Long before JFF’s Michael Collins became an education-workforce policy expert, he was a Black kid living in Hartford, Connecticut, bussed to school in the white suburbs. The experience, followed years later by a stint teaching low-income Latino students in Texas, drove home the racial and economic disparities he’s been working to solve ever since. In the midst of a pandemic disrupting education and work — especially for low-income people of color — we talk to Michael about how to equip people for jobs today without closing off opportunities to advance in jobs of the future.


About Michael Collins

Michael Collins is vice president at JFF, a national nonprofit working to transform America’s education and workforce systems to accelerate economic advancement for all. He serves on JFF’s executive team and provides leadership for its programs with an emphasis on equity in opportunity for social and economic mobility.

For the past 15 years, Michael has led a multi-state postsecondary reform network working to increase the success of learners from low-income backgrounds. To accomplish that goal, he connects colleges and state postsecondary systems to evidence-based practices and practitioner-informed policies, and supports their implementation through postsecondary reform initiatives.

Prior to joining JFF, he served as assistant commissioner for participation and success at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. He holds a Master of Public Affairs degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.

He serves on the board of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, the National Student Clearinghouse, and is chair of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center Board.

More of Michael’s Work:

Are college degree requirements holding Black job seekers back?

JFF Horizons Scale Plenary: “States Responding at Scale”

Season 3, Episode 2 Transcript: Download

Increasing Opportunity for All, During the Pandemic and Beyond