At a Glance
JFF’s policy team offers fresh ideas on education, poverty alleviation, and workforce issues that prepare students and workers for the jobs of the future and boost our nation's economy.
Areas of Work
- Ensuring Equity in Advancement
- Meeting Employer Needs
- Preparing for the Future of Work
Our Voice On Policy
JFF's stance on the latest policy issues
The Big Blur: Recent State Legislative Priorities Embrace Cross-System Collaboration to Support Students
JFF spotlights a few of the most promising Big Blur-adjacent policies, as well as bills under consideration in the 2023 legislative sessions.
Adding a 13th Year to K-12 for College and Career Success
A fifth year of high school can enable students to earn an associate’s degree at no cost while beginning to blur the lines between high school, college, and career.
How Biden’s Student Loan Plan Compares to Australian and U.K. Programs
The administration would dramatically expand the generosity and income-contingency features of the income-driven repayment program.
We Must Act Now to Prevent the Next Student Debt Crisis
President Biden’s student debt relief plan will only temporarily reduce the country’s overall student debt burden. To avoid a return of the crisis, JFF urges policymakers to take bold steps to fix what’s broken in higher education and find new ways to pay for postsecondary education and training.
The JOBS Act Can Remove Barriers to Skills Development. Congress Must Pass It
Pell Grant expansion offers on-ramps to quality jobs for America’s learners and workers, and prepares us for the economy of the future.
Bipartisan Progress Is Possible: Advice for Congress in 2023
Current economic conditions underscore the need to invest in education and workforce training. As a new year begins, leaders in our nation’s capital must remember that the well-being of our people and the long-term economic competitiveness of our country depend on the strength of our education and workforce systems.
JFF Urges Passage of the FY23 Spending Bill
JFF urges members of the 118th Congress to build on the bipartisan progress made on the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill when they convene in January and to collaboratively develop solutions that enable our systems to complex and rapidly shifting needs of learners and workers.
Year in Review 2022: Policy and Advocacy at JFF
As 2022 comes to a close, JFF is celebrating our progress in shaping national policy that aims to transform education and workforce systems and build an economy that works for all. In this end-of-year Policy & Advocacy blog, we proudly share our efforts to advance nonpartisan, practice-informed policy solutions in five crucial ways.
What It Takes to Guide Students and Jobseekers to High-Value Careers
Community college and workforce development leaders share bold actions and policy recommendations in the latest episode of JFF’s policy podcast.
The Regulatory Treatment of ISAs Just Got a Lot Clearer
A federal agency established that income share agreements are a unique and valid form of education finance.
How to 'De-Risk' Postsecondary Education in a Recession
Impending COVID-19-induced recession has student loan debt holders worried. How can we lower the risk of pursuing education during a recession?
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022 Increases Resources, Advances Equity, and Modernizes Our Systems
Movement of this legislation would expand and improve services to America’s jobseekers, workers, and employers.
Five Actions That States Should Take to Help People Rebound, Spur Job Growth, and Transform Education and Workforce Development Systems
An equitable economic recovery requires bold policy change, and soon.
Student-Centered HEERF Is a Model for Education Policy
Policymakers must increase postsecondary funding and overhaul funding models. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund offers a model they should embrace.
The Build Back Better Act Is Critical to Workforce Development and College Success
The House Education and Labor Committee’s proposed bill recognizes the need for robust investment in our nation’s workforce system as well as significant resources for college access and success. JFF urges Congress to advance this legislation for a strong national recovery.
Biden Offers Landmark Plan for Free Community College, but Access Alone Is Not Enough
JFF applauds the Biden administration’s American Families Plan, which calls for two years of free college, yet urges policymakers to craft a program that enables learners of all ages and backgrounds to develop skills that lead to good jobs and economic advancement.
Three Ways Federal Policymakers Can Transform CTE to Benefit Learners, Workers, and Employers
Support for career and technical education is growing, and federal policymakers must maintain that momentum, because CTE can play a key role in efforts to build an equitable economic recovery.
Our Policy Work
JFF advances nonpartisan, practice-informed public policy focused on education, workforce development, poverty alleviation, and other issues that support economic advancement. JFF believes policy change is essential to create lasting, systemic shifts to ensure all people thrive in the economy and to scale change locally, regionally, and nationally. JFF’s policy experts synthesize research, evidence, and input from practitioners and policymakers at the local, regional, and state level to inform critical national policy debates.
Reports and Resources
JFF's in-depth Policy analysis and research
State Policy Framework for Building Equitable Pathways
This tool was co-created with input from Building Equitable Pathways Community of Practice members, to support their own and others’ policy work.
