Deborah Kobes

Deborah Kobes, PhD, is a director with JFF's Building Economic Opportunity Group. Her work focuses on expanding access to and success in high-demand careers through apprenticeships and work-based learning. 

Deborah manages projects to develop innovative new educational models such as work-based courses and provide technical assistance and coaching to organizations ranging from local training providers to state agencies. She develops partnerships among a wide range of stakeholders—including employers, community colleges, unions, the public workforce system, and community-based organizations—to create career pathways for women, people of color, and other populations underrepresented in manufacturing, construction, transportation, and other sectors.

Before joining JFF, Deborah was the projects director and first employee of the Emerald Cities Collaborative, a partnership of diverse organizations united around the goal of greening cities in ways that further high-quality job creation, equity, and democracy. She has also held research positions or fellowships at MIT, the Brookings Institution, and the Urban Institute. 

Deborah has a doctorate in urban political economy and governance from MIT and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering with architecture from Princeton University.