Career Connected Learning Grants from Office of Economic Development

OED’s Career Connected Learning programs are specifically focused on ensuring local youth have the skills, knowledge and networks to connect to the region’s economy. Our Career Connected Learning programs are operating within the context of two economic forces that are exacerbating existing racial and economic disparities and further exposing the vulnerabilities of many of Seattle’s workers and businesses: COVID-19 and the rise of automation.

Resources and opportunities for youth are critical as young people are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 related job loss, and the reduction of career connected learning experiences and internships due to economic impacts. Additionally, people of color and women, and those with lower levels of educational attainment – already over-represented among the out of work and low-wage workforce – are bearing the brunt of the impact. Solutions will require new and innovative approaches to ensure we are collectively working toward our goal of achieving an inclusive economy.

The second disruptive force is the rise of automation, artificial intelligence and similar technologies. Without intentional strategies, it will further “hollow out” the economy and magnify the disparities that already existed. Preparing youth with skills for the emerging economy, such as digital literacy, adaptability, social-emotional skills and creativity, will enable more of our young people to participate in, and benefit from, a changing economy. These changing conditions only increase the urgency to invest in youth and young adults.

This RFP is intended to provide Career Connected Learning opportunities to low-income youth who have historically had limited access due to systemic racial, ethnic and economic segregation.  We are interested in funding systemic strategies to support and empower youth from Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color (BIPOC) communities to connect to key sectors in the economy. Activities should be aligned to build talent pipelines to OED’s key industries: IT, Creative, Maritime, Manufacturing and Clean Technology, all of which provide access to middle wage jobs and career progression. Applicants will be evaluated based on their ability to support youth and young adults move away from jobs at risk of being eliminated either due to COVID-19 or advancing technology, toward the emerging economy of the future.

Successful applicants will demonstrate their ability to support BIPOC youth who otherwise would not have the opportunities or networks to build connections to the labor markets. Awarded grantees will have demonstrated their ability to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in their communities, build capacity and the infrastructure within their organizations to provide career connected learning experiences for youth ages 14-24 that create deeper connections to the workforce, and support youth to build social capital.

RFP Released: August 5, 2020

Question Period: August 5, 2020 – August 28, 2020. The question period is extended from August 21 till August 28.

You may submit questions to [email protected] related to the application and process. Questions and answers will be posted below.

Proposals Due: Proposals must be emailed to [email protected] by midnight on August 30, 2020.

Award Notifications: September 18, 2020

The City may make changes to this RFP if, in the sole judgment of the City, the change will not compromise the City’s objectives in this solicitation. Any change to this RFP will be made by written addendum issued by the City and shall become part of this RFP.

If awarded, grantees will work with OED to enter into contract negotiations to refine the scope of work and deliverables. Activities may begin once the contract has been fully executed. Contract awards will be up to 18 months from the date the contract is signed.

The City of Seattle retains the right to reject any responses and is not required to award any funds if, in its opinion, the response failed to meet its requirements. The City of Seattle reserves the right to issue multiple or partial awards.

Funding Priorities

OED is seeking innovative proposals to increase the number and quality of career experiences and opportunities, for young people ages 14-24, that provide access to and preparation for employment in Seattle’s current and future economy. Successful proposals will demonstrate an applicant’s ability to help young people transition from jobs lost to COVID-19 or at risk of being replaced by emerging technology to jobs and skill sets of the future.

Key Industries

Maritime, Manufacturing, Clean Technology, Technology Industry