Priority Hire Program Directs Jobs to Workers in Local Zip Codes
King County Executive Dow Constantine announced on August 21, 2023, the award of two grants totaling $800,000 for priority hire projects that will be led by Highline Public Schools and the City of SeaTac.
Highline to Pilot CWA & Priority Hire Program at Tyee Project
Highline will invest the $500,000 grant toward the bond project to demolish and build a new and improved Tyee High School. The Tyee construction project includes a newly passed pilot Community Workforce Agreement (CWA). Absher Construction Company is the general contractor.
“The Priority Hire grant supports our Highline promise for every student to graduate prepared for the future they choose. It will provide greater opportunities for our students and families to obtain living wage jobs and apprenticeships in their own community.”
– Ivan Duran, Highline Superintendent
“This is a historic project because it includes a Community Workforce Agreement and a commitment to increase equity and economic opportunity for workers through apprenticeship and Priority Hire,” said Monty Anderson, executive secretary of the Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council.
“We believe job sites should reflect the community. Through our top-notch training programs and partnerships, we are helping build the next generation of construction workers from our local communities. The CWA at Tyee will help bring more women, people of color, veterans, and others who are disadvantaged into construction jobs and careers.”
Local Projects Invest in Local Community
King County Executive Dow Constantine said, “Priority hire is a critical workforce and economic development strategy that provides people access to good-paying careers and a path to long-term economic security, while building a diverse workforce in the trades that reflects our communities. I am pleased that the City of SeaTac and Highline Public Schools have chosen to join King County by investing in opportunities that allow our residents – and our region – to thrive. I encourage other cities and school districts to apply for available grants to begin their own Priority Hire programs and foster stable communities and long-term prosperity.”
The Priority Hire funding is part of a new $3 million grant program to support cities, towns, school districts, and other public entities that have an interest in developing local priority hire programs to build a more representative and reflective workforce in the construction industry.
City of SeaTac Starts Priority Hire Program for 34th Avenue South Project
The City of SeaTac plans to utilize the $300,000 grant as part of the larger $15 million 34th Avenue South Phase 2 Project which will not only improve pedestrian safety but will also increase multi-modal transportation with a Complete Streets design.
The new grant program builds off the success of King County’s Priority Hire program – a workforce and economic development strategy established in 2016 that fosters opportunities for good-paying careers in the construction industry on King County public work projects of $5 million or more. One of Priority Hire’s main goals has been to increase retention rates and broaden access to apprenticeships and family-wage jobs for women and people of color.
Funding for the new grant program comes from Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery funds extended to King County as part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis and the process will close when all the funds have been awarded.