Jerry Roberts

Senior Director of Strategy & Innovation

Midwest Urban Strategies

Jerry Roberts is currently Senior Director of Strategy and Innovation for Midwest Urban Strategies, a consortium of 13 U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Development Boards working to marry traditional workforce development practices with economic development.

Jerry brings a career steeped in the corporate, nonprofit and philanthropy sectors.  Roberts cultivates and leverages relationships with business partners and national leaders to assist in the development of strong regional workforce and economic initiatives.   Previously, Jerry worked for Bader Philanthropies where he guided the Foundation’s annual $1.5 million investment in workforce grants and its growing $16 million Program Related Investment portfolio. Jerry’s contributions to the nonprofit sector include helping workforce development organizations move from their entrepreneurial beginnings to the next stage in organizational development and supporting conversations among regional leaders with an eye toward collaboration and systemic solutions. 

Roberts is also active with the Milwaukee Area Workforce Funding Alliance, a consortium of funders working on employment issues at the systemic level. Jerry proudly serves on the board of Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), New Orleans and on the Race and Equity Advisory team of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. He also lends his time, talent and resources to other boards and committees.

Roberts brings a front-line perspective on the job and economic pressures facing communities and families, and he is a frequent public speaker on various issues relating to workforce needs, social enterprise, poverty, racism, equity, and economic opportunity. Jerry is a 2015/2016 Connecting Leaders Fellow of ABFE, the Association of Black Foundation Executives. 

Roberts holds a master’s degree in the cultural foundations of education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well as bachelor’s degrees from Grace Christian College and UW-Milwaukee.

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