YouthCare’s Board has unanimously voted to endorse the Seattle Families, Education, Preschool and Promise (FEPP) Levy.

We know that young people with less than a high school diploma or GED have a 346% higher risk of experiencing homelessness and that young people of color are at disproportionately higher risk of dropping out or being pushed out of high school. That’s why programs dedicated to closing the opportunity gap are so important—they stop the risk of homelessness and counter systemic educational inequities. This includes programs across the education continuum, starting in preschool and persisting all the way through college.

YouthCare’s YouthBuild is one example of the type of program Seattle FEPP Levy funding could stabilize and bring to scale. YouthBuild is a construction-based pre-apprenticeship program tailored to young people who have dropped out of high school and are experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Over 80% of the participants are youth of color and many have had some type of involvement with the juvenile justice system. Over six months, participants earn their GED and graduate with six industry certifications, thirty-eight college credits, and a clear pathway to gainful employment. As D, one of YouthBuild’s graduates shared:

“Education and employment training programs are so important because they give young men of color like me a fair second chance to rebuild our way into society and be successful. The staff give us individual, one-on-one care. They teach us leadership and how to change our lives.”

Unfortunately, dedicated funding streams for education and employment training programs like YouthBuild are few and far between. By supporting the Seattle FEPP Levy you invest in opportunity, equity, and long-term transformation. We urge you to vote yes.