Joel Vargas

Joel Vargas

Vice president of programs at JFF

Brief Biography

Joel Vargas is a vice president of programs at JFF. He oversees programs focused on improving learning systems and outcomes, advancing the application of research and analytics, and inclusive regional economic development. Vargas has also advanced state policies and local practices that promote improved high school and postsecondary outcomes for underserved students. He has helped policymakers and intermediary organizations develop state and federal policies that incorporate college and career experiences into high school.

Since joining JFF in 2002, Vargas has designed and implemented a research and state policy agenda for early college designs; created policy frameworks, tools, and model legislation; written and edited white papers, books, research reports, and national publications; provided technical assistance to state task forces and policy working groups; served on national advisory groups; and organized national policy conferences. In 2015, he launched JFF’s West Coast office, which has supported the efforts of leaders of regional networks to advance cross-sector strategies for improving the economic mobility of low-income youth and adults.

Before joining JFF, Vargas directed, initiated, and studied middle school and high school programs designed to help students from underrepresented populations get into and through a postsecondary education. He also has been a teacher, an editor, and a research assistant for the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University.

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