Joel Vargas is a vice president at JFF. He and two other vice presidents oversee all of JFF’s program areas.
Joel has advanced state policies and local practices designed to improve high school and postsecondary outcomes for underserved students. He has also helped policymakers and intermediary organizations develop state and federal policies that incorporate college and career experiences into high schools.
Since joining JFF in 2002, Joel has designed and implemented a research and state policy agenda for implementing early college designs; created policy frameworks, tools, and model legislation; written and edited white papers, books, research reports, and national publications; provided technical assistance to state task forces and policy working groups; served on national advisory groups; and organized national policy conferences.
In 2015, he launched JFF’s West Coast office, which supports the efforts of leaders of regional networks to advance cross-sector strategies for improving the economic mobility of low-income youth and adults.
Before joining JFF, Joel directed, initiated, and studied a variety of middle school and high school programs designed to help students from underrepresented populations succeed in postsecondary education. He also has been a teacher, an editor, and a research assistant for the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University.
Joel serves on the board of EdSource, a multimedia provider of news for education in California.
Joel says he likes working at JFF because “I get to work with people who share a passion for designing solutions that matter for people who must be better served by our education and workforce development systems, and I get to focus on ways to bring those to scale.
Offering a glimpse of his life outside of work, he says, “I like running and biking in the beautiful Bay Area, where I grew up. I also enjoy playing guitar.”