Seattle Jobs Initiative believes that driving systems change that results in more low-income and low-skill individuals obtaining the skills and education they need to advance to living-wage careers can only be accomplished if multiple stakeholders, community-based agencies, community colleges, policymakers and communities work in concert. To this end, SJI seeks to create a space for stakeholders to meet, share knowledge and best practices, and form the networks and partnerships that underpin collective action toward common objectives like providing skilled training and creating new college pathways.

Training & Technical Assistance
Training & Technical Assistance

Seattle Jobs Initiative provides job training and technical assistance to a variety of workforce stakeholders within our areas of expertise. Our current efforts are described here.  Workforce training and technical assistance can also be customized to meet the specific need of organizations.

For more information, please contact our office at (206) 628-6975.

The ABC’s of College Navigation Training

Based on The ABC’s of College Navigation Guide, this workshop series can help your organization’s staff to increase their practical knowledge around best practices and available resources for helping low-income and low-skill individuals prepare for, access, and persist in college — and connect to living-wage jobs.

SNAP E&T/BF E&T Program

Seattle Jobs Initiative has been a key driver of Washington’s innovative SNAP Employment & Training program — known here as Basic Food Employment & Training (BF E&T). BF E&T is unique in allowing community colleges and community-based employment and training providers to use their own qualified expenditures on services to individuals on SNAP (food stamps) directly as match to secure 50 cents of federal SNAP E&T dollars for each dollar spent.

Creating College Connections

For community-based organizations wanting to learn how to better connect their clients to community colleges, Seattle Jobs Initiative can help. SJI has advised multiple agencies on everything from understanding how the colleges function and helping clients navigate the colleges, to creating formal partnerships either directly with the colleges or with other community-based agencies that have established programs at the colleges.


In addition to our program partners, Seattle Jobs Initiative seeks both formal and informal partnerships with other organizations that can advance a collective agenda to improve the workforce system’s ability to serve low-income and low-skill individuals. We are particularly focused on opportunities to work with community-based agencies, community colleges, public agencies and funders to increase the number of low-income individuals who successfully access and complete college programs that lead to living-wage careers.

SJI is proud to have partnered recently with organizations such as:


Seattle Jobs Initiative provides multiple ongoing opportunities for community-based organizations, community colleges, policymakers, funders, researchers, community groups and others to:

  • share the latest knowledge, research, resources and best practices
  • develop networks and partnerships
  • pursue ideas for collective action

Community College + CBO Conference

During recent years, SJI has coordinated a Community College & Community-Based Organization Conference, attended by 100 – 125 local community college and CBO staff. These events have focused on creating career pathways for low-income and low-skill residents that lead to college credentials and living-wage jobs. Our conferences accomplish this through sharing of local and national models and best practices, increasing awareness of local resources, building knowledge and skills, and facilitating the creation of networks and partnerships. All events have been well-received and participants have consistently requested that these opportunities continue.

