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SkillUp Washington Receives Seattle Colleges “Partner of the Year” Award

Award honors contributions made to elevate Seattle Colleges and its students, and those who inspire others by working in partnership to achieve mutual success.


September 23, 2016

Recognized for its ongoing commitment, advocacy and dedication to increasing resources and supports to students, SkillUp Washington has been selected to receive the 2016 Constance W. Rice Partner of the Year Award by Seattle Colleges. 

SkillUp Washington, a workforce intermediary incubated and launched by Seattle Foundation, has been a partner and advocate for the Seattle College District for the better part of a decade. Under the leadership of Executive Director Susan Crane, the team at SkillUp Washington has strengthened career training programs for low-income adults at the Seattle Colleges by funding and scaling pilot programs in manufacturing, transportation, construction, business, healthcare, and technology.  

SkillUp Washington’s serves as a connector between businesses, community organizations and colleges – establishing learning communities and unique partnerships that foster innovative approaches to teaching and learning by sharing research and best practices. Most recent collaborative partnerships with Seattle Colleges include: 

— Launching the Greater Seattle Sector Skills Academy (GSSSA), whose primary goal is to train and mentor workforce professionals from across the region to look at system-wide approaches to solving workforce issues and improving outcomes for low-income workers. Each GSSSA includes emerging leaders from all of the Seattle Colleges. The GSSSA has helped college leaders to develop new collaborations with outside agencies as well as strengthening existing relationships with Seattle College’s partners.

— Launching the Manufacturing Advancement Pathways Project (MAPP), a three-year pilot project to provide college navigator services and employer engagement at four Puget Sound community colleges, including South Seattle College Georgetown campus.

Partnering with Seattle College District to build capacity for the expansion of the medical and dental programs at Pacific Medical Center.

— Forming the Youth Industry Partnership Initiative (YIPI), a manufacturing training program for 18-24 year old at risk young adults. The training included paid internships and navigation support to students enrolled in the program. This program served as a model for current Bridge to Prosperity (B2P) project between South and King County Employment and Education Resources (KCEER). B2P currently leverages youth friendly employer relationships that were developed under YIPI.

“We are honored to be selected to receive this award,” said Susan Crane, Executive Director at SkillUp Washington. “The opportunity to serve as a catalytic partner with Seattle Colleges to help scale programs and create opportunities for youth and working adults to receive the training necessary to earn a living-wage job is an award in itself.” 

The annual Constance W. Rice Partner of the Year Award honors business or community leaders whose contributions elevate Seattle Colleges and its students, and who inspire others by working in partnership to achieve mutual success. It is named for Constance W. Rice, who served as vice chancellor for institutional advancement, interim president, senior vice chancellor and trustee for the district. The many partnerships Dr. Rice forged over more than 20 years continue to positively impact students and the colleges, and benefit education, equity, and the health and welfare of under-represented youth. 

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