Who We Are

SkillUp Washington is a workforce funders collaborative which supports employers and working families in the Seattle-King County area by: 1) working with employers to align workforce training with industry needs; 2) investing in targeted and innovative programs that help low-income adults receive postsecondary credentials; and 3) supporting programs that help workers get trained and advance in their fields.

SkillUp is about building hope, innovation, and leadership: Hope for thousands of people trapped in poverty because they lack the skills and access to an education that could provide them with the tools to change their lives for the better; innovation for employers who are in need of a skilled pool of workers ready to take on high demand jobs; and leadership through collaboration and new ways of thinking that create a positive economic impact within our communities.

Who We Serve
Our primary target is low-income working adults  with no postsecondary education credential and who have household incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Our goal is to increase the amount of students, in King County, who graduate from postsecondary education programs. Our accomplishments include:

  • Successful engagement of local employers through Northwest Energy Efficiency Workforce Opportunity Project (NEW OP) to coordinate unified training and hiring standards for job seekers in the residential weatherization field;
  • Successful completion of the first College for Working Adults cohort serving over 200 job seekers and incumbent workers in health care, business services, manufacturing, early childhood education, and human services;
  • Partnered with the Seattle-King Co. Workforce Development Council, Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council and other partners to successfully apply for a $2.2 million (first year) Health Profession Opportunity grant for health care workers. If successful, the grant could be extended another four years bringing the total to $11 million over five years. 
  • Helping to launch the Opportunity Center at North Seattle Community College – an innovative new services center which integrates job search and job training, higher education, access to benefits, asset-building and personal coaching, and other services under one roof.

Key Organizational Partners

Seattle Foundation
seattle_foundation_logo_off_facebookSkillUp is a program of The Seattle Foundation. The Foundation provides SkillUp with financial and program support to address complex issues facing our region.

As one of the nation's largest community foundations with total assets of nearly $600 million, The Seattle Foundation is governed by a board of respected community leaders and has an unwavering reputation among donors and the community at large. The Seattle Foundation's  work is informed by more than 60 years advising our area’s most respected philanthropists. It maintains an unparalleled understanding of local needs and issues through regular dialogue with hundreds of King County nonprofit organizations to gain a first-hand understanding of the most effective programs and strategies. Today, it is leading a countywide philanthropic agenda—A Healthy Community—which supports a complex fabric of issues including arts and culture, basic needs, economy, education, environment, health and wellness, and neighborhoods and communities.

National Fund for Workforce Solutions
NFWS_logo_badSkillUp Washington is honored to be a  National Fund for Workforce Solutions regional collaborative. Supported by nearly 300 funders, the National Fund is working to bring to national scale, and evaluate, new ways to prepare workers - who don't have the needed skills - for careers that can support them and their families.

The National Fund is dedicated to preparing jobseekers and employees for a career, not just a job. The National Fund brings together local and regional leaders from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to spark and drive innovation. They work hand-in-hand to create practices and systems that can help employers and employees succeed in a post-recession economy. Click here to learn more about one of SkillUp's most important partners.


Latest Research

  • Economic Opportunity Center Feasibility Study

    The City of Seattle in cooperation with SkillUp Washington, Impact Capital and SouthEast Effective Development (SEED) examined the feasibility of integrating multicultural service delivery at a single location accessible along the light rail line. This project stemmed from the legislature’s interest in replicating the Opportunity Center for Employment and Education model located on the campus of North Seattle Community College. Examined here is the possibility of creating a similar Center in Southeast Seattle that could help people get an education, get a job, or grow a business, and the findings suggest that such an Economic Opportunity Center is needed in and desired by the community.

    Download the Executive Summary: EOC: Executive Summary

    Download the Full Report:EOC: Final Report


    To request a hardcopy of the Executive Summary or the full report, please email Ashley Plaga at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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