Past Events

  • 2014: Innovations in Adult Training and Education
    Thursday, January 30, 2014
    This conference convened community college staff and faculty, community-based organization staff, policymakers, and local government representatives to learn about promising new methods for increasing the success of our adult students and program participants. Attendees discovered and discussed local and national innovations in this area, with a specific focus on research being done by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching on the use of psychological strategies to help community college students succeed in developmental math classes.
  • 2010: Making the Case for College: Messaging Strategies for Multiple Audiences
    The 2010 Conference focused on messaging?effective strategies to message on the importance of skilled training and postsecondary attainment to policymakers, low-income students/communities, and organizations? internal staff/board. SJI worked with Douglas Gould & Associates (NYC-based social issue PR firm) to help run the day. Speakers included Tony Carnevale of Georgetown University, Rich Doherty of Manpower International, and Eleni Papadakis of the State Workforce Board, as well as Reverend Leslie Braxton. The day included a panel presentation on the need for greater skills for competitiveness in the job market, as well as in-depth workshops on messaging and communications.
  • 2009: Navigating a Pathway to Success
    The 2009 Conference focused on college navigation. CBO and college staff led panels and workshops on the nuts and bolts of attending community college. Topics included: CBO-college partnerships (innovative service delivery), contextualizing learning, using labor market data, preparing people for college, college navigation tools, understanding financial aid, and understanding pre-college. Capital IDEA and Austin Community College kicked off the day; other presenters included: Seattle Goodwill, Shoreline Community College, YouthCare, Bellevue College, Hopelink, YWCA, Highline Community College, PortJobs, Pacific Associates, Seattle-King County WDC, the State Board for Community & Technical Colleges, South Seattle Community College, and Seattle Central Community College.
  • 2008: Career Pathways Institute
    The 2008 Conference focused on CBO-community college collaboration in creating career pathways. Panels and workshops were focused on sharing promising models at the local and national levels for collaboration, as well as the challenges and opportunities of working together to serve low-income and low-skill clients/students. Presenters included: Mike Leach (Southern Good Faith Fund), Diane Factor (Los Angeles Healthcare Workforce Development Program), Amber Whitfield (Healthcare Alliance of Greater Cincinnati), Marianne Krismer (Cincinnati Community Colleges), the State Board for Community & Technical Colleges, Highline Community College, South Seattle Community College, PortJobs, YouthCare, Neighborhood House, BuRSST for Prosperity, Seattle Goodwill, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the King County Funders Collaborative (now SkillUp Washington).
  • 2006 (December): Ensuring Washington?s Community Colleges Work for the Working Poor
    The fall 2006 Conference offered an in-depth look at what our state can do from a policy perspective to ensure that Washington?s community colleges are accessible to and effective in providing skills to the working poor. The event included presentations on national best practices in creating career pathways training programs for low-income people, and on what needs to be done to implement a comprehensive and accessible set of such programs throughout Washington. Presenters included Jan Yoshiwara and Charlie Earl (State Board for Community & Technical Colleges), David Harrison (State Workforce Board), Brandon Roberts (Working Poor Families Project), Judy Taylor (Jobs for the Future), Andrew Roessler (Portland Community College), State Representative Phyllis Kenney, Mike Hudson (Association of Washington Businesses), and State Representative Fred Jarrett.


In a typical year, Seattle Jobs Initiative hosts one or more major forums for community-based organizations (CBOs), community colleges, policymakers, funders and other workforce development stakeholders to learn from local and national experts in the field, share what they are working on, and spend time developing their networks.

Past Forums

  • Student Success Services (S^3) Collaboratory
    December 4, 2014 – Report Out on Data Sharing
    The S^3 Collaboratory was established in 2012 by the Seattle Community College District and Seattle Jobs Initiative. The goal of the S^3 Collaboratory is to maximize the collective efforts of colleges and community-based organizations to efficiently and effectively provide wraparound supports to at-risk students.
  • Student Success Services (S^3) Collaboratory Progress Meeting
    May 2014
    At the S^3 Collaboratory meeting on May 29, colleges and CBOs reported out on the results of their efforts over the past five months to increase alignment between colleges and CBOs around student job placement and job readiness. Meeting attendees also broke into groups to discuss how to sustain previously implemented Collaboratory initiatives.
  • Student Success Services (S^3) Collaboratory Progress Meeting
    December 2013
    At the S^3 Collaboratory meeting on December 3, college student services staff, workforce staff, and CBOs met to discuss how they could better coordinate services around job readiness, job placement, and employer engagement. Prior to the meeting, each college and their partner CBOs created an inventory of currently available services. They shared these inventories at the Collaboratory meeting in order to promote district-wide awareness of each college?s services. Colleges and CBOs also broke out into groups to identify activities to work on for the year to improve collaboration and mitigate areas of misalignment. The groups also identified action items to implement over the subsequent months.
  • Student Success Services (S^3) Collaboratory Progress Meeting
    July 2013
    At the?S^3 Collaboratory meeting on July 1, members shared the results of surveys administered to colleges and CBOs in 2012 and 2013. These surveys asked college student services departments and CBO navigators to share their thoughts and perceptions on working together. We reviewed overall trends and key areas of alignment and misalignment between colleges and CBO navigators. This meeting featured presentations by Kristi Lagrutta of North Seattle Community College and Monica Cheng of Goodwill Industries, Andrea Samuels of Seattle Central Community College, and Kelly DeForrest and Greg Dempsey of South Seattle Community College. The presenters reported on the work that their respective colleges have done to increase collaboration and coordination with their navigator partners over the past year.
  • Building a Skilled Workforce in Difficult Times: Latest Developments in U.S. and Washington State Workforce Policy in the Context of Current Labor Market and Economic Realities
    October 2010
    Seattle Jobs Initiative, in partnership with Washington, D.C.-based national workforce advocacy organization National Skills Coalition (NSC), hosted a policy forum to discuss the latest federal and state policy developments affecting workforce development and postsecondary education, as well as opportunities and challenges of the current and future labor market. Featured were NSC’s Executive Director, Andy Van Kleunen, the head labor market economist for Washington’s Employment Security Department, Greg Weeks, and Madeleine Thompson, policy analyst/legislative liaison for Washington’s Workforce Board.

