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caption: Fiona "Jell" Pena-Rolla commutes on the monorail to Seattle Center on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, in Seattle.
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Fiona "Jell" Pena-Rolla commutes on the monorail to Seattle Center on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Port of Seattle set to create hundreds of youth jobs this summer

The pandemic is disrupting many young people's summer jobs and life plans.

The Port of Seattle is stepping in with work opportunities for 220 people between the ages of 16 and 24. The aim is to establish career pathways for them.

The Port is concentrating creating work at the seaport and in aerospace, including construction: $1.5 billion worth of it is happening at Sea-Tac airport.

The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle is providing training in construction. Seattle Parks Foundation is working with the non-profit Mid Sound Fisheries to show young people what a career in environmental restoration could look like. Seattle Goodwill will expose young people to opportunities in maritime and aerospace.

“These communities that we work with don’t know much about these pathways and they haven’t been given these opportunities,” said LeAsia Johnson of Seattle Goodwill.

“Within our programs we give them an opportunity to fully see what’s around them – you live in a port city, we’re right here on the water, and some of them don’t really know what maritime is.”

The Port is supplying the money for those programs, to the tune of $1.5 million. They'll begin operating in July and will stretch beyond the summer, officials say.

Low-skilled workers, at or below age 24, have been hit the hardest by the pandemic recession, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Workers with high school educations in south Seattle and south King County have been the most affected, particularly within communities of color. It’s estimated that unemployment among these demographics stands at roughly 25%. That's

Commissioner Stephanie Bowman said all of this is possible on short notice because of partnerships the port has built over the years.

“I encourage others to look to us and to our non-profit partners if you’re willing to put a little bit of money into employing youth this summer,” Bowman said.