apprentice level (a worker learning the trades, “entry level”) and journey level (fully trained, “skilled”).
King County establishes apprenticeship requirements on select public works construction projects based on the scope of work and the number of total anticipated labor hours.
The Priority Hire program is on track to continue growing the labor hours offered to workers from target zip codes. In 2017, 53,100 hours were worked in the program; in 2018, 195,350 hours were worked in the program, and 2019 is expected to continue this upward trajectory as 107,744 hours were logged between January and June 2019. As part of its original mandate, this program is reaching a racially diverse group of workers that reflect their racially diverse zip codes.Back to top
How well are we doing?
King County requires that all contracts that use the Priority Hire program must allocate a certain percentage of the apprentice and journey labor hours from their projects to participants of the Priority Hire program. The current requirement is 15% for apprentice and journey labor hours. Since its first year of programming in 2017 to present, the Priority Hire program has exceeded its target proportion of labor hours to workers from target zip codes, with roughly one-third of apprentice labor hours and one-quarter of journey labor hours performed by program participants.Back to top
Is anyone better off?
The Priority Hire program’s goals are to support the hiring of residents who live in King County Priority Hire Zip Codes. Priority Hire Zip Codes in the study region are ZIP codes that are above the benchmark percentile in two of the following three criteria:
- High concentration of unemployed people in terms of persons per acre or share of total residents
- High concentration of people 25 or older without a college degree in terms of persons per acre of share of total residents
- High concentration of people living 200% of the federal poverty line in terms of persons per acre or share of total residents
Reaching people who live in economically distressed areas and providing training enables these individuals to have higher earning jobs. The Priority Hire program is reaching more people every year and fulfilling its goals of increasing entry and diversity in the trades. Through the Priority Hire program, these individuals are put on the path to better-paid positions and this economic benefit is expected to have resounding effects throughout their communities. The program has highlighted several success stories on its website to illustrate the impact on individuals.
The Priority Hire program has made great strides in reaching workers in economically distressed areas. Through its active focus on apprentices, it is transforming the demographics of King County’s construction industry to be more reflective of the County’s diverse population in support of Equity and Social Justice strategic goals.Back to top
- King County Priority Hire Program
- Low Income Priority Hire Program Moving Forward
- King County Priority Hire Program (PDF)