Josh CarpenterDirector, Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, City of Birmingham

Josh Carpenter, Ph.D., is the Director of the Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity at the City of Birmingham where he works to facilitate an inclusive economy. Previously, Josh served as Director of External Affairs in the Office of the President at UAB where he worked on strategic projects in a portfolio of issues in community engagement and economic development. While at UAB, Josh spearheaded a partnership between 15 partners and 30 employer sponsors to secure $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, and he now leads a team to train 925 disconnected youth for high-demand, high-wage IT jobs in Birmingham. The program, Innovate Birmingham Workforce, had an 85% graduation rate in the first cohort, and of those who completed, 100% earned a high-quality credential and nearly 80% obtained high-wage jobs.

A Rhodes Scholar, Josh earned his M.Sc. in Comparative Social Policy and a D.Phil. in Politics at the University of Oxford where his dissertation explored the intersections of the political participation and healthcare access. Josh was named a Young Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, and he is currently a member of the Aspen Institute’s Inclusive Innovation in American Cities Collaborative. Josh teaches in the UAB Honors College and the Collat School of Business and researches how job attainment alters notions of efficacy.

Previously, Josh served as a White House intern and was a Teach for America corps member in Alabama’s inaugural corps. He taught English, coached football and baseball and started the theater program in Perry County, Alabama. In 2012, he was named the state’s “Teacher of the Year.”

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