Tell us a little bit about your background and why you joined Workforce Matters.
Last year, I joined JPMorgan Chase as a Vice President, Global Philanthropy focused on the firm’s Jobs & Skills work. Our team works to advance equitable growth and address skills and career pathways gaps for the population that needs it most. Seeking innovative ways to engage and support national models and platforms that enhance career mobility and help to reduce economic wealth gaps. I am the oldest of 4 sons born to Mexican immigrants and raised on the Southside of Chicago in a neighborhood known as La Villita. I have worked in education, workforce development, and economic development for the last 21 years. I was born into poverty, which gave me a lived perspective on the racial wealth gaps in this country and fueled my desire to help close them. Throughout my career, I’ve focused on the development of policies, organizations, programs, and collectives that work to address an array of economic pathways for communities of color in the U.S. I’ve had a particular focus on extremely marginalized populations such as youth, homeless, survivors of domestic violence, persons most impacted by gun violence, returning citizens and undocumented communities.
What is something people might not know about you?
A little-known fact about me: I love the elements of Hip Hop and sneakers. I was raised and influenced by the early elements of Hip Hop (Graffiti, Mcing, Break Dancing, Djing) part of this was its influence on fashion and street culture. The good thing about not having internet until college was the fascination I had with “experiential learning” collecting sports, music, graffiti, and fashion magazines would intrigue my curiosity for what New York, LA, Detroit, Seattle, Houston, Miami, and other cities were doing in this space. Following break-dancers, DJs, and artists all across the country from flyer to flyer all in a 1986 Honda Accord. Now I just enjoy collecting Vinyl, Street Art, and Sneakers. I love a good pair of sneakers that brings back memories of that era or timeframe in my life.
What is something you are looking forward to this year?
This year, I am really looking forward to working with JPMorgan Chase and other foundations across the country in making a collective impact on economic access for disinvested communities across the country. I’m encouraged by the momentum we’re seeing within the firm and across the country to advance our $30 billion commitment to racial equity, and excited to see how that work continues to make an impact. I am looking forward to continuing the platform for learning and impact with Workforce Matters Steering Committee and its members. I have met a lot of phenomenal people so far in this work and looking forward to meeting more.