Heather McKay

Senior Vice President of Employer Engagement and Executive Director of the Strada Institute for the Future of Work


Over the course of her career, McKay has engaged with 26 states and internationally, as well as with many employers, regions, universities, and community colleges. Her work has spanned a wide range of education and workforce development topics, including educational alignment with the labor market, career and technical education, transfer pathways, prior learning assessment, non-degree credentials, STEM programs, work-based learning, career coaching and navigation, student decision making and major choice, workforce development systems and funding, and performance-based funding models for higher education.

At the Virginia Office of Education Economics (VOEE), McKay developed the Virginia Skills Initiative, a new data set designed to help the state understand where Virginia graduates end up and what skills they possess. She also coordinated the state’s $1 billion Tech Talent Investment Program, a nationally recognized program that is building a pipeline of graduates skilled for the tech workforce. McKay and the VOEE team have also developed dashboards and data visualizations to make state and regional education and labor market data available to practitioners and policymakers for use in decision-making. Prior to VOEE, McKay was the founding director of the Education & Employment Research Center at Rutgers University’s School of Labor and Management Relations, where she worked with nonprofits, educational institutions and systems, and government agencies to help them develop, implement, and examine the impact of new initiatives at the intersection of education and work.

McKay earned a Master of Science in Global Affairs and a Master of Arts in World History from Rutgers University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College.