Strategic Relationships Contribute to Cross-System Collaboration in Seattle’s Generation Work Initiative

Young adults’ individual needs often differ from those of their peers in both minor and significant ways, and no single workforce training program model will meet the needs of all participants. While the workforce training system can best meet young people’s various employment training needs through a vibrant network of partners and services, many staff in the workforce training system do not have a full picture of their potential partners or the services and supports available through other organizations. Additionally, young adults (ages 18-29) prepare to join the workforce in different ways and at different life stages, so they need different types of support than younger teenagers (ages 13-17). By helping staff get to know and trust one another across organizations, Generation Work has helped its Seattle local partnership develop a more coordinated and integrated system for youth and young adults who enter the system. This more coordinated process now helps young people who reach out for support at different points in their professional skills development trajectory by connecting them to organizations that are best suited to meet their needs.

This brief is one of five case studies that examine how local partnerships in the Generation Work initiative have scaled up the use of positive youth development (PYD) approaches in training programs for young people who seek high-quality training and employment. The case studies grew from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s interest in learning more about how the five local partnerships integrated PYD approaches into their workforce training programs for youth in order to generate systematic knowledge about PYD that other workforce training practitioners can apply.