Jenny Wittner oversees the organization’s education and training advocacy programs. She supervises WE’s work to expand and promote transitional programs for low-skilled adult students that combine basic skills training with career preparation. She also leads our efforts to align adult education across the City of Chicago into a career pathways system that focuses on helping students navigate through college and earn degrees that lead to real career opportunities. Under her guidance, our advocacy for increased financial aid in Illinois helped win more than $50 million to expand tuition assistance for low-income students.
Since joining the Women Employed staff in 1999, Wittner has also led the effort to create career development tools for lower-income women; worked to increase welfare recipients’ access to education and training; and fought to improve the GED system in Illinois. She is a co-author of Skills Training Works: Examining the Evidence, published by the Workforce Alliance. Wittner is also an expert on the fair workplace issue of unstable and unpredictable scheduling practices and how they affect the lives of low-paid workers.
Prior to joining Women Employed, Wittner directed Chicago Commons’ Employment Training Center (ETC), a nationally recognized welfare-to-work program. Wittner has taught English as a Second Language, trained teachers and volunteers, and authored reports and articles on the intersection of adult education and welfare reform.
Wittner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College and a Master of Arts degree in Linguistics and the Teaching of English as a Second Language from Northeastern Illinois University.
- Newsday, "Workers need a better deal on Thanksgiving weekend," November 23, 2015
- Chicago Tribune, "Voice of the People: Illinois government, start governing," November 5, 2015
- Crain's Chicago Business, "Letters to the editor: ...That 'inflation' isn't happening," October 24, 2015
- Chicago Sun-Times, "Letters: We don't need pointless barriers to graduation," October 21, 2015
- Progress Illinois, "What's the status of women's equality in Illinois?" August 25, 2015
- sherights, "Is this the type of pay progress you expected?" April 14, 2015
- Illinois Public Radio, "Pregnant workers to be protected under new law," August 26, 2014
- Chicago Tribune, “Voice of the People: Quality Jobs,” October 14, 2012
- Chicago Sun-Times, “Letters: Minimum wage a family issue,” July 5, 2010
- CNN Money, “More wives outearning their husbands,” January 19, 2010