The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Adds Senior Advisor to Staff

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Adds Senior Advisor to Staff

James Jacobs, Ph.D., brings more than 50 years of experience to the Foundation

Detroit, MI/Buffalo, NY (Feb. 24, 2017) –
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation today announced the addition of James Jacobs, Ph.D. as a senior advisor to the president & CEO. Jacobs comes to the Foundation from the nationally acclaimed Macomb Community College, where he has spent 50 