about career Launchpad

Get help working toward the career of your dreams! Empowering young adults to find and keep meaningful employment through guided job preparation and career navigation.

Empowering young adults to find and keep meaningful employment through guided job preparation and career navigation.

Career LaunchPad serves 16 to 24-year-olds who are interested in jump-starting their careers. We want to support young adults not only in obtaining jobs, but also building skills that will help them keep employment, gain advancement, and explore long term career goals. To that effect, our Career Navigators create individualized employment plans that cater to participant’s specific interests and strengths. This program might be a good fit for you if you are:

  • Between 16 and 24 years old
  • Interested in working at least 20 hours per week, right away
  • Committed to meeting regularly with a Career Navigator
  • Willing to continue receiving support services beyond initial hiring

Meet the Career Launchpad Team

The Career LaunchPad team works throughout King County and are willing to meet with students at re-engagement centers or in the community:


Jessica VelasquezCareer Navigator (New Start and Rapid Rehousing)

Jessica is a first-generation college student from Sunnyside, WA. Jessica earned her BA from the University of Washington Bothell where she double majored in Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior and American and Ethnic Studies with a double minor in Education and Society and Diversity Studies. After graduating, Jessica continued her education by receiving her Master’s Degree from the Student Development Administration program at Seattle University. Jessica’s passion for college and career readiness lead her to work with young people in King County. On her free time, Jessica enjoys hanging out with family, traveling, and watching YouTube videos!


Ashley AldayCareer Navigator (Shoreline)

Ashley is originally from the small island of Guam and moved to Everett, WA at the age of 7. As a low-income, first-generation college student, Ashley received support from various mentors to attain her goals and breakdown personal barriers. Ashley believes in the power of relationship building, self-reflection, and storytelling as forms for personal growth and transformation and brings this in the work she does. She got her BA in Social Welfare with a minor in Education and Diversity and a Master’s degree in Social Work – Policy and Administration both at the University of Washington. Outside of work, Ashley enjoys traveling, being with her loved ones, singing karaoke, Netflix, and eating!


Isamar ValdezCareer Navigator (iGrad)

Isamar is originally from Dinuba, CA, a small agricultural town in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Starting at a young age, she started working with her family in the grape, peach, and orange fields. This is where her passion for helping families and her local community sparked! Isamar was the first in her family to graduate from college, earning her B.A in Psychology from Humboldt State University. After a few years of serving children, low-income families, and college students, she moved to Washington, where she strives to help youth take the right steps towards their career goals!


Andrea LopezCareer Navigator (Federal Way Open Doors)

Andrea has worked in youth employment and education programs with King County since 2001. She was born and raised in the Seattle area and loves to explore the ever changing community. She is a graduate of the University of Washington Seattle and holds Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She found her passion for helping others at a young age as a middle child and mediator. She is a wife, mother of two teenagers and dog lover. In her free time she loves to travel and be outside. She is happiest when she is spending time with her family and supporting young people as they pursue their goals!


Mirela PenchevaCareer Navigator (YouthSource)

Mirela was born and raised in a small town in Bulgaria, Dryanovo. She immigrated to Seattle when she was 12 and learned English in just 3 months. Mirela graduated from Foster High School and went onto attend Seattle Pacific University. She was actually the first person in her family to earn a college degree! Mirela’s first job was with Tukwila Schools, where she tutored 5th graders in math. That first experience inspired her to help youth reach their full potential.

Ready to get started?

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