The Boeing company announced today that Yesler Community Collaborative is among recipients in the Puget Sound area of a $40,000 grant in 2016. The grant will assist YCC to build capacity among local organizations in the economic opportunity support system serving local low-income residents.

According to YCC’s lead consultant Doris Koo, “This grant will allow YCC to better support our community partners in their efforts to connect residents and small businesses to economic opportunities. We are grateful for Boeing’s continuing support.” YCC will bring together local institutions, service providers, workforce training programs and local and regional employers in support of this goal.

The Seattle Housing Authority has documented a baseline of deep community need among residents of Yesler Terrace and the surrounding neighborhood. As of 2012, 44 percent of households in the greater Yesler neighborhood and 76 percent of Yesler Terrace public housing residents had incomes below federal poverty guidelines with unemployment of 10.9 percent as compared to a citywide level of 5.1 percent.

With Boeing’s support, YCC plans to convene, coordinate and align the organizations already working in this area, bring in more employers and provider partners to deepen collective understanding of the local job market and growing industries, as well as the needs of each family. Plans also include identifying, piloting and scaling successful strategies and programs.

The program will generally benefit low-income residents of Yesler Terrace and the surrounding neighborhoods, and local small businesses. Specifically, the program will target young people who dropped out of high school or graduated without the skills for a job or further education, immigrant women and men with limited English skills in their 30s and 40s, and residents interested in starting their own businesses.

YCC will work to improve the economic opportunity support system by building on several relatively simple approaches and conditions that have shown promise in recent pilot programs at Yesler Terrace:

  • Programs that a group of participants go through together, fostering de facto support groups or peer cohorts;
  •  ESL and job training that provide flexibility to encourage and support participants learning together regardless of their current skill level;
  •  Industry-tailored ESL combined with job shadowing in fields that are of interest to residents and have job openings or growth potential in the Seattle area;
  • Stipends for participation, so people are paid for their time; and
  • Building on residents’ personal interests and motivations.

The objective is to bring partners together, create new connections, bring existing and new resources to the table to build on this emerging understanding, scale up successful pilots and expand to new industries.