A dynamic local economy and culture where communities, Education, businesses and policy-makers operate with a common goal and commitment to support our youth with academic and career pathways, workplace experiences, and opportunities for livable wage jobs in Whatcom County.


The Youth Engagement Initiative works in partnership with students, parents, employers, policy-makers, educators and like-minded organizations to create synergies that encourage youth engagement and business success for community prosperity.

Our Story

The Whatcom Business Alliance and its members saw that the key to a robust economy is the availability of a skilled workforce.  The WBA launched the Youth Engagement Committee in 2018 in order to set forth a Strategic plan to better prepare future employees and connect them with local employers through building a bridge between Education and Industry.

Read more from our 2018 STRATEGIC PLAN 

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Opportunities to Engage

Paramount for the success of the Youth Engagement Initiative will be:

Partnerships with local education and support organizations, teachers, career counselors and non-profits including but not limited to Junior Achievement of Washington, STEM Washington, NW Youth Services, Worksource Whatcom and our colleges to deliver career guidance, educational experiences, financial aid, and 21 century skills.

Business and Industry involvement including:

  • Company staff time for classroom instruction.
  • Company staff time for participating in industry roadshows in middle and high schools.
  • Company expertise & leadership in offering youth apprenticeships, internships and mentorships to local students.
  • Company led tour to expose students to the WA State Career Bridge Career Clusters and the types of jobs, workplace environments, and employer expectations in each of the career clusters.

Provide a streamlined, dynamic "Communication Hub" for students, parents, businesses, non-profits, school staff and teachers in order to network all parties, inventory resources, and promote current career development programs and events.

Funding from grants, foundations, businesses, and individuals.


Our youth engagement initiative...

  • ...Establishes better business ties with young people in Whatcom County
  • ...Creates a hub to offer job information and employment opportunities
  • ...Unifies efforts with employers, like-minded groups and educators
  • ...Identifies pathways for students and young adults to transition to careers and family wage jobs
  • ...Develops synergistic relationships between educators and employers
  • ...Enhances student, parent, community awareness of pathways to local employment opportunities
  • ...Provides youth with real-time, hands-on workplace experiences, opportunities, and internships
  • ...Assists in workforce development for Whatcom County business and industry
  • ...Collaborates with existing organizations and stakeholders to avoid redundancy