As the Director of the Indiana Institute for Working Families, Jessica oversees research and promotes public policies to help Hoosier families achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency. She focuses her own research on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Jessica also serves as co-chair of the Indiana Skills2Compete Coalition, where she has accomplished legislative wins in nearly every legislative session since 2011, including a statewide cross-agency assessment of industry-recognized standards for middle-skill credentials, cross-agency measurement of those credentials, and a mandated increase of state financial aid for adult learners seeking high-demand credentials. Jessica also sits on the National Skills Coalition’s National Advisory Panel on Postsecondary Education and is involved with NSC’s national initiatives – Workforce Data Quality Campaign and Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships. Jessica is also a member of the Indiana Career Council’s Implementation Taskforce, and was nominated to a two-year term on the Indiana State Workforce Innovation Council through 2017. Before joining the Institute, she was a researcher for the Service Employees International Union, Local 3.
Jessica has built a reputation as a coalition-builder, bringing together policymakers, service providers, fellow advocates, funders, and the media. In 2015 she received NSC’s National Skills Champion award for her exceptional organizing and advocacy efforts that moved the skills agenda forward in her state and nationwide.