The Research and Policy Team at SJI conducts and publishes research in two major areas: Labor Market Opportunity and College Attainment & Career Pathways.
Our labor market research is primarily focused on identifying job opportunities that are accessible to individuals who have less than a college degree. This information is used to inform local colleges and training providers as well as SJI programs. A secondary focus of research in this area is to understand the change in living wage over time, skill requirements to remain competitive in the local labor market, and identifying the availability of training. We also provide knowledge to the community and community partners on specific sectors of the labor market. As a part of this work, SJI released a comprehensive report in January 2018, Big Picture: Changing Poverty and Employment Outcomes, which analyzed changes in poverty conditions and employment outcomes by zip code.
This research seeks to provide a better understanding of the challenges of college attainment and to identify and provide solutions to barriers that low-income and low-skill individuals face in preparing for, accessing, and completing community college programs. Additionally, it highlights promising practices that are focused on these issues and improving outcomes. SJI has recently been focused on understanding issues that focus on the whole person such as housing stabilization, transportation, childcare, mental health, and more.
General Policy Research
In addition to these major areas of focus, SJI also conducts a variety of general policy research related to our work, including workforce development best practices and systems-building, funding for employment and training, local demographics (relevant to employment and educational attainment of the local low-income population), and policy issues. This includes SJI’s extensive research on how to better understand benefits cliffs to help Washingtonians advance to self-sufficiency through workforce strategies.
SJI produces a quarterly publication called Beyond the Headlines which provides the community with an understanding of local issues and how they connect to the national conversation. Previous issues have included information on digital literacy, changes in the Seattle living wage, and a look at the demographics of opportunity youth in the Seattle area.