Priority Hire


Several public agencies have adopted programs that create meaningful and successful access to construction careers for people of color and others with social and economic disadvantages. Working with the Construction and Building Trades, these public agencies have provided priority to increase the number of African-American, women and people of color employed in the construction trades.

The Seattle Metropolitan Urban League, Seattle Vocational Institute, Casa Latina and other community agencies have helped support these programs by referring those in the community to the workforce development, training and employment opportunities.  For information about training, you may contact the City of Seattle, King County, the Seattle Urban League, Seattle Vocational Institute, the Regional Pre-Apprentice Collaborative, Construction Industry Training Council, or the Washington Building Trades.


In 2015, the City created Priority Hire for City public works construction projects of $5 million or more. Priority Hire Program requires prime contractors to prioritize:

•Hiring residents that live in economically distressed areas, particularly in Seattle and King County;
•Hiring women and people of color to achieve aspirational goals for the construction workforce;
•Hiring apprentices which ensures that women and people of color gain seniority for future work; and

•Meeting requirements or goals for utilization of WMBE (women and minority business) for the project.

Click here for information and training or employment pathway advice from the City of Seattle.


King County’s Priority Hire Program is a workforce and economic development strategy that provides training and family wage employment opportunities in the construction industry on King County public works construction projects of $15 million or more. The Priority Hire Program provides access for persons interested in pursuing career opportunities in the construction industry who reside in economically distressed areas of King County, and in areas of Pierce and Snohomish counties where the county has rate payers.

In May 2016, King County Executive, Dow Constantine, issues a directive to department directors to implement a pilot Priority Hire program for large capital construction projects, consistent with a 2013 Executive Order for Project Labor Agreements.

The Priority Hire Program is an important component of King County’s Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan and supports a more diverse and trained workforce that is necessary for our region to continue to prosper

Click here for information about the King County program.

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