College Attainment

College Attainment & Career Pathways

Seattle Jobs Initiative conducts research to provide a better understanding of the challenges of community college attainment among low-income and low-skill individuals, as well as highlight promising practices that are meeting these challenges and improving outcomes. SJI looks at the issue of college attainment from the perspective of workforce providers seeking to help their participants be successful in college in order to secure better-paying jobs.

  • Certificate Programs and Their Economic Value: A Look at King County Postsecondary Institutions, September 2013 (PDF, 2.3MB)

    Seattle Jobs Initiative is pleased to present our latest labor market research, Certificate Programs and Their Economic Value: A Look at King County Postsecondary Institutions. SJI works with local community colleges to creatively align our education and training programs with viable career opportunities. Many sub-baccalaureate certificates, of varying lengths and fields of study, have been awarded through these programs to better assist participants on their journey to living-wage careers.

    Through this research, SJI seeks to inform workforce development providers about the varying characteristics of certificates in King County. Namely, we discuss the number of certificates awarded and how that has changed in the last twenty years as well as the demographic makeup of certificate holders. Additionally, we look at the characteristics of short- and long-term certificates and the outcomes they produce. And lastly, we identify education and training programs in King County which provide students with opportunities to attain certificates leading to a viable career.

  • Supporting Developmental Education Reform: Washington Works to Increase Student Success, March 2011 (PDF, 4MB)
    In this policy brief released by SJI in Spring 2011, highlights the challenges that community colleges face to help under-prepared students gain the fundamental academic skills they need to succeed in college. As workforce agencies throughout the country implement programs to help individuals earn long-term certificates and degrees, it is vitally important that the agencies, and their students, understand the developmental education system that the students will enter. This brief looks at the structure of current developmental education programs in Washington State, and at the potential impact of those programs on students seeking professional/technical credentials. It outlines efforts that Washington’s community colleges are making to improve developmental education and ties these efforts to national policy recommendations and research on innovations to increase student success — and emphasizes the critical importance that implementation of national policy recommendations for sharing data on developmental practices and outcomes will have to the success of workforce college attainment programs.
  • A Survey of U.S. and Washington State Postsecondary Attainment Data, August 2009 (PDF, 570KB)
    SJI completed a survey on the rates of postsecondary attainment in the United States and in Washington State among different demographic groups, with a focus on community college attainment. The survey provides some additional data on the association between wages and attainment level in Washington State.