Employment Training: Get Paid While Preparing for Work

In YouthCare's employment training programs, you'll gain practical, real-world skills —and get help and support when it comes time to find a job. Programs run from 8 weeks to 6 months. All participants are paid Washington State minimum wage during training and working hours.

Please note: There are always more applicants for these programs than there are places. If you don't make it in the first time around, we encourage you to reapply: new cohorts of trainees start throughout the year, with schedules depending on the program. Before you do, talk to us about how to improve your application and interview. Applying again shows interest and commitment — so don't give up!

Barista Training and Education Program (BTEP)

It's Seattle: there are a lot of coffee shops out there. When BTEP (“Barista”) graduates go for their first job in the industry, they do it with solid training under their belts —more, in fact, than most of their competition for entry positions. This program includes a five-week internship at the FareStart Café: a chance to build confidence, get professional references, and add to your resume. 

The Barista program is about much more than selling coffee, though. Participants learn to work as part of a team. They gain customer service and other skills that are valuable to companies in many other fields. They receive job readiness training, practice for interviews, and learn how to search for jobs and approach employers. 

Benefits of the Barista program include: 

Advanced skills development

  • Food service training & barista skills
  • Customer service training
  • Resume & cover letter writing
  • Job search and interviewing skills
  • GED/High School Diploma attainment
  • College, University or Trade School enrollment & support

Life skills training

  • Time management and professional communication skills
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Professional dress and etiquette
  • Public speaking coaching

Personal life support

  • Support with legal issues
  • Financial literacy lessons
  • Career exploration
  • Housing support
  • Mental health counseling
  • Case management

To be eligible, you need to be:

  • Age 16–24 
  • Homeless, “street-involved,” or in unstable housing
  • Able to commit to an 8-week paid training program and willing to develop employment and educational goals
  • Available at a minimum Monday-Thursday 1pm–6pm and Friday 8:30am–5pm 
  • Legal to work in the United States, with a valid photo ID and a Birth Certificate or Social Security Card (if you don't have them, we can help you get them)

To learn more about the program and to complete an application, please attend a Barista Open House. They are held every Tuesday at 3pm at YouthCare's James W. Ray Orion Center.

For additional information:

Call the Orion Center at (206) 622-5555 and ask for a Barista Career Coordinator.

The Tile Project

Tile Project interns use their creative talents to get ready for employment. Pursuing their own projects, learning together, they gain valuable skills and experience. They learn art techniques, including hand-building and glazing clay tiles, basic photography, and photo manipulation. They explore workplaces outside the studio by “job shadowing”: following someone around as they go about their work. By the end of the program, they'll have written a resume and cover letter, improved their interview skills, and learned how to search and apply for jobs. 

To be eligible, you need to be:

  • Age 15–22
  • Homeless (including sleeping on the street, in shelter, squatting, or couch surfing) or at risk of losing housing within one week
  • Not currently in foster care
  • Able to commit to a 10-week program, Tuesdays through Fridays, 1pm–5pm

To apply:

Complete an application form and submit it to the Orion Center, either in person, by email to leslie.horton@youthcare.org, or by fax to (206) 628-3227. Selected applicants will be contacted.


James W. Ray Orion Center

For additional information:

Contact the Tile Project Employment Case Manager at (206) 622-5555 ext. 204.


Twice a year, a family that never thought it could afford one gets a home of its own. YouthBuilders help make that happen.

Along the way, they get a thorough introduction to the building trades, including Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) that readies them for entry jobs in construction and related industries. They acquire teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving skills. By finishing high school or getting a GED certificate, they further prepare to join the workforce —or pave the way to college. Whichever way they choose to go, they'll do it with the help and support of YouthBuild and YouthCare staff. 

To be eligible, you need to be:

  • Age 18–24
  • “Low income”
  • A school dropout (haven’t yet received GED or high school diploma)
  • Able to commit to a 6-month, full-time program and willing to develop employment and educational goals
  • Committed to remaining drug-free during the training period
  • Ready to work hard on your own and as part of a team

To apply:

  • Complete an application.
  • Attend a YouthBuild Open House.
  • Complete the YouthBuild application, including a letter describing why you would make a great YouthBuilder.
  • Submit copies of state ID and your Social Security Number with the application (if you don’t have ID, we can help you get it).
  • Successfully complete the 2-week challenge period held at the beginning of each new cohort.

YouthBuild Schedule:

Please contact us to learn when the next program will begin.


South Seattle Community College and Habitat for Humanity construction site

For additional information:

Contact the YouthBuild Program Coordinator at youthbuild@youthcare.org or (206) 276-2140.

The Zine Project

The Zine Project is an eight week prevocational creative writing program serving homeless youth ages 15-22. Ziners (Zine interns) get paid to make zines (pronounced "zeen," short for magazine). Zines are personal publications consisting of original writing and artwork.

To be eligible, you need to be:

  • Age 15–22
  • Homeless (including sleeping on the street, in shelter, squatting, or couch surfing) or at risk of losing housing within one week
  • Not currently in foster care
  • Able to commit to an 8-week program, Monday-Wednesday 10:30AM-2:30PM and Thursdays 12-4pm.

To apply:

Complete the Zine Project Application and submit it to the Zine Instructor by email (finn.cottom@youthcare.org) or drop off at UDYC (4516 15th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105)


University District Youth Center

For additional information:

Contact Finn Cottom at finn.cottom@youthcare.org or (206) 639-4303.