Recent News

Opening Doors: Day of Caring

Opening Doors: Day of Caring

September 24, 2015

This past Friday was United Way of King County?s Day of Caring, the largest volunteer event in Washington State, and we were so grateful for the service of the volunteers on our project, Computers2Careers!

With the help of thirteen Microsoft volunteers, SJI hosted a computer give-away and skills training for our Career Pathway program participants. Career Pathways provides short-term and long-term training in growing industry sectors and wrap-around support services to low-income individuals, creating opportunities for participants to ...

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Opening Doors: Falling Off the Cliff

Opening Doors: Falling Off the Cliff

September 22, 2015

In our previous blog post, we discussed realities of benefits programs in the U.S. and the common gaps that cause those who are not meeting their basic needs to be ineligible to receive benefits. Benefits are lower than many realize, and funding shortages severely limit how many qualifying families receive aid. However, if one is able to secure multiple forms of benefits, increase their income and begin to raise their family out of poverty, they now must worry ...

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Beyond the Headlines — Aid Like a Paycheck

 

Aid Like a Paycheck: New Concept in Financial Aid May Help Students with Money Management & Mental Bandwidth

What do low-income college students in the U.S. and Indian sugar cane farmers have in common? On the surface, not much. However, both get large cash infusions once or twice a year ? in the form of financial aid refunds or harvest payments ? making them flush with cash at those times, but stretched thin most of the time.

Being short on financial resources ...

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Opening Doors: Safety Nets, or Lack Thereof

Opening Doors: Safety Nets, or Lack Thereof

September 15, 2015

SNAP, Medicaid, Section 8. Many of us recognize the names of the various public benefits available in the United States whether or not we have used them. However, if we haven?t had to access them, we may not have a clear picture of their function and scope ? or the challenges that come with trying to navigate through them. The collection of programs is designed to help not only those living in poverty, but also those living near ...

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Opening Doors: Behavioral Economics

Opening Doors: Behavioral Economics

September 3, 2015

Why would someone, already in debt, take out a payday loan, knowing they will not be able to pay off the exorbitant interest?

Why would a minimum wage worker, counting on every penny of their paycheck, neglect to show up to work?

Here at SJI, we?ve spent the last few months learning about behavioral economics in an effort to understand these and related scenarios. In addition to releasing a policy report about behavioral economics and workforce development, we?ve ...

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Opening Doors: Creating a Conference That Matters

Opening Doors: Creating a Conference That Matters

August 27, 2015

What does it take to create a conference that matters? As we sat down to begin planning our 2015 Annual Conference, we focused on this question.

The most memorable conferences that we?ve attended have inspired us and challenged our thinking. They?ve encouraged us to view our work and the world from different perspectives. They?ve refueled our passion to do the work that we do?to keep on keeping on, sometimes in the face of frustrating odds.

This is the ...

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Beyond the Headlines — Mindset Interventions

Mindset Interventions: Less Than One Hour Online May Change a Community College Student’s Trajectory

Across the country, there is considerable room for improvement in community college graduation rates ? only 20 percent of full-time students receive a degree within 3 years.(1) Washington students fare somewhat better; nearly 29 percent receive a credential within 3 years (An additional 19% of students transfer.).(2)

The good news is that brief, low-cost interventions show promise for improving student outcomes. Behavioral research has shown that influencing students? ...

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Opening Doors: Technology for Those in Need

Opening Doors: Technology for Those in Need

August 25, 2015

Think back to your college days: how often did you use an online database to find sources for a term paper? Google a quick fact? Type up a term paper? Especially if you?re a millennial, you probably used a laptop from the comfort of your apartment far more often than you took a trip to the campus library. Flash forward to today: how often do you ask Siri a question or use your iPad to pull up an ...

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Opening Doors: Enforcing the New Minimum Wage

Opening Doors: Enforcing the New Minimum Wage

August 11, 2015

For low-wage workers, the passage of Seattle?s $15 per hour minimum wage in 2014 was an enormous victory. Nationally, it kicked off a discussion of living wages that led to similar increases in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and sparked congressional debate of the federal minimum wage.(1) In Seattle, many employers who voiced cost concerns or anticipated closing restaurants have, in fact, expanded their business.(2) The wage increase, which is being implemented in stages and is ...

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Opening Doors: Soft Skills

Opening Doors: Soft Skills

July 28, 2015

Have you ever heard this term before? Or have you just nodded along without understanding what it meant? You?re not alone! But really, you probably use soft skills every day; we just don?t always refer to them so formally. Did you chat with a colleague today, appear neat and professional in the office, or show up on time to work? Then you utilized your strong soft skills! ?Soft skills? is the umbrella term for your interpersonal skills, communication ...

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