Nearing 40, JFF Is Growing and We’re Positioning Ourselves for the Future

Published oct. 24, 2022

As we plan to celebrate Jobs for the Future’s 40th anniversary in 2023, I’ve been reflecting on how far we’ve come as an organization. During my nearly six years as CEO, JFF has grown significantly—adding multiple new levers for driving equitable economic advancement for all, including our Corporate Action Platform, JFFLabs, and our impact investing arm, JFF Ventures, as well as Horizons, our annual summit and year-round content platform. But while we’re looking back to mark this milestone, we’re also forging ahead and planning for the impact JFF strives to make in the years ahead.

That’s why I’m so excited to share that JFF is organizing to enable us to scale our effort and our impact while bringing more clarity to our unique contributions as leaders in the field. In the coming months, we will strategically align JFF’s work around three topic-specific Practices and three cross-cutting Centers, each led by one of our vice presidents.

The Practices are:

  • Education, led by Vice President Joel Vargas
  • Employer Mobilization, led by Vice President Cat Ward
  • Workforce & Regional Economies, led by Vice President Tameshia Bridges Mansfield

The Centers are:

I’m so excited to share that JFF is organizing to enable us to scale our effort and our impact.

JFFLabs, led by Executive Director Kristina Francis, will continue to drive transformation of the workforce and education systems by delivering insights on emerging trends and innovations, incubating new ideas, and investing in promising entrepreneurs. Our new employer mobilization and racial economic equity bodies of work are both exciting examples of ideas that were incubated, tested, and refined within JFFLabs, then expanded and integrated into JFF.

Rounding out the leadership of our external-facing work are Chief Strategy & Growth Officer Rusty Greiff, Vice President for Strategy & Growth Steve Yadzinksi, and Vice President for Marketing & Communications Dan Obregon. Vice President for Strategic Engagements David Soo will oversee our Horizons summit as well as our policy and advocacy team. In addition, Vice President for Solutions Design & Delivery Nyema Mitchell will oversee the people, processes, and systems that align our talent to projects and enable high-level execution of all our work at scale.

While rooted in the core work and mission of the organization since its inception, we are adapting to keep pace with—and out ahead of—the field that we are striving to influence and transform.

This organizational refinement was developed over many months and was informed by our staff members, now numbering over 300. I’m inspired that more than 90% of our employees last spring completed internal surveys, leaving more than 1,700 comments and sharing their expertise on how best to carry out our mission.

Our employees are JFF’s most valuable assets, and I am thrilled that our organization will ensure that they can clearly see their career paths at JFF and understand their roles in developing innovative solutions for the field and for the learners and workers we ultimately serve. In recent years, we’ve demonstrated our commitment to employee well-being by taking steps such as providing flexible scheduling, closing our doors on August Fridays, and ensuring that all have the financial support they need if they must travel to access health care in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. For the coming year, we have committed additional financial support for professional development and remote work enhancements for every employee.

As we look to the future, we remain committed to being a high-performing, always-learning JFF.

Over nearly four decades, we have honed our work and increased our impact. But we know well that there’s more to do, particularly as the education and labor market disparities in our country continue to grow. These strategic alignments are just the first of our new efforts to become more collaborative, agile, and effective.

While we promote from within and open exciting new career pathways for our existing team members, JFF also is recruiting additional talent from the field, including two positions on our leadership team: Chief Solutions Officer and Chief Development Officer, both of whom will report directly to me. In the coming months, I invite you to explore our careers page and talk to us as we expand our team and further develop our work.

As we look to the future, we remain committed to being a high-performing, always-learning JFF, and increasing our impact to ensure that millions more learners and workers can achieve economic advancement, strengthening our workforce and our nation’s economy.

There is so much important work to be done. Join us!