Mary V.L. Wright is JFF’s director of employer alliances. Her role is to help JFF better link employer demands to the outcomes of training initiatives by creating partnerships with employers who recognize the value of contributing to workforce development. Ms. Wright gears her work toward increasing the prominence of employability skills; she helps provide education and training that foster the skills preferred by employers, ultimately contributing to the learner’s long-term success. Keeping the future of work in her line of vision, she uses labor market data to better identify job market demand and focuses on the key role work-based learning plays in engaging all learners. Ms. Wright leads several JFF projects—one involving the Job-Driven Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center, which helps VR agencies become increasingly job driven. In another project with Walmart Foundation, she helps to determine how work-based learning strategies can be implemented in a retail setting. While at JFF, she has managed several projects and publications around workforce development including: NatureWORKS - Exploring the Green Infrastructure Workforce, Florida Jobs 2030, and SAWDC – Today’s Realities; Tomorrow’s Workforce.
Ms. Wright has many years of experience connecting the public and private sectors in municipal finance, government affairs, and workforce development. Prior to joining JFF, she served as director at The Conference Board in New York City, driving its work in workforce readiness, business, and education partnerships. She also focused on improving the employment outcomes for people with disabilities through research and convenings. Ms. Wright co-authored or acted as project director on several key reports regarding workforce readiness skills, including Are They Really Read to Work? and The Ill-Prepared Workforce. Her nonprofit board experience includes work with organizations that support educational opportunities for underrepresented youth, housing options for low-income families, and the arts. She was recently elected to the board of the Institute for Work & the Economy.
Ms. Wright received a master's degree in public/nonprofit management from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in urban affairs from Connecticut College.