Building dreams, finding
jobs, launching careers
On the outskirts of downtown Spokane lies
an educational and training facility that
serves more students than the region's
largest high school.
High school counselors know it well. Almost
every public high school in Spokane County
refers students for services. So do a few
private schools. For young people between
the ages of 16-21, this is THE place in
Spokane for anything and everything related
to jobs – training for them, finding them,
applying for them. Ari Rios and Wayne Potter landed summer
jobs through the NGZ working at the
The services offered are so customized that Jackson Sports Academy at Centennial
Middle School. Alyjouah Rollins was among
some student needs can be met in an hour,
their young basketball protoges.
while others may take a year.
This one-stop-shop for jobs is the Next Generation Zone, a cooperative venture of
NEWESD 101, Career Path Services and Goodwill Industries.
With Workforce Investment Act funding received from the Spokane Area Workforce
Development Council, the partners serve as a clearinghouse for not just finding jobs,
but launching meaningful careers.
Services are offered on three levels. The first is essentially a drop-in level in which
students can conduct a job search, research careers or find assistance in writing a
resume. In the last year, more 1,500 local students took advantage of these services.
At the second level, eligible students may enroll in more formal and comprehensive
services in a year-round program that includes free GED classes, high school re-entry,
paid work experience, tuition assistance and other support services including bus
passes, interview clothes and food vouchers.
Student lives are often complicated, with many requiring assistance with basic needs –
such as housing and transportation – before education needs can be addressed. By
removing these obstacles, the NGZ year-round program creates opportunity that would
be otherwise impossible.
In the last year, more than 500 students received these services.
Finally, at the third level is a summer youth employment program that placed 450
students at 118 job sites in 2009.
Whether student needs are short-term or long, the Next Generation Zone is about
building capacity, productivity and careers, says Heidi Peterson, who manages the
program for NEWESD 101. “The program provides benefit on many levels, offering
valuable work experience and career planning in the short term, while also bringing
long-term benefit to the local workforce.”
Orientation programs are offered each Monday at 1:30 p.m. in the NGZ offices at First
and Arthur, about a half-mile east of Division.
For more information, visit http://www.nextgenzone.org/ or call (509) 532-3113.
Story posted: January 7, 2010
For more information: