- She was most recently senior education and workforce policy adviser to Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia.
Indian American Karishma Merchant was named associate vice president of policy and advocacy at Jobs for the Future (JFF). She previously was senior education and workforce policy adviser for Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). She will lead JFF’s work to advance nonpartisan, practice-informed public policy focused on education, workforce development, and equitable economic advancement, the national nonprofit said in a press release. “JFF aims to drive transformation in the American workforce and education systems to achieve equitable economic advancement for all,” according to its website.
Merchant has spent more than a decade on Capitol Hill, most recently as Senior Education and Workforce Policy Advisor for Sen. Kaine, overseeing education, child welfare, and labor policy initiatives.
She was “drawn to JFF because my career has focused on expanding access and economic opportunities for all,” she said in the press release. “After working at multiple levels of government and as a classroom teacher, I am excited to join an organization whose mission is focused on advancing equity and economic advancement,” she added. “I am thrilled to be part of a team that takes an integrated approach to break down silos between K-12, higher education, workforce development systems, and economic development and uses evidence-based practices from the field to inform good policymaking.”
Before her time in the Senate, Merchant was a researcher for the Tennessee Consortium on Research, Evaluation, and Development, evaluating the implementation efforts of Tennessee’s $500 million federal Race to the Top grant. She also worked at the Tennessee Department of Education, managing the implementation of Common Core curriculum training for school leaders. Merchant began her career as a classroom teacher in Washington, D.C., teaching high school social studies.