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Seattle Jobs Initiative

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Employment Preparation & Procurement, Job Training

Mission: Seattle jobs initiative (sji) creates opportunities for people to support themselves and their families through living-wage careers.

Programs: Employment through education and trainingseattle job initiative's (sji's) career pathways program helps low-income, low-skill individuals (200% federal poverty level or below) earn college credentials for employment in four in-demand sectors in king county. The key innovation of career pathways is the utilization of career navigators who provide one-on-one intensive coaching to participants for a period of up to three years. Education specialists, the navigators, help participants enter and persevere with their selected community college pathways to complete a certificate or degree. Sji partners with community-based agencies to provide comprehensive wrap around support services (housing, childcare, transportation, and counseling) to remove participants' barriers to success in the classroom and on the job. The long-term impact of sji's work for community members includes core outcomes such as living-wage jobs with benefits, acquisition of higher education credentials, quality internships, successful job search and placement, and high job retention rates. The career pathways program provides relevant evaluation results that attest to sji's expertise in workforce development. Data shows a significant jump in economic benefit for participants earning a one-year certificate or greater in a high demand field. Participants who completed a one-year certificate or higher earned, on average, $33,622 the year after completing the program. The year prior to participating in career pathways, employed participants earned $17,348, on average. Additionally, evaluation shows that more than 2/3 of clients entering sji's program stayed to earn a short or long-term credential and attained employment. This is notable because research indicates that on average in washington, for students attending community college for the first-time and taking a full course load, the completion rate for a certificate or degree within time and a half (150%) of the colleges' expectation is about 25%. The completion rate for sji participants using the same measures is 57%. Graduates of this program also have an average job retention rate of ninety percent, and those working in training-related jobs earn an average of $15. 20 per hour. Last year, that was almost $6. 00/hour more than washingtonians making minimum wage ($9. 32/hour). As career pathways evaluation results and lessons learned have been shared, sji is utilizing these to inform the planning process for the new test pilot program, careerconnect, which is aligned with the workforce development strategy of upskill/backfill. We are also engaging in the program design of systems-based workforce initiative in south king county (skc) focused on preparing low income residents for entry level jobs with advanced manufacturers and to support incumbent worker training to higher skill living wage positions, again aligned with the same strategy of upskill/backfill. In these new programs we will have a dual client focus connecting both participant and employer needs of employment and growth. We will also be incorporating an employer informed performance skills curriculum through all of our programs to ensure participants are providing training aligned for employment and career progression.

research, innovation, and policyin addition to our direct program services, sji places major emphasis on systems level work to improve the local workforce system serving low-income, low-skill adults. In 2016, this work focused on improving access to and persistence in community college programs that lead to living-wage careers. Through research, convening and facilitating better collaboration among systems stakeholders (community colleges, community-based agencies, funders and employers), sji led efforts to develop and share knowledge, tools and best practices on the labor market value of postsecondary education, college access/navigation, and meeting obstacles to college completion. 2016 highlights include:providing timely, accurate information to the city of seattle: sji's research informed the city on a range of topics, including: - compiling, analyzing and presenting labor market research on the city's economy, with a spotlight on the changing landscape of middle-wage jobs in seattle (release date early 2017) - providing demographic information on seattle's youth in support of the mayor's youth employment program. - compiling, analyzing and presenting labor market research on national and local "gig economies. "keeping the public informed about workforce issues: sji issued several beyond the headlines briefs to a distribution list of 600 people, providing easily accessible information on the economy, labor market, education and training - and their impact on low-income individuals. The 2016 briefs touched on a variety of locally important issues, including seattle's unemployed, the value of for-profit colleges, the value of different associate's degrees in the labor market, and the gender wage gap. Issuing unique report snap e&t and wioa: in partnership with the annie e. Casey foundation, sji completed new research on how and the extent to which states are integrating snap e&t into their state workforce plans pursuant to the workforce innovation opportunity act (wioa). The report issued recommendations for how this integration can be undertaken by states to create a more seamless workforce system for low-income jobseekers.

consulting professional servicesfor more than a decade now, sji has played an integral role helping to develop and expand washington state's successful supplemental nutrition assistance program (snap) employment & training (e&t) program, and bfet (basic food & employment training). In 2016, sji supported the united states department of agriculture's food & nutrition service (fns) through contracted work to create and manage the nation's first snap to skills project. The nearly $3. 6 million project supported multiple activities undertaken by sji and other associates during a two to three-year period to expand and improve snap e&t programs throughout the united states. Work included providing direct technical assistance to 10 states (arizona, arkansas, california, maryland, massachusetts, michigan, minnesota, missouri, north carolina, and tennessee), along with developing tools and resources supporting e&t program development, and creating a virtual hub facilitating the nationwide exchange of ideas relating to the program. In addition, sji worked on separate contracts with the states of kentucky, georgia and ohio, as well as the community foundation of washington, dc, to perform technical assistance work around snap e&t. Increasingly over the years, sji has been asked to share its expertise with other agencies working in the arena of workforce development. In 2015, sji leadership decided to formalize this work as part of the agency's official line of business. The consulting and professional services division emerged and was catapulted into being by the snap e&t work. Beyond this federal program, sji continues to utilize its experience to inform creative approaches, research, and systems change for an array of organizations in the state of washington and beyond. While helping our colleagues do what they do better, sji is diversifying its revenue sources and service bandwidth. Work in 2016 included research for seattle city light on defining and mapping out the energy efficiency workforce in king county, as well as support to seattle housing authority in research, planning and evaluation of its workforce opportunity system partnership project.

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