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Erica Cuevas is a director on the Policy & Advocacy team at JFF. She leads policy analysis, research, and communications efforts to strengthen federal and state policy to spur innovation and improve pathways across K-12 and postsecondary education systems.

Erica engages leaders and policymakers to ensure they understand the challenges facing our education systems and the solutions to those challenges. She also helps on-the-ground practitioners develop policy advocacy skills.

Erica is an objective federal and state policy analyst who understands the need to connect policies to on-the-ground practice. She’s also a researcher, writer, blogger, advocate, and strategic partnership builder.

Her expertise includes:

  • Educational equity
  • Innovation in education
  • Streamlining transitions between high school to college and careers
  • Career and technical education
  • Work-based learning
  • Higher education access, success, and affordability

Before joining JFF, Erica was a policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Education, focusing on federal programs to make postsecondary education more accessible and affordable.

She worked with the Department of Education’s White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, helping coordinate the initiative’s Federal Interagency Working Group on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

A past participant in the McConnell Foundation Scholars Program, which financially supports first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds who want to bring positive change to their communities, Erica now serves on the program’s selection committee.

Erica says she was drawn to JFF because of the organization’s bipartisan approach and strong relationships with policymakers, which strengthen its ability to influence policy. Additionally, she notes that JFF’s policy work is informed by on-the-ground practitioners who actually work in communities with students and workers.

Outside of work, she says, “I love to travel, be outdoors, and spend time with family and friends.”