Seattle Public Schools


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 (SCWA). While similar to the City of Seattle, Sound Transit, and King County, this program introduces historic and ground-breaking new initiatives. The SCWA is among the first in the country to create a direct pipeline for students and their families as well as diverse workers and communities.

Information for Contractors

Information for Students and Families

Program Components

A construction worker in a hard hat poses for a photo
  1. The SCWA (signed agreement with unions and construction firms to hire trained and qualified SPS related students and families);
  2. Pre-apprenticeship training classes (the precursor training that prepares students, young adults and other workers to do construction work); and
  3. Priority access to paid apprenticeship work, both at SPS and for some, other construction work as well.


Current SPS 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 SPS families: The program prioritizes any wage-earner that has a currently-enrolled SPS student in their household, for hiring by the private contractors who construct SPS 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, SPS construction contracts for projects at or above $1 million in value will soon provide provisions that expect an appropriate worksite. SPS 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. SPS 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.

For Contractors

SCWA 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.