Seattle Jobs Initiative’s Research & Policy team’s work complements our program efforts and allows us to achieve 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.
SJI accomplishes these bodies of work by conducting research, producing helpful tools and resources, providing multiple learning and collaborative opportunities, and offering consulting and technical assistance to those in the workforce development field.
To meet this objective, SJI works in five interrelated areas:
Labor Market Research
SJI conducts and broadly shares focused labor market research to help ensure that individual and organizational decisions on education, training and career pathways align with labor market realities. We are specifically interested in uncovering unmet demand in the local labor market for workers to fill jobs that pay a living wage but do not require a B.A. and are thus accessible to low-skill residents typically with some additional education.
College Attainment Research/Career Pathways
SJI works to identify and provide solutions to address barriers that low-income and low-skill individuals face in preparing for, accessing and completing community college programs. We provide the research, space and leadership needed for multiple stakeholders to come together to identify and pursue opportunities to collectively develop and share tools and best practices to help many more individuals successfully navigate through college and to a better career.
Individuals and Communities in Poverty
Critical to SJI’s work is gaining a better understanding of the low-income and low-skill individuals we are seeking to impact — who they are, their current levels of skills, education, employment and wages, and how they are being impacted by changes in the economy and labor market. We seek to describe and raise awareness of the critical need of these individuals for greater skills and education leading to better career opportunities.
SJI provides research, technical assistance and learning opportunities to advance the effectiveness of the workforce development system in Seattle/King County and beyond. We seek to facilitate the improvement and better coordination of systems (e.g. community-based supports, community colleges) and increase investment in skills training for low-income individuals.
Program Design & Evaluation
Continuous improvement based on thorough analyses has been a hallmark of SJI since our inception. We use quantitative analyses of SJI participant data with qualitative information to gain real-time knowledge of who our programs are serving and what outcomes we are getting. Other agencies request SJI to perform similar program analyses.