Here at SJI, we are deeply committed to empowering people to build careers by forming equitable partnerships that address structural racism to create a more impactful workforce system.

Our Founding

As federal policy 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 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.

Our Values


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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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!

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 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 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 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).

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