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vice president, building economic opportunity group, jobs for the future

Kathy Mannes is the vice president of Building Economic Opportunity Group at Jobs for the Future. In her role as vice president, Ms. Mannes will lead the organization’s body of work dedicated to increasing opportunities for low-income, low-skilled adults to obtain the education and skills necessary to attain productive jobs and careers. Ms. Mannes also will manage a range of existing national workforce and education initiatives focused on developing richer opportunities for adults in learning, skill development, credentialing, and career advancement, as well as work across the organization on issues related to employer engagement. 

Ms. Mannes joins JFF as a national expert in workforce development and public-private partnerships that produce labor and talent solutions. Ms. Mannes' projects encourage collaboration, leverage resources, link public and private partners, and build sustainable alliances among a wide range of clients. Her consulting work supports UpSkill America and Skills for America’s Future at the Aspen Institute and with other public and private sector clients.

In 2014, Ms. Mannes was appointed to the U.S. Department of Labor to help launch a new Center for Workforce and Industry Partnerships. CWIP is an interagency effort to promote and advance high-quality, job-driven workforce development partnerships and job growth nationwide.

Previously, Ms. Mannes served as the senior vice president for Workforce and Economic Development at the American Association of Community Colleges to expand the capacity of community colleges and promote access and completion in the workforce and economic development arena. Ms. Mannes helped develop and manage over a dozen philanthropic and government-funded projects and the annual Workforce Development Institute.

As managing director of Workforce Development for the National Retail Federation’s Foundation for over 15 years, Ms. Mannes oversaw the development of more than 25 Skills Centers across the country to help over 50,000 people advance in retail and customer service careers.

Prior to 1995, Ms. Mannes was employed by Dusco Community Services, Inc., representing an international shopping center developer and entrepreneur and projects promoting education and work reform. Ms. Mannes also served as executive director of the Council for Adult Education and Learning’s (CAEL) East Coast Center. She also directed continuing education and contract training at The American University in Washington, DC for ten years. In addition, Ms. Mannes served for 12 years on the Workforce Investment Board of Montgomery County, MD, and has been on the Boards for the Center for Employment Opportunities, the National Center for Children and Families, and SkillsUSA.

Ms. Mannes holds a master’s degree in education and reading from Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree from Brown University. She began her career in the classroom, teaching English, literature, and literacy skills at the secondary and postsecondary levels.