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Program Overview

King County’s Priority Hire Program is a workforce and economic development strategy that provides training and family wage employment opportunities in the construction industry on King County public works construction projects of $5 million or more. 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 rate payers.

In May 2016, King County Executive, Dow Constantine, issued a directive to County department directors to implement a pilot Priority Hire program for large capital construction projects, consistent with a 2013 Executive Order for Project Labor Agreements.

The Priority Hire Program is an important component of King County's Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan and supports a more diverse and trained workforce that is necessary for our region to continue to prosper.

  • Align & Champion Greater Workforce Diversity in the Trades
  • Increase Entry & Diversity in the Trades
  • Improve Retention of Workforce Diversity in the Trades
  • Prioritizes economically disadvantaged local workers for inclusion in King County capital construction projects 
  • Supports the hiring of residents who live in King County Priority Hire Zip Codes.
  • Training and job opportunities in the construction industry for local residents needing family-wage jobs
  • Assist in addressing a widening gap between the demand for construction labor and the supply of skilled trade workers in our regional labor market
  • $4.4 million in wages earned by priority hire workers, compared to $3.7 million in 2020
  • 305,583 total Washington State labor hours on projects with Priority Hire requirements
  • 93,875 priority hire labor hours, compared to 79,810 hours in 2020
  • 45.1% Priority Hire apprentice participation rate, exceeding the required rate of 19.3 percent
  • 27.1% Priority Hire journey worker participation rate, exceeding the required rate of 16.2 percent
  • 577 Priority Hire workers, including 482 journey workers and 95 apprentices
  • 45.2% Priority Hire minority worker participationrate, an increase of 6.2 percent from 2020
  • 13.0% Priority Hire women worker participation rate, an increase of 5.4 percent from 2020