Student and Community Workforce Agreement

Students and Families

SCWA Information for Families, Alumni, and Students

Construction is the number one vocation of those who choose to enter the workforce instead of pursuing college. Seattle has high demand for such workers with major construction projects being built all over

Construction Career Priority Hire

We talk a lot about college, but construction is also a high-wage industry. Seattle Public Schools has a special priority program to create a direct construction career pathway 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.

High-Wage, Low-Debt Career Pathway

Construction work is a high-wage and low-debt career pathway. It is a pathway open to those ready to build a career, even given incarceration or drug histories. The Union environment is the cornerstone of the Priority Hire program for Seattle Public Schools. Union jobs offer not only wage, but retirement and health care benefits, job referrals, and worker representation on the job.

Women and people of color in the union public works market do not have the hourly pay-differentials compared to white males that other industries often have, because hourly wages are set and enforced by the state.

Typical construction trade earnings exceed a typical college graduate. While earnings may be reported differently by various sources, most resources show similar patterns.

Examples of annualized wages for those that complete union apprenticeship in Seattle and King County

Carpenter, Journey union $84,635 ($23 an hour)
(Source Washington State Labor Council, Jan 2019, Evan Woods of Olympic Analytics)

Pipe-fitters, Journey union $88,130 ($46 an hour)

Bachelor of Arts degree * $49,000
(Source ZipRecruiter)

Construction Career Pathway for Students

Seattle Public Schools has launched a Priority Hire program that brings a construction career curriculum for construction jobs to our priority and diverse candidates.

The Pipeline and Pathway — How to Begin

  • SPS CTE Skilled Trade classes offer a glimpse into the construction world. Go to the Skills Center website.
  • Enroll and attend local pre-apprenticeship program to get well prepared and ready for construction work. Most current programs require you to be 18 or older, so many of our SPS students will have this step after they leave high school and turn 18.
  • SPS seeks to have a pre-apprenticeship program in SPS high schools by 2021-2022, to allow current students the chance to earn their pre-apprentice certification early, while still in high school
  • Upon graduation from a pre-apprenticeship program, evaluate the trade and apprenticeship program that you enjoy and can qualify for. Use the Apprentice Guidebook found on the city website to figure out how to get considered for apprenticeship jobs.
  • If you are a Priority or Diversity candidate, you receive preferred entry if qualified for an apprenticeship program.

Contact Us

Please contact Harvey Wright, hwright@seattleschools.org or 206-683-9352 for more information.

More Information

Please visit the City of Seattle website for the Apprentice Guidebook which includes resources to explore this program and career resources.

Read more about Career Readiness at Seattle Public Schools.