Alaska Airlines Pledges $1.5 Million for Job Training at the Port of Seattle

May 7, 2014, Wall Street Journal

Alaska Airlines is pledging a $1.5 million grant to support job training at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. This local investment will be made over the next four years in collaboration with the Port of Seattle with an initial contribution to Port Jobs, a nonprofit committed to preparing workers for the Port of Seattle economy.


In the first year, Alaska’s grant will help Port Jobs expand access to college courses through Airport University, effectively doubling the number of courses, college credits and students. The grant will also enable Port Jobs to add more advanced courses than currently offered.


Alaska Airlines has been involved with Port Jobs since its inception in 1993, with several key executives serving on its board of directors.


“As one of the largest employers at Sea-Tac Airport, we believe it’s important to invest in a strong local work force for the future of our business, our regional economy and the many families who rely on jobs at the port,” said Toby Skey, managing director of human resources and four-year board member with Port Jobs.


The Port of Seattle supports more than 200,000 jobs and generates $6.8 billion in payroll. Alaska Airlines employs more than 7,000 workers at the company and partner vendors in the Seattle area–more than any other air carrier. Over the duration of the jobs training grant, Alaska expects to fill 2,000 family-wage jobs in the Seattle market, and will work closely with the Port of Seattle and Port Jobs to prioritize hiring graduates of the program.


“This grant marks an unprecedented corporate contribution to Port Jobs and job training at the Port of Seattle,” Port Jobs Executive Director Heather Worthley said. “We’re encouraged to see this kind of investment in the many families who rely on airport-related jobs and we look forward to providing even more opportunities for the communities we serve.”


Port Jobs has served more than 78,400 community residents and helped more than 12,300 people find jobs since its creation in 1993. It is funded by the Port of Seattle, city of Seattle, King County, the state of Washington, United Ways of King and Snohomish counties, and many local and national foundations.


“The Port of Seattle welcomes Alaska Airlines’ landmark investment in the workers of Sea-Tac Airport. The Port looks forward to collaborating with Alaska, and other businesses and organizations, to create a model training and education program that enables a brighter future for airport workers and their families,” Port Commission Co-President Courtney Gregoire said. “The Port of Seattle is in the process of creating a comprehensive workforce development plan that will also benefit from Alaska’s investment. The plan is intended to increase on-site training, professional career counseling and navigation in addition to providing additional scholarship grants.”

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