SJI supports people from under-invested communities to build careers. By creating equitable workforce systems and developing impactful partnerships, we address structural racism.
Where We Come From
We began in 1995 when Seattle, along with five other cities, was chosen by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) as a part of its Jobs Initiative program to link low-income/low-skilled adults to businesses with good-paying jobs. AECF had many goals including improved job training programs and workforce development system reform, and an overarching interest in improving outcomes for children and families by improving access and opportunities that would lead to economic self-sufficiency. At the time, Seattle, under then-Mayor Norm Rice, had already been making specific efforts to link economic development and workforce development to benefit low-income communities and communities of color. Mayor Rice realized that working in conjunction with AECF objectives was the answer to the 1996 Welfare Reform Act cutbacks. As federal policy reduced opportunities for job training for low-income individuals, Mayor Rice was looking for ways to do things differently. He created a partnership with AECF and Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED) to create SJI, which would combine job-skills training, wraparound services and business involvement to connect low-income individuals with living-wage jobs. A year-long planning effort by OED in conjunction with low-income residents, businesses, foundations, community colleges, and community-based organizations produced the blueprint for SJI’s approach. In 1997, after another year of capacity building and pilot programs, SJI was officially launched as a program of OED.
In January 2003, SJI spun off from the city and established itself as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Today, SJI continues to function as a workforce development intermediary, committed to improving the local workforce development system to benefit low-income job seekers.
To view our annual financials, click here.
What We Do
Get the latest news about SJI’s regional services programs, policy and research, as well as our national consulting and technical assistance work. Read our blog here!
Regional Service Programs
SJI offers individuals from under-invested communities career-start technical and performance skills training that leads to a career pathway in growing local industry sectors. We creatively align support services – such as career navigation, housing, childcare and transportation – to provide participants the best opportunity to complete their career journey and to secure and retain well-paying jobs. Individuals acquire the skills they need to advance out of poverty, while simultaneously meeting the needs of local businesses for a skilled workforce.
Research & Policy
Our Research & Policy team’s work complements our program efforts and allows us to achieve a far greater impact on low-income communities than we would be able to through program services alone. The overall objective of this work is to uncover and provide solutions to address the barriers that low-income individuals face in obtaining the education and jobs they need to advance out of poverty.
Consulting Professional Services
The Consulting Team helps government, educational institutions, funders, workforce systems and providers to design, implement and fund more effective programs and services aimed at helping people access training, support and living-wage careers.
SJI is the nation’s leading expert helping State and local governments and their provider partners operationalize and grow their SNAP E&T programs. SNAP E&T is a federal program supporting a flexible array of employment and training services and supports for individuals on SNAP (food assistance).