Rachel Pleasants McDonnell

As associate director at JFF, Rachel Pleasants McDonnell is engaged in research, documentation, and technical assistance across JFF’s community college redesign efforts. She also develops and coordinates in-person and virtual technical assistance opportunities including webinars, tools, and online resources. She co-manages Accelerating Opportunity, a national initiative to redesign Adult Basic Education programs and policies at state and institutional levels to substantially increase the number of adults who can earn a GED and a credential and enter the workplace with competitive skills. She is also part of the Workforce Innovation Fund Technical Assistance team. 

Rachel previously worked on the development of skills gap reports for New Skills at Work, a JPMorgan Chase workforce readiness initiative aimed at closing the skills gap, and provided research support for Breaking Through, JFF’s collaboration with the National Council for Workforce Education to create opportunities for adults with little education to prepare for and succeed in college technical programs.

Rachel has a master's degree in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She also holds bachelor's degrees in painting and Spanish from the University of Iowa.