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.


SNAP E&T – Opportunities for Alignment with WIOASeptember 2016

SJI’s latest brief builds on our long-standing efforts to facilitate the growth of robust, job-driven SNAP E&T programs throughout the U.S., and particularly programs that utilize a third-party partnership model supported by SNAP E&T 50 percent reimbursement (50-50) funds.

The brief presents an examination of the initial impact, if any, on States’ SNAP E&T programs of the passage of WIOA and the opportunity it afforded States to develop new plans for their public workforce systems that align programs such as SNAP E&T with WIOA-supported core programs. It reviews State workforce plans that include SNAP E&T as a partner program. It also presents as a case study the approach of Tennessee, a State that has taken important steps to better align its growing SNAP E&T program with WIOA, both at a strategic and an operational level. Finally, the brief discusses the policies relevant to the alignment of WIOA and SNAP E&T as well as suggestions for integrating these programs in a way that is beneficial to the expansion of job-driven SNAP E&T programs.

Washington State’s Basic Food Employment & Training Program, June 2014

This research provides an in-depth insider’s account of Washington State’s unique third-party match SNAP E&T program, Basic Food Employment & Training (BFET). BFET is viewed as a model for the nation in creatively and significantly expanding skills training for the state’s low-income Basic Food (SNAP) population by building on the service delivery capacity of community colleges and community-based workforce training providers. Launched as a small, Seattle-based pilot in October 2005, BFET has grown in a short time period to a $30 million statewide program involving all 34 of the state’s community colleges and more than 30 community-based organizations serving nearly 30,000 participants. This research explains in detail how BFET was developed and brought rapidly to scale, how it is administered, how it is being utilized by community colleges and community agencies to expand skills training, its challenges and best practices. The over-arching objective of this report is to provide information to help spur well-considered expansion of SNAP E&T programs by other states and localities, supporting employment and training services that lead many more low-income/low-skill residents to advance out of poverty.

Benefits Cliffs

Understanding “Benefits Cliffs”: Implications For Helping Washingtonians Advance To Self-Sufficiency Through Workforce Strategies, March 2015

This latest research by SJI examines the impact of benefits cliffs — rapid phase outs of public benefits such as housing, child care and health care — on low-income Washington families. Our goal is to support workforce and social service providers in their efforts to better help these families to navigate the potential loss of benefits as they assist them to make earnings gains. The research:

  • Presents a general overview of the public benefits system in the U.S.
  • Details the specific benefits programs available to low-income individuals and families in Washington State.
  • Provides a close examination of how benefits cliffs impact the net income of a variety of family types in Washington as their annual earnings increase.
  • Presents a set of policy and practical recommendations for workforce development stakeholders to mitigate the impact of benefits cliffs.

Understanding “Benefits Cliffs”: Implications for Helping Washingtonians Advance to Self-Sufficiency Through Workforce Strategies, March 2015

Career Navigation

Improving Career Navigation Services: Considerations for the Workforce Development Community in Seattle, February 2015

In this research report, Seattle Jobs Initiative explores the key foundations of successful career navigation, examines different navigation services and approaches from around the country, and looks at the role of front-line workers charged with delivering navigation. The report also looks at the challenges of implementing career navigation approaches and offers fresh ideas about the workforce development community in Seattle can improves it career navigation systems and services.