fbpx Rachel Lipson | Harvard Kennedy School

Rachel Lipson

Rachel Lipson is the co-founder and Director of the Project on Workforce at Harvard University’s Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. Launched in 2019, the Project on Workforce is a cross-school, interdisciplinary Harvard initiative focused on policy and research at the intersection of education and labor markets, and is a collaboration between the Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard Business School Managing the Future of Work Project and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In this role, Rachel is responsible for shaping the Project’s cross-disciplinary and cross-sector research agenda. She also leads the project’s research-practice partnerships with policymakers and the Cross-Harvard Study Group on Future of Work. Prior to co-founding the Project on Workforce, Rachel was Director of Special Projects at Year Up, an acclaimed workforce development training provider. She has previously worked on economic development at the World Bank, on community colleges for the State of California, on workforce development at JPMorgan Chase, and in training and organizing on President Obama’s re-election campaign. Rachel is a magna cum laude alum of Harvard College and the joint MBA/MPP program with Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School where she was a Rubenstein Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership. Her writing has been published in the Boston Globe, Washington Post’s Wonkblog, Newsweek, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and RealClearPolicy and her work has been featured by C-SPAN, Bloomberg, the Economist, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and MIT Technology Review. Rachel’s masters thesis research on community colleges and economic mobility was awarded the Kennedy School’s Frederick Fischer Prize for outstanding research on social policy. She is also a past recipient of the Harvard Certificate of Distinction and Excellence in Teaching for the Harvard College course “The Political Economy of Globalization.”

Recent Work

Joseph B. Fuller, Rachel Lipson, Farah Mallah, Girish Pendse, and Rachel Snyder. "The Options Multiplier: Decoding the CareerWise Youth Apprentice Journey." The Project on Workforce at Harvard. November 14, 2022.

Mark Dolan, Ali Epstein, Rachel Lipson, and Emma Winiski. "Building the new high road: Immigrants and workforce development." The Project on Workforce at Harvard. September 27, 2022.

Lipson, Rachel and Gregory Wright. Congress should be preparing for more job displacement, not less." The Hill. August 3, 2022.

Lipson, Rachel and Angela Jackson.  “We're Not Getting Free Community College. Here's How to Support Workers Equitably.” Newsweek. November 8, 2021.

Taube, Stephanie and Rachel Lipson. “COVID-19 and the Changing Massachusetts Healthcare Workforce.” The Project on Workforce at Harvard. September 2021.

Jyotishi, Shalin and Rachel Lipson. "Four things community colleges should know to maximize workforce impact."  New America, September 21, 2021.

Lipson, Rachel. "Our job-training system is stuck in the 1960s. American workers deserve better."  Boston Globe. August 17, 2021.

Dorsey Eden, Will, Joseph B. Fuller, and Rachel Lipson. "The Future of Boston's Workforce: The Path Forward from COVID-19." Boston Foundation and the Project on Workforce at Harvard, July 2021.

Fuller, Joseph B., and Rachel Lipson. "Why America Needs a Better Bridge Between School and Career." Harvard Business School Working Knowledge. May 19, 2021. 

Fuller, Joseph B., Rachel Lipson, Jorge Encinas, Tessa Forshaw, Alexis Gable, and J.B. Schramm. "Working to Learn: Despite a Growing Set of Innovators, America Struggles to Connect Education and Career." The Project on Workforce at Harvard, March 2021 

Lipson, Rachel, David Deming, Jerren Chang, Jacob Greenspon, Stephanie Nussbaum and Mariano Parro. “The search for stability: A review of worker transitions.” February 2021.

Hasak, Jonathan and Rachel Lipson. "Delivering on the California Dream." Real Clear Policy. February 15, 2019.

Lipson, Rachel and Noah Stern. “What does community college ‘mean’? A chance at the American Dream." Boston Globe, April 12, 2018.


