Sobering Hope For Father’s Day

It’s hard to calculate the enormous personal or social value of a decent job with growth prospects – especially if that kind of job might seem out-of-reach.

If you agree, join us June 27, at 11 AM to Noon, for a guided tour of the Georgetown Campus of South Seattle College. The tour will include a brainstorming session about how this amazing facility could support a training program that leads to good jobs for those who are homeless, but able to achieve and sustain sobriety.

If you are interested, call the Manufacturing Industrial Council for more details at 206-762-2470, or email Dave Gering at

To clarify from the get-go, the Georgetown campus is not a charity ward or a “safe space.”

The campus is set up instead to provide professional-grade, rigorous instruction to apprentices, mostly in construction trades. Apprentices hold highly demanding jobs while they pursue training in their “off” hours. These jobs and training programs require top-notch safety, mechanical and other physical skills, extensive “book” learning, and, in every case we know of, drug testing.

Drug testing is not required as some sort of social judgement. It is required to help assure the apprentices do not hurt and/or kill themselves or those around them while working with equipment that is highly capable of injuring human bodies if they are not put to good use wisely.

Let’s be honest. For now, for the vast majority of homeless people, these sorts of training and career opportunities are not in the cards.

And yet, nearly every homeless person has it within himself or herself to change the cards life has dealt them.

Through the years, the community college staff that manages the Georgetown campus has developed a very good track record of using the instructional capacity of the campus to create successful, short-term training programs that can help people with “life challenges” get their foot in the door of the industrial economy. These entry-level jobs are within the reach of just about anyone who can pass a drug test and they provide the types of work and life experiences that enable people to work their way into the type of opportunities available through apprenticeships and other advanced training programs.

A good example is a program called “SODO Inc.” It was a partnership between the college and the Manufacturing Industrial Council that helped more than 150 troubled young adults (ages 18-24) acquire the safety, shop, and professional behavior skills required to get an entry-level industrial job. You can see the success of that program in this video:

Why not a SODO Inc. program for those among the homeless? And what better time than now to explore this possibility? For one thing, our civic culture sorely needs to heal following the unfortunate circumstances brought about by the Head Tax.

For another, it’s almost Father’s Day.

And, if our Dads (or Moms) were still around, they’d tell us gainful employment is essential to life success. They’d also tell us that, for many of us, drug addiction and a job are not a good mix.

Or, listen to Sabrina Tate, a 27-year-old woman from Spokane who died this winter inside her RV in the heart of SODO. Her story was chronicled by the Seattle Times in a story you can find here.

In a video interview a few years ago, Sabrina said the cure for her homeless situation was three-fold: she needed to reconcile with her family, she had to get clean, and she needed to get a job.

Nowhere in the video does she mention rising rents, income inequality or the personal wealth of Jeff Bezos.

If you want to explore this topic further, get in touch with the MIC or simply RSVP for the June 27 tour by emailing