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Press Release

JFF Launches JFFLabs to Accelerate and Scale Economic Advancement Opportunities

February 26, 2018

At a Glance

National nonprofit expands work to transform and realign the U.S. workforce and education systems

Practices & Centers

San Francisco, CA—February 26, 2018—JFF, a leading national workforce and education nonprofit driving America’s economic innovation movement, announced today the launch of JFFLabs at NewCo Shift Forum in San Francisco. JFFLabs provides strategy and acceleration services to scale workforce and education solutions. Working closely with some of the nation’s foremost corporations, entrepreneurs, and institutions, JFF’s new strategy and innovation arm spurs rapid transformation of workforce and education systems to create economic advancement opportunities.

JFFLabs debuts as companies face increasing competition for skilled workers. At the same time, companies recognize that their labor needs will change dramatically by 2030 when as many as 800 million jobs could be automated, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.

“As the future of work becomes a reality, the next wave of innovation in the U.S. will be in the workforce and education arenas and JFFLabs builds on our position to accelerate and shape that,” said Maria Flynn, president and CEO of JFF. “In fact, we have always designed and scaled strategies that align workers to systems, companies, and our economy so this is further evolution of that work.”

JFFLabs launches with an impressive initial set of Entrepreneurs in Residence including Sonali Kothari, COO of Kiva, and Katrina Stevens, CZI Founding Director of Learning Science and former Deputy Director of the Office of EdTech at the U.S. Department of Education.

An initial focus of JFFLabs will be on work-based learning innovators and disruptors in conjunction with JFF’s Center for Apprenticeship & Work-based Learning. The initial $3 million investment in the Center came from Walmart as part of the Retail Opportunity Initiative, a five-year, $100 million sector-wide effort launched by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation in 2015 aimed at making it easier for frontline workers to advance more quickly. “As the need for solutions at scale increases, we are excited by the potential of the Center and JFFLabs to serve as an essential bridge between traditional education and workforce system players and the entrepreneurs who share a desire to help workers advance in their careers,” said Danielle Goonan, Senior Manager, Walmart.

Josh Copus, who most recently was VP & COO of the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB), joins JFFLabs to lead a joint initiative between JFF, NAWB, and Innovate+Educate. This initiative intends to study the existing workforce system, develop a benchmarking framework to better understand its capabilities, and identify opportunities for advancement through improved technology and networked knowledge. Early acceleration partners of JFFLabs include venture-backed startups SVAcademy and Forge, with more to be announced in June at Horizons, JFF’s national summit.

To learn more about JFFLabs, visit