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About Joel Vargas

As vice president, Joel Vargas leads the JFF’s west coast office in Oakland, CA and leads the School & Learning Designs national team. He also researches and advises on state policies to promote improved high school and postsecondary success for underserved students. He has helped policymakers and intermediary organizations develop state and federal policies that expand early college schools and other school designs incorporating college coursework into high school. Since joining JFF in 2002, Dr. Vargas has designed and implemented a research and state policy agenda for implementing Early College Designs; created policy frameworks, tools, and model legislation; written and edited white papers, research, and national publications; provided technical assistance to state task forces and policy working groups; served on a number of national advisory groups; and organized and presented at national policy conferences.

Dr. Vargas has directed, initiated, and studied a variety of middle school and high school programs designed to help more underrepresented students get into and through a postsecondary education. He also has been a teacher, editor, and research assistant for the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University. He is coeditor of two JFF books: Double the Numbers: Increasing Postsecondary Credentials for Underrepresented Youth (Harvard Education Press) and Minding the Gap: Why Integrating High School with College Makes Sense and How to Do It (Harvard Education Press). In 2005, Dr. Vargas was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of “Higher Education’s Next Generation of Thinkers.” He received a B.S. in journalism from Boston University and an Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Show Highlights

  • Since the 2004 release of the book Double the Numbers, a book with a strong message to tackle both high school completion and postsecondary access and success for students of color. Fast forwarding to 2018, have things improved?
  • How we can speed up the progress
  • How today’s job market and a postsecondary education relate
  • What needs to change to prepare students for life after high school
  • Soft skills vs. hard skills
  • Where job trends are headed in the future and how we can better prepare students in this competitive market

Connect with Joel

Double the Numbers: Increasing Postsecondary Credentials for Underrepresented Youth

Minding the Gap: Why Integrating High School with College Makes Sense and How to Do It

Connect with me on Twitter @sheldoneakins

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