Closing the Skills Gap

Only 40 percent of high school graduates go on to get the advanced degree, certificate, or training needed to fill 70 percent of the available jobs.

Industry’s Essential Role

Hiring and retaining qualified employees has become more and more difficult. Employers need a well-prepared workforce. Students need paths to meaningful, family-wage jobs.

Educators alone can’t meet this need. They are eager to integrate career-connected learning into the classroom and beyond, but it takes industry—employers and labor—to create work-based experiences. These experiences can be as simple as participating in career days or as structured as apprenticeships. Here’s how one business partnered with schools and a local organization to create a pipeline of skilled, eager employee candidates.


With the Washington Alliance for Better Schools (WABS) as the intermediary, T-Mobile created a Career Launch program to help high school seniors work toward careers as full stack software developers. This job at T-Mobile has an average starting salary of about $58,000 and usually requires a four-year degree. T-Mobile worked with the Edmonds School District and Edmonds College to create a two-year program. Students participate in two paid summer
internships and earn a 59-credit full stack developer certificate. T-Mobile’s managers and employees mentor the students. The first group or cohort of 10 students started the summer of 2020. A second cohort will begin in 2021 and the program has expanded to include Seattle Public Schools and Seattle Colleges.


Employers do not have to develop career-connected programs on their own. The Healthcare Industry Leadership Table is an early example of a self-convened network of healthcare organizations in the Seattle-King County area who came together to share and take action on improving access to a skilled healthcare workforce. Similar efforts are underway in Pierce County. Other industries also are looking at this as a model for pooling their talent and efforts.

Connect with regional opportunities!

We connect industry with schools and intermediary organizations to participate in creating career-connected learning programs in King and Pierce counties.