About the Market Research Project

Seattle Jobs Initiative is seeking a qualified contractor to complete a market research study to help us determine the direction we should take our Student-Centered Design consulting program. Launched in early 2019, SJI’s Student-Centered Design initiative is a consulting program in which SJI partners with community colleges to find and implement solutions to make their systems and programs more responsive to the needs of low-income adult students.

We wish to ensure that the program has an impact and that it is sustainable beyond its initial funding period. While Student-Centered Design is based on some core tenets, we can be flexible when it comes to content and approach to meet our goals. To help us plan our strategy moving forward, SJI is interested in gaining a better understanding of the following external market factors:

  • Relevant needs, priorities, and funding sources of prospective community college clients
  • Relevant priorities of government and philanthropic funders of community colleges and college-based initiatives
  • Marketing efforts by other organizations for similar work, and their effectiveness

The market research study should also make recommendations for adapting and marketing Student-Centered Design, such as:

  • Optimum niche market based on SJI’s expertise, capacity, and resources
  • Potential for other funding opportunities
  • Opportunities for scale

The contractor hired in this role should plan to complete the market research study, present the findings and recommendations of the study, and reserve a few hours to work with SJI on integrating these recommendations into a strategic plan for Student-Centered Design.

Available Funds

SJI has a budget of $5,000 – $7,500 (maximum) for the market study and any consulting related to integrating market study recommendations. This range includes any reimbursements and travel expenses.

Research Questions to be Answered

With the understanding that the contractor will work with SJI to refine the research questions, here are some examples of potential research questions to be explored:

  1. What is the “product-market fit” of Student-Centered Design?
  2. Should the Student-Centered Design model be adapted to improve product-market fit?
  3. Are there specific community colleges (or types of colleges, college consortia, college-based initiatives) that might be interested in supporting Student-Centered Design based on their current/past involvement or investment in similar innovative work?
  4. What organizations are providing similar services to Student-Centered Design, and how might this shape SJI’s model?
  5. Given the responses to the previous questions, what are the recommended strategies for:
    1. Scaling or otherwise maximizing the impact of Student-Centered Design
    2. Deploying staffing resources for the project
    3. Marketing Student-Centered Design to colleges and other funders and generating awareness and business

Qualifications Sought

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Similar experience completing a market research study or business development plan
  • Experience with/knowledge of community colleges, their current needs, priorities, initiatives, and funding sources

Additional requirements

  • Professional liability insurance required
  • Valid business license

SJI reserves the right to engage more than one contractor for this project if we determine that a combination will be needed to secure the requisite expertise in both market research and community colleges.

Application Process

Process and Timeline

SJI will employ the following process and timeline to identify and engage a contractor to complete the market study project:

Proposals Due to SJI Please submit completed proposals (details below)

by 5:00 PM PT via email to Natasha Bennett at nbennett@seattlejobsinit.com. You can expect an email confirming that we have received your application.

July 7, 2020
Review Period Proposal review may include follow up questions from SJI to collect more information and could include a request for references.


July 8-10, 2020
Notification of Status SJI will notify all applicants of their status, and the contracting process will begin.


July 15, 2020
Contract Finalization/Start Date Intended contract start date



Week of July 20, 2020
Project Kick-Off Meeting (no more than 2 hours) The contractor will meet with the SJI team this week (in person or video conference) to launch the project. Together, we will clarify the goals of the study, provide additional information and context, share available resources and materials, refine the research questions, approach, and process, establish milestones, etc.


Week of July 20, 2020
Expected Completion Timeline 1.     Near final draft

2.     Final draft

1.     Sept. 21, 2020

2.     Oct. 12, 2020

Application Submission Requirements


Please include the following application materials as one file:

  1. Resume, including your business name (if applicable) and contact information
  2. Narrative responses to the supplemental questions (below)
  3. Hourly rate
  4. (Optional) You may separately submit 1-3 samples of your previous work (or website that includes examples of your work) that demonstrates your ability to successfully execute the work described in this call for applications.

Supplemental Questions

Please provide your responses to questions (1) – (4) in no more than four (4) pages (12-point type, 1-inch margins).

  1. Provide a brief background of your organization/business
  2. Describe your qualifications and experience completing similar projects
  3. Describe any specialized knowledge you have of community colleges and/or funders and funding initiatives for colleges relevant to this project
  4. Describe the process/approach you would use to complete this project successfully

Submission Instructions

Please submit applications as one file to:

Natasha Bennett, nbennett@seattlejobsinit.com

with the subject line: SCD Market Study Application

Application deadline is: July 7, 2020 at 5:00 PM PT