Here at SJI, our work is deeply committed to empowering people to build careers by forming equitable partnerships that address structural racism and create a more impactful workforce system.
As federal policy in the 1990’s reduced opportunities for job training for low-income individuals, Mayor Norm Rice was looking for ways to do things differently. He created a partnership with Annie E. Casey Foundation and Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED) to create Seattle Jobs Initiative (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, SJI was officially launched.
In January 2003, SJI spun off from OED and established itself as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Today, SJI continues to function as a workforce development intermediary creating equitable workforce systems and developing impactful partnerships to address structural racism.
SJI supports people from under-invested communities to build careers. By creating equitable workforce systems and developing impactful partnerships, we address structural racism.
Every worker has a career that allows them, their family, and community to thrive.
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What We Do
Partnerships and Career Pathways
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.
Policy Research, and Evaluation
Our policy research team’s work complements the partnerships and community pathways efforts and allows us to achieve a far greater impact than we would be able to through programmatic services alone. They perform community-based quantitative and qualitative research focused on making data and analysis accessible and useful to community members and the organizations that serve them.
Consulting and Technical Assistance
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 in 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).