Firefighter. Mail carrier. Doctor. Nurse. Lifeguard.

Firefighter. Mail carrier. Doctor. Nurse. Lifeguard. These are the people in your neighborhood, the careers you know about from an early age, so when someone asks a kid “what do you want to be when you grow up?” it’s likely those careers will come up.


In King County, however, the visible careers aren’t always the most available or sustainable pathways. In fact, only one of the careers above makes the top five list for number of total jobs added this year – registered nurse. The rest of the jobs are focused solidly in the tech industry – from app developer to computer programmer.



So, how can our educational system engage students in learning the full range of career pathway possibilities so they can prepare themselves for the great jobs that are available? This Valentine’s Day, Washington STEM, Seattle Region Partnership, and King County, with support from JPMorgan Chase, brought over 90 educators end employers together to learn about how to use labor market data to allow students to discover, explore, and engage with the great career pathways in King County.


The day had a particular focus on engaging employers and educators to talk about challenges and opportunities in three of the top industries in King County: healthcare; manufacturing and construction; and information technology, financial, and business Services. Some of King County’s biggest employers, from Boeing to Kaiser Permanente, gave concrete tips to educators about how to prepare students for employment, giving insight into their recruitment process as well as some of the basic skills needed for employment. PRO TIP: skills like showing up to work on time, focusing on clients first, and working well in teams are just as important as technical skills.


The day closed with an examination into equity and barriers to STEM career pathways. Educators and employers alike voiced a commitment to ensuring students that grow up in the shadows of the tech boom in Seattle have access to the great jobs becoming available in our community.


Are you interested in exploring how labor market data can inform students you work with on how to prepare themselves for an awesome and engaging career? Contact Gilda Wheeler at or check out the resources from the day: