Jane Oates served in the U.S. Department of Labor during the Obama Administration.

Jane Oates named WorkingNation President

Join Founder & CEO Art Bilger and the WorkingNation team in congratulating Jane Oates, the new WorkingNation president. Jane, who previously served on WorkingNation's Executive Committee, will continue her work promoting our storytelling mission and strengthening our partnerships.

WorkingNation Founder & CEO Art Bilger founded WorkingNation to address key issues about the skills gap and the future of work.
WorkingNation Founder and CEO Art Bilger. Photo – WorkingNation

A message from WorkingNation Founder & CEO Art Bilger:

Today it is my great pleasure to announce that Jane Oates will become the President of WorkingNation, effective immediately.

Jane has been a crucial member of our team as we launched WorkingNation and pursued our mission to educate the American public and policymakers about structural unemployment, the skills gap and achievable solutions we can all get behind to ensure that all Americans are prepared for the future of work.

Jane is uniquely qualified to lead our effort. An educator and policy expert, Jane was appointed by President Barack Obama as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Labor for Employment and Training in June 2009. Jane led the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) in its mission to design and deliver high-quality training and employment programs for our nation’s workers.

Prior to her appointment, Jane served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and Senior Advisor to Governor Jon S. Corzine. For a decade before, Jane served as Senior Policy Advisor to Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Jane began her career as a teacher in the Boston and Philadelphia public schools and later as a field researcher at Temple University’s Center for Research in Human Development and Education. She received her BA in Education from Boston College and an M.Ed in Reading from Arcadia University.

I want to thank Joan Lynch, Stan Levy, and Richard Ramirez for their stalwart leadership as WorkingNation grew from a promising vision into an impactful reality. Joan, Stan and Richard are at the core of our efforts and will work shoulder-to-shoulder with Jane on the critical issues facing the workforce.

We have much work to do to educate and help prepare the workers of our great country with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate and succeed in the new world of work.

With Jane Oates leading the charge, the talented team at WorkingNation creating world-class content to educate everyone on this crucial issue and our amazing partners,  I am confident that we will make a lasting difference.

Art Bilger

WorkingNation Founder & CEO

The WorkingNation Editorial Team caught up with Jane over email on Monday to get her thoughts about WorkingNation’s commitment to impactful storytelling. She also outlines what our community and partners can look forward to in 2018 and beyond.

What have you learned about the future of work and workforce development since you’ve been with WorkingNation?

Jane Oates: I have really learned the power of film in explaining workforce training. Decades of policy work demonstrated the dedication of the people engaged in workforce development and film captures what they do, captures the resilience of the people going through re-education, and educates and inspires audiences nationally.

Jane Oates appeared at the WorkingNation Town Hall event held at Rutgers University in August of 2017.
Jane Oates was a featured panelist for the WorkingNation Town Hall: “Re-skilling the Mid-career Workforce’ held at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

And I have learned what an amazing, talented team Art has put together. They are so committed to telling these stories to educate people about jobs they may not have thought about, about balancing stories across various partners and using their artistry to convince people that they can do this in their community.

WN: In your travels representing WorkingNation, what is the common thread that unites each of the organizations that you have visited and shared our message?

J: If I had to pick one it would be leadership. Strong business leaders, education leaders, strong non-profit leaders and strong political leaders in any combination make these partnerships thrive.

But the successful ones also are outcome-based, business driven and a part of a vibrant partnership. Jobs are the number one outcome.

WN: What are the issues that WorkingNation highlight but are not getting enough attention in the mainstream media?

J: How difficult it is to take the risk that these participants are taking when they sign on to reskill. Being laid off is devastating. You played by the rules, worked hard and now your job is gone. Too often the media reports on the dollars that come into an area after a large layoff like people won the lottery. Deciding to start is hard. They miss that. And they miss that all people want us their old job back.

WN: What would you like to see WorkingNation focus on in the future?

J: Art has talked a lot about work as part of finding your value, your purpose and I think that is a really interesting topic that I hope we will explore. I am also very excited about growing fields. We have a Town Hall event on June 26th in New York about cybersecurity–the opportunities there are incredible. I hope we look more closely at data analytics and green energy jobs as well.

WN: What can our community expect from your presidency and the WorkingNation media platforms moving forward?

J: The website is our backbone and you should expect it to continue to bring you the best in work-related curated stories as well as innovative and informative original content. It will also continue to be the best place to check out our Do Something Awesome [series] and live events. Most importantly it will remain our open invitation for people to join us on all our social media outlets. We would love more people to tell us their stories.  Solutions are everywhere and we need to share them!

WorkingNation's Jane Oates with Art Bilger, WorkingNation founder & CEO.
Jane Oates in the audience for the WorkingNation/Hiring America Town Hall: ‘Keeping America’s Promise’ with Art Bilger and Hiring America Creator and Executive Producer Bill Deutch. Photo – Jonathan Barenboim

WN: Which is your favorite Do Something Awesome video and why?

J: That is the hardest question you have asked.  So many of these programs are ones that I have seen and lived for a long time–Gateway and Snap-on, Harper, Northern Idaho- and some were brand new to me–KeyBank and Tri-C; WSU-Tech and NC3; Carolinas Healthcare System and PHI.

So I am going to cheat and say that my favorite is always the latest one because the production team continues to tell stories that are fact-based but through a human lens. They put a face on every issue and make the folks highlighted in them feel like new friends. They are truly gifted artists and the heart and souls of Working Nation.

Jane has had a busy 2018 so far representing WorkingNation at a screening for our animated short Slope of the Curve at the U.S. Capitol Building, speaking at the ACT Policy Platforms launch and blogging for ACT.

On May 1, Jane will speak at the Milken Institute Global Conference panel ‘Building Tomorrow’s Workforce Today.’ We will have a full write-up and video from her appearance following the event.

From the Milken Institute website:

Workforce readiness remains a challenge as society grapples with the ramifications of automation and Al. As the very nature of work evolves, new toolkits and education opportunities are needed to better equip workers for future jobs. How are we helping them and their industries compete and prosper in the global economy? How are leaders ensuring underserved demographics obtain the skills necessary to achieve their potential and build lasting careers? How is today’s workforce adapting to this changing landscape and navigating both traditional and alternative employment pipelines?