Student and Community Workforce Agreement
Student and Community Workforce Agreement (SCWA) Priority Hire Program
Seattle Public Schools has launched a Priority Hire program with a Student and Community Workforce Agreement (Student and Community Workforce Agreement supports business objectives and prioritizes career development,). While similar to the City of Seattle, Sound Transit, and King County, this program introduces historic and ground-breaking new initiatives. The Student and Community Workforce Agreement supports business objectives and prioritizes career development, is among the first in the country to create a direct pipeline for students and their families as well as diverse workers and communities.
In past years, few Seattle residents or former district students have had the jobs on our larger school construction projects. Following traditional training and employment systems does not bring our students, our family wage-earners, and others who have racial or social justice barriers, to the front of the line.
- Our studies show not only few of these workers on site today, but we hope that systematic interventions can radically change this profile and bring such workers to our jobs.
- According to a small sample of projects, less than 4% of apprentices on our district projects are people of color and only 1% are women. We hope to gather more data, implement our program, and then create a meaningful increase.
- Our studies show it can ensure our construction projects continue to meet delivery schedules, strengthen safety, worker representation and ensure skilled workers direct for our school projects.
Read the adopted Master SCWA Template
Read the SCWA Task Force Final Report
Seattle Public Schools has over $1 billion in current levy money with more to come in future levies. That keeps our school buildings current, but it also represents opportunities that we hope can return to students, families, residents and communities. But this $1 billion remains a fraction of the total opportunity for construction jobs in our region. Perhaps even more importantly is the preparation it offers for placements on other public or private construction jobs.
Priority Hire has three components which create direct links into construction employment.
- The Student and Community Workforce Agreement supports business objectives and prioritizes career development, (signed agreement with unions and construction firms to hire trained and qualified Seattle Public Schools related students and families);
- Pre-apprenticeship training classes (the precursor training that prepares students, young adults and other workers to do construction work); and
- Priority access to paid apprenticeship work, both at Seattle Public Schools and for some, other construction work as well.
Current Seattle Public Schools students: The Priority Hire program prepares and prioritizes interested students for the high-wage construction industry. It provides a pathway to preferred entry into apprenticeship jobs for qualified students and priority workers. Read more about Priority Hire.
Current Seattle Public Schools families: The program prioritizes any wage-earner that has a currently-enrolled Seattle Public Schools student in their household, for hiring by the private contractors who construct Seattle Public Schools schools and large renovation projects (over $5 million in value). Read more about Priority Hire
Other residents: Our neighborhoods and communities need to be strong and financially sufficient, with access to high-wage work that can stabilize families and communities. This program prioritizes those that live in economically distressed neighborhoods, using zip codes to identify the areas of greatest need. Read more about Priority Hire
Construction workers: You do not need to be union to be hired on these projects, but you will work and receive union benefits for the duration of the job.
Non-traditional construction workers: The construction worksite can have a challenging culture for LGBTQIA+ and women, Black and other workers that may not have many on the job who look like them. In addition to the worksite protections and the union representation at these covered job sites, Seattle Public Schools construction contracts for projects at or above $1 million in value will soon provide provisions that expect an appropriate worksite. Seattle Public Schools intends to continue being attentive to opportunities for ensuring a respectful worksite.
African-American Males and Students of Color
This program has specifically sought to ensure a welcome path for Black males, whether current or former students, or wage earners for a student family. Seattle Public Schools is committed to unapologetically support and serve students and families furthest from educational justice. The career success for all students of color show that college career paths are difficult to navigate and have lower college graduation outcomes. This construction career gives a high-wage and no-debt career path, health care and retirement pensions for our union workers (for the duration of their work on a specific covered job).
Pushing Against Gentrification
Careers and employment are meaningful to a community that seeks race and social justice. It reflects how significant it is to work on a construction project for a neighborhood school their own child may attend, and having a high-wage career that gives financial stability to remain in their own neighborhood and home and thus enjoy the school you built.
Student and Community Workforce Agreement supports business objectives and prioritizes career development, is a negotiated contract between the local building construction trade unions and Seattle Public Schools. Read expectations and requirements for contractors.
For SPS Students, Families, and Alumni
Construction is a high-wage industry that is in high demand in Seattle. Seattle Public Schools has a special priority program to create a direct construction career for students and wage-earners within a student family, for Black candidates and all people of color, as well as women and those from economically distressed areas in Seattle.