Deborah Kobes

Deborah Kobes is the interim vice president of Jobs for the Future’s Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning.

With the goals of expanding access to and success in high-demand careers, she focuses on managing projects to develop innovative new educational and training models and build capacity for program delivery among a range of organizations, from local training providers to state agencies. She seeks to create career pathways for women, people of color, and other populations that are underrepresented in technology, manufacturing, construction and other sectors of the economy that offer well-paid jobs and opportunities for career and economic advancement.

Her skills and areas of expertise include:

  • Work-based learning, including pre-apprenticeships and Registered Apprenticeships
  • Program design and development
  • Strategies for inclusion and equity within job training programs and career pathways
  • Sector-based analysis and workforce development strategies

Before joining JFF, Deborah was the projects director and first employee of the Emerald Cities Collaborative, a diverse partnership of 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.

Reflecting on her decision to work at JFF, Deborah says, “Racial equity is not possible without economic equity. JFF’s focus on economic mobility contributes to overcoming this persistent challenge in American society. JFF brings a unique vantage of looking for practical solutions for economic advancement while also contributing to the national dialogue about needed structural reforms.”

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

Deborah enjoys exploring new cities and their idiosyncrasies, and she spends too much time trying to figure out how to measure local democracy.