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Veteran Nonprofit Leader Joins Pioneering Coalition Focused on Boosting Economic Mobility for Displaced Frontline Workers

SkillUp taps Steven Lee as executive director to expand access to job training, career guidance for millions impacted by the pandemic

The SkillUp Coalition — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit coalition focused on retraining and upskilling more than 20 million frontline workers impacted by COVID-19 — announced Thursday that Steven Lee, an entrepreneur, investor and non-profit leader who most recently held senior roles at New York’s largest anti-poverty nonprofit, will lead the organization as executive director.

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In his newly created role, Lee will harness efforts supporting and retraining workers impacted by the pandemic and focus on growing SkillUp’s work to maximize its impact.

Lee brings more than 20 years experience in non-profits, management consulting and technology. Most recently, he served as Managing Director at Robin Hood, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization, leading efforts for the organization on micro-lending, legal counsel, and workforce development among other areas. He joins a team that includes more than 50 coalition partners including Strada Education Network, Opportunity@Work, JFF, and Guild Education.

“America’s workers continue to need support amidst an ongoing economic and public health crisis — and navigating the path to recovery , will require innovation, discipline and focus,” Lee said. “We’re living through a period of high uncertainty and generational change. SkillUp is working to reshape the American workforce in a way that benefits those most impacted by the pandemic. I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead these efforts, work with an incredible coalition of partners, and build on the work SkillUp launched in 2020.”

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Added SkillUp’s Executive Chairman, Josh Jarrett“We built SkillUp to collectively rise to this moment and push forward the kind of upskilling and training needed to support our country’s workforce. We are in grave risk of a ‘K-shaped recovery’ where low-wage workers who bore the brunt of COVID’s economic impact are now being left out of an equitable recovery. Adding someone with Steve’s deep expertise, and commitment to equity and economic opportunity,  helps us capitalize on our momentum, sharpen our approach and reinforce our support of the nation’s workforce.”

SkillUp launched in July, 2020 with a robust coalition of training, education, technology and employer partners focused on providing sustainable opportunities in high-demand careers to workers affected by the pandemic. This work includes guidance to help workers navigating best fit careers, delivering access to high-quality training providers, and connecting COVID-impacted workers with upskilling-friendly employers to help them embark on careers in in-demand jobs.

Since July, the coalition has worked to help tens of thousands of frontline workers select and prepare for career paths that align with the economy of the future. It is also building regional support for workers in key hubs to be announced shortly.

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