[Silicon Valley Business Journal] How to Recruit and retain Gen Z. November 11, 2022

[Financial Times] Moving Beyond the Great ResignationNovember 1, 2022

[Working Nation] Leveraging the untapped talent of immigrants. Increasing economic mobility. October 28, 2022

[The Economist] Work in a shifting economic climate: responses in context. October 12, 2022

[State Street] An Inclusive Economy: Is Progress at Risk? September 15, 2022

[CNBC] Companies have been fleeing to low-tax states. Here’s why that may be bad news for workers. August 8, 2022

[Boston Business Journal] Orange Line shutdown: Poftak encouraged riders to work from home. These employees can't. August 5, 2022

[NBC News] Thousands of workers have lost access to trade assistance weeks after Congress allowed it to expire. July 23, 2022

[Boston Globe] 5 ways Gen Z is insisting on changes to the workplace. May 18, 2022

[Harvard Kennedy School] Putting cross-sector skills to work for a post-pandemic labor force. May 02, 2022

[Boston Globe] It’s almost impossible to get fired from some jobs these days. April 19, 2022

[Harvard Magazine] The upward mobility problem. April 15, 2022

[CCWT Symposium] Exploring Unpaid Internships: Issues of access, equity, and learning. April 7, 2022

[National Governors Association] How Can Artificial Intelligence Help People Get Back to work? March 29, 2022

[Bloomberg Markets] Back to Work and Job Training. March 11, 2022.

[WBUR] Many Mass. hospitals are short-staffed. The culprit may not be a shortage of nurses. February 28, 2022

[Massachusetts Municipal Association] The Future of Work in the Commonwealth. (with Secretary Rosalin Acosta, Secretary Michael Kennealty, and Undersecretary Scott Bosworth). January 27, 2022

[Bloomberg TV] Returning to the Office in 2022. December 29, 2021

[Bloomberg TV] Return to Offices Stalled by Covid Spike. December 22, 2021

[CNBC] (Interview with Lindsey Jacobson) Make-or-break questions about jobs of the future in U.S. November 29, 2021.

[AEI] (Panel) 10th Annual Housing Conference: Workforce Development and Higher Education. November 18, 2021.

Investing in a Resilient Workforce. With David Deming. Senate President’s Forum. Fall 2021 Forum, Boston, MA. 

Rapid Re-employment for a Just and Equitable Recovery: The 12th Annual Massachusetts Jobs and Workforce Summit: In Conversation with Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Rosalin Acosta. October 27, 2021

[Boston Business Journal] (quoted) State report probes root cause of nurse shortage at Mass. Hospitals: October 1, 2021. 

[Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development] (quoted) Report on COVID-19’s Impact on the Healthcare Workforce: September 30, 2021

[CSPAN] Interview with Jesse Holland, C-SPAN Washington Journal: September 25, 2021: Improving Job Training

[Harvard Kennedy School Magazine] Alumni apply the skills they honed as students in vital roles around the School: Summer 2021

[JFF Horizons National Summit] Building a Future that Works: Meeting STEMM Workforce Needs: June 25, 2021

[MIT Technology Review] EmTech Next: Back to work, but not back to normal - Joined Forces: Collective Findings from MIT's and Harvard’s Work of the Future Initiatives, June 2021

[Open Campus- Next: The Future of Higher Education by Jeff Selingo] (quoted) Learning, Streaming, and the Creator Economy, May 26 2021

[Governing] (interview) Workforce Training Programs Need Employers at the Table, May 13, 2021

[The Economist] (quoted) Covid-19 has transformed the welfare state. Which changes will endure? March 4, 2021

[The Boston Foundation] (panelist) Advancing Workforce Equity in Boston: February 22, 2021

[National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine] (Presenter, Committee Member) Meeting Regional STEMM Workforce Needs in the Wake of COVID-19. Fall 2020

[Jewish Vocational Services, The Digital Divide Forum] (Presenter) Worker Learning Pathways in the Time of COVID, June 25, 2020

Contact Information
(617) 998-5500