Jonathan Furr

Senior Vice President and Chief Data Ecosystem Officer


Jonathan Furr joined Strada in June 2023 as senior vice president and its first chief data ecosystem officer. As chief data ecosystem officer, Furr will lead initiatives focused on ensuring that students, educators, policymakers, employers, economic development leaders, and others have access to the data and insights they need to make informed choices about postsecondary education and training programs and continuously improve those programs as part of equitable pathways to opportunity.

Furr is a nationally recognized authority in career pathways and integrated education and workforce data systems. Before joining Strada, Furr founded and led Education Systems Center, or EdSystems, at Northern Illinois University as a mission-driven policy development and program implementation unit based within the university’s Division of Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development. As its executive director, he positioned EdSystems as a key driver of Illinois policy relating to college and career pathways, college and career readiness, and data system development and use. Furr developed the critical legal and governance structures for the Illinois Longitudinal Data System, including the authorizing legislation, the governance and data-sharing agreements, and the federal grant proposals that funded its initial development. Since its establishment in 2012, this system has focused attention toward policies that improve academic and career success. For example, the system spotlighted that too many Illinois high school graduates were enrolling in community college remedial courses, leading to a multi-year, multipronged policy focus that yielded significant reductions in remedial placements.

Furr also led EdSystems and Northern Illinois University in the development of multiple regional data collaboratives, including initiatives focused on secondary and postsecondary programs in the Rockford, Illinois, region and an early childhood data collaborative in Chicago. He also led EdSystems’ development of a cradle-to-career dashboard for regional education and workforce collaboratives that translates education-to-employment data for the collaboratives’ use in regional planning and initiatives.

Furr also served as a consultant to the Education Design Lab to devise and launch an innovative national data collaborative, capturing information on community college nondegree credential program participation and outcomes in partnership with Credential Engine, Brighthive, the National Student Clearinghouse, Georgetown University, and others. In addition, he has provided consulting and legal counsel to a variety of national policy organizations and education technology companies focused on improved collection and use of integrated data.

Related to his field of expertise, he is involved with several education- and career-focused nonprofit organizations, including as a board member for the Work-Based Learning Alliance, which helps high-schoolers and community college students access free work-based learning experiences to connect them with industries and develop in-demand skills, and as board chairman for Liberia Career Pathways, a public-private initiative designed to support college and career readiness for students in Liberia.

Furr previously worked as a partner in the public policy and education practice of law firm Holland & Knight, LLP, and served as the general counsel for the Illinois State Board of Education as well as the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture and history from Washington University in St. Louis, and a juris doctorate and master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Michigan.