Vanessa Bennett

Director, Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning

Vanessa Bennett

Vanessa Bennett is a director at the Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning. She leads initiatives that advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility within apprenticeship and improve access to economic advancement through pre-apprenticeship and work-based learning and inclusive program design.

She takes a field-informed approach, developing programs and strategies in response to communities’ and individuals’ needs while driving access to economic opportunity. Her work focuses on removing barriers to economic advancement for workers and learners, centering young adults and rural workers and learners.

Her expertise includes: 

  • Apprenticeship and work-based learning
  • Youth development
  • Community and economic development, specifically within rural areas
  • Public policy
  • Program design and development

Before joining JFF, Vanessa was the senior manager of career pathways at YouthBuild USA. In that role, she led national service initiatives, provided technical assistance to local programs implementing pre-apprenticeship training, and informed policy efforts to drive equity and access to work and education for young adults ages 16-24. Before that, she provided direct service programming for youth in rural New Hampshire. 

Vanessa represents JFF on the Partnership for the Civilian Climate Corps, the advisory board for the Institute for Community Inclusion’s Rural Youth Apprenticeship Project, and Rural Youth Catalyst’s national working group on youth development. She speaks on issues related to economic advancement for young adults and economic development for rural communities.

She says she was drawn to JFF because the organization’s reach and visibility provide an opportunity to drive innovation and change in our work and education systems while investing in the organizations and communities directly serving workers and learners.

Vanessa has a master’s in public policy from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire.

She is an avid reader and lover of all things outdoors.