This issue of Job Notes explores Seattle Goodwill's Youth Programs, spotlights demographic trends across the counties we serve, discusses the opportunities an informational interview can provide, and shows how teamwork can help you achieve your goals.

Programs for Youth

While many of Goodwill’s classes and programs are geared towards adult learners, Seattle Goodwill also offers Youth Programs to provide youth in our communities with opportunities for success. 

On Saturday, June 20th, 2015, we held the first annual Youth Programs Graduation where we celebrated the commitment, dedication, perseverance, hard work, and achievement of 60 youth. Although these young women and men have completed our programs, they will always have a place at Goodwill. We are so proud of their accomplishments!

Youth Green Corps Program
The Goodwill Youth Green Corps is a partnership between Seattle Goodwill Industries and Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation. It is a nine-month work readiness program that connects and engages disconnected young adults, ages 18-24, who are not working or in school, with opportunities to obtain and maintain a family-supporting career. The overall goals for the program are to provide work experience, college exposure, and future planning so that youth completing the program are either placed in jobs or attend programs at local community colleges. The Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation provides on-the-job training and work experience in restoration and trail maintenance practices for the Pacific Northwest ecology.
Youth Year-Round Program
The Goodwill Youth Year-Round Program provides guidance to in-school youth ages 15-17. This program provides youth in the Seattle School District, who have multiple barriers to high school completion, with the tools and support to not only graduate but to successfully choose a path to higher education or middle-skill/middle-wage careers. The focus of the program is high school completion, college and career planning, environmental education and stewardship, and development of social skills. Students attend classes and workshops on weekdays during the summer and during school weekends and break times throughout the year.
Youth Aerospace Program
The Goodwill Youth Aerospace Program is a two-year program that partners with Everett Community College and local aerospace companies to provide high school students with a smooth transition through their senior year toward a career in aerospace. The program helps build strong soft skills and connects students with future career opportunities in the aerospace/advanced manufacturing industry. 

For more information and details on Youth Programs, please contact:

For Youth Green Corps Program or Youth Year-Round Program
Alison Gerttula, Youth Program Specialist
(206) 726-5848

For Youth Aerospace Program
Tania Siler, Center Manager
(360) 657-4058


Informing Future Strategies through Research

Seattle Goodwill’s Community Needs Assessment (CNA), published in mid-2014, helps provide us with a greater understanding of current education and job training needs in the five most populous counties we serve: King, Snohomish, Whatcom, Skagit, and Kitsap. 

The report is organized into three main sections: Demographics, County Narratives and Labor Market Analysis. From time to time, Job Notes will spotlight our findings from that report, and any updates to our research. 

Today’s CNA spotlight is on Demographics. We found four main demographics trends across the counties we serve: 

  • Increasingly diverse communities. Persons of color now comprise about a quarter of the region’s total population, compared to just 15 percent in 1990. 
  • Unbalanced employment gains. The African American and African, Native American and Latino populations have significantly higher unemployment rates than whites and Asians. 
  • Education attainment gaps. Most of the counties have a Latino population with at least 30 percent possessing education levels of less than a high school diploma. 
  • Rise in poverty. Within these five counties, 10 to 16 percent of the population now lives before the federal poverty line. 

The CNA serves as a valuable tool to inform our short and long-term strategic planning as we continue to fine-tune our outreach and grow our program offerings. Page seven of the CNA highlights our strategies around target population findings: 

  1. Even as the economy improves, there are still populations that are experiencing high unemployment, including: Whatcom, Skagit, and Kitsap county residents; persons of color; young adults; and non-citizen immigrants. SGI should continue to focus on these populations for training and employment services
  2. Given that the Latino population across the service area had the lowest levels of education, SGI should also continue outreach efforts to that population for Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes
  3. Information in the county narratives suggests that SGI review current services to ex-offenders, youth, and single mothers to see if there are opportunities for expanded services.

Read the full report.


The Informational Interview

When you’re exploring new career fields, it can be hard to see the road ahead. An informational interview can light the way and increase your chances of being seen by employers while growing your own knowledge base. 

An informational interview is a targeted conversation with someone knowledgeable about a field or company where you would like to work; it is not a job interview. You can use this approach to learn whether a certain job, career, or company is a good match for your skills and interests. It also gives you the opportunity to learn about workplace needs from an insider.

Each interview builds your network and puts you in a better position to spot unadvertised job opportunities.

Before the Interview:

  • Find your contact: someone who knows the industry and knows what entry-level work is like within the field. If someone you already know can refer you, great. Otherwise, try the “Contact” page on the company website or call their Human Resources department and ask for a referral.
  • Via phone or email, request a 20-minute informational interview.
  • Use the Internet and/or ask a librarian to help you research the industry/company.
  • Decide on eight to ten great questions to ask. Some possibilities:
    - What is your job like?
    ​- How did you get started?
    ​- What skills and qualities are most needed?
    ​- Do you know of similar jobs in other companies or industries?
    ​- How do people advance here?
    ​- Which entry-level jobs would offer the most room for growth?

During the Interview:

  • Arrive several minutes early.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Bring your resume, but keep it tucked away.
  • Use your 30-second commercial to introduce yourself, but tone down the sales-pitch aspect.
  • Ask questions—then listen. Take mental notes.
  • Ask for clarification when needed.
  • Keep track of time. When your time’s up, thank your contact and close with a “networking” question—is there anyone else you could refer me to? At this time, it’s okay to share your resume and request a business card.

After the Interview: 

  • Send a thank-you note.
  • Review your mental notes and jot down key lessons. What should you change for next time?

Well done. Now, take a deep breath, find another contact, and repeat!

Read more about Goodwill’s programs and classes, and how we can assist you with your job search and education needs. 


Team Approach Pays Off for Goodwill Students

Seattle Goodwill knows that in addition to job training and education, other support services are often needed to sustain long-term success. That’s why we partner with other community based organizations and nonprofits to provide a wrap-around, holistic approach to serving our students. 

This team approach is important to strengthening our community and ensuring that people in need have the tools to succeed in work and life. Goodwill’s employment specialists provide a wide range of services for students looking for work -- from workshops and lab classes, to helping students with job searches, interviews, and securing work. As part of our team approach, students also have the option to work with a case manager to address barriers standing in the way of success. Case managers work directly with students and employment specialists to understand needs and create goals.

How Teamwork Helped Cherise Achieve Her Goal

After Cherise was divorced, she lived off her small retirement savings while looking for work. With her savings depleted and experiencing physical issues that made staying motivated challenging, she looked to Seattle Goodwill for help. Cherise’s goal was to get back to work as a part-time Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).

Cherise participated in several Goodwill computer and cashiering classes to update her skills. She worked with a case manager to address some needs, including transportation, rent and renewing her CNA license. Her case manager checked in weekly with Cherise to provide this assistance and to cheer her on and support her.

Cherise also worked with an employment specialist to get ready to look for work. She worked diligently, attended Goodwill’s employment workshops, came to open labs, and received one-on-one help preparing a resume and practicing for interviews. She also received some assistance to buy clothing for interviews and work. 

With Goodwill’s help and her hard work, Cherise achieved her goal. She was hired by Home Instead Senior Care as a CNA. 

Read more success stories from our students. 

Program and Class Offerings

At Seattle Goodwill, we offer a large selection of programs and classes free to the community. Specific classes and schedules vary by location, so be sure to contact one of our Job Training & Education centers for more information.

Class registration must be done in person at the Center. We are unable to accept online registrations at this time. 


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