Modernizing Career Navigation in the United States
Policy redesign that puts people at the center and ensures informed choice-making.
America’s Opportunity Youth Deserve an Equitable Economic Recovery
Recommendations to the Biden Administration for Youth Employment Policy
American Rescue Plan Funds Can Transform Education for Young Adults
The recently passed American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides states with an unprecedented opportunity to use federal stimulus funds for innovative new educational programs supporting students who have fallen behind—including the millions of high school students who disappeared from schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic. States must strive to do more than use ARPA funds to return their educational systems to the pre-pandemic status quo. Equitably allocating and effectively spending ARPA funds for education is no small feat for states and localities. JFF and the National Governors Association have put together a list of funding strategies that states can adopt to effectively support the students who are most in need. The goal is to accelerate their learning and support their transitions between high school and college and careers.
Essential for a Post-COVID Economy: Recommendations for a Fully Funded and Transformed Workforce Development System
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, the United States was overdue for a transformation of its postsecondary education and workforce development systems to meet the vast skill and employment needs of today’s workers and employers. The pandemic has exponentially increased this need for change, with millions of Americans permanently out of work and in need of reskilling. We must learn from this crisis and use its momentum to make the kinds of changes that are necessary if our economy is to rebound, our employers are to remain competitive, and our workers are to survive.
State Policy Road Map for an Equitable Economic Recovery
In response to historic inequities that have only been exacerbated during times of crisis, JFF urges policymakers to think about COVID-19 recovery differently. This recovery must be equitable, with a vision that ensures systemic transformation, fosters community revitalization, and provides individuals from all backgrounds with career and educational opportunities, as well as the supports they need to succeed. JFF invites policymakers, business and civic leaders, and their community partners to use this Road Map to guide their states’ recoveries from the pandemic-induced downturn and to establish a longer-term vision for resilient, diversified, and inclusive economies for a better and brighter tomorrow.
How to Transform TANF to Better Serve America’s Workers and Families
JFF recommends major changes to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to ensure that individuals experiencing poverty have access to the education and training they need to secure good jobs while also receiving essential supports for their families.
JFF’s Vision for an Equitable Economic Recovery
JFF urges policymakers to envision an equitable economic recovery from COVID-19. It must ensure systemic transformation, foster community revitalization, and provide individuals from all backgrounds with career and educational opportunities, as well as the support they need to succeed. To realize that vision, JFF has created this policy framework for Equitable Economic Recovery, which includes a set of three policy pillars and four guiding principles that provide a road map for how the country can deliver on the promise of economic advancement for all.
Covid-19 Legislative Summary
JFF has developed a summary of the three stimulus packages that have been passed by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The summary focuses on the emergency needs of workers, students, small businesses, education systems, and communities.
Intermediaries’ Role in Policy to Develop and Scale Equitable Pathways
This brief illustrates the power intermediaries have to influence policy, so they can be more effective in supporting their partners and driving positive change in their communities and across their states.
Connecting Opportunity Youth to Postsecondary Credentials and Careers
Today, 4.5 million young adults ages 16 to 24 are out of school and unemployed. Often referred to as “opportunity youth,” they face significant barriers in the labor market. Policymakers must learn from proven college and career pathways models and craft effective policies to help opportunity youth succeed in education, skills training, and careers. This brief outlines key research findings and includes recommendations for designing the supports young people need.
Making College Work for Students and the Economy
JFF research finds that states have made progress in adopting several essential policy elements, but critical gaps remain that are undercutting talent development aims and contributing to persistent disparities in education and employment outcomes.
Closing the Credit-Noncredit Divide: Bridging the Gap in Postsecondary Education to Expand Opportunity for Low-Wage Working Adults
This report examines the structural divide between for-credit and noncredit postsecondary education and the problems it presents for people seeking better jobs with higher pay. It highlights innovative ways that some community colleges are trying to bridge the gap—creating more seamless pathways between credit and noncredit coursework —and provides policy considerations to encourage more colleges and statewide systems to adopt these models.
Making Higher Education Policy Work for The Untapped Workforce
Learn how higher education policy can transform our education and workforce systems to support the untapped workforce and prepare them for the 21st century economy.
Building Pathways to Credentials, Careers, and Economic Mobility: Transforming the Higher Education Act for Today’s Students and Economy
While the U.S. economy has certainly improved since the great recession, far too many Americans are still without a high-quality degree or credential despite the economy’s increasing demand for postsecondary education to meet workforce needs.
Senior Program Manager, Policy
Senior Policy Manager
Program Manager, Policy