Career Navigation Learning Community

Building deeper partnerships with community-based organizations is an important aspect of SJI’s programs. SJI established the Career Navigation Learning Community to support its partners through sharing best practices and resources, accessing workforce and support services experts, and facilitating conversations about the student and program successes and challenges through career and college navigation.

The Learning Community meets on the third Thursday of each month, fueling open dialogue about systemic challenges and issues identified by the group. Regular meetings for SJI’s program partners include labor market updates, technical assistance, and processing issues.

In addition, Greater Learning Community events are open to the public and are in lieu of the regular meeting once a quarter.

To join the conversation, get on our mailing list, or present at an upcoming SJI Learning Community event, please contact Bri Nguyen, Planning and Strategic Advisor, at

Past Meetings

  • June 19, 2014: Quarterly Greater Learning Community Meeting, Presentations from Navos Mental Health Solutions and King County Crisis Clinic and 2-1-1
  • April 17, 2014: Participant Job Readiness and Interview Coaching
  • March 20, 2014: Quarterly Greater Learning Community, Presentations from Financial Empowerment Centers, Washington Access Fund, Cares of Washington, DSHS Division of Child Support, Neighborhood Legal Clinics, and Catholic Community Services
  • February 20, 2014: 2014 Planning Part II – Increasing Program Outcomes and 2014 Priorities and Goals
  • January 16, 2014: 2014 Planning Part I – Increasing Program Outcomes and 2014 Priorities and Goals
  • November 21, 2013: Quarterly Greater Learning Community, Focus on Strategies for Solving Real-Life Scenarios and Helping Participants Access Insurance Under the Affordable Care Act
  • October 17, 2013: Prioritization Strategies for Career Navigators
  • August 15, 2013: College Navigation for Career Navigators
  • July 18, 2013: Employer Engagement & Assessment and Planning Workshop
  • June 20, 2013: Career Pathways Recruitment and Ability to Benefit
  • May 16, 2013: Quarterly Greater Learning Community, Focus on Direct Client Services and Community Resources
  • April 18, 2013: Assessments and Planning Toolkit Rollout and Tuition Financing Alternatives in Tough Economic Times
  • March 21, 2013: Continuous Improvement Updates and Housing Program Changes Locally and Nationally
  • February 21, 2013: Quarterly Greater Learning Community, Focus on Legal Financial Obligations featuring Columbia Legal Services
  • January 17, 2013: 2013 Program Rollout and Education Planning Tool Needs Roundtable
  • October 18, 2012:
  • September 20, 2012:
  • August 16, 2012: First convening of the Pathways to Careers Student Success Services Collaboratory that brought together career navigators from community-based organizations and staff from the Workforce Education & Student Services Departments in the Seattle Community College District.
  • July 19, 2012: Time Management and Self-Care
  • June 21, 2012: Barriers to Student Success
  • April 19, 2012: Funding Strategies, Motivational Interviewing, and Barriers to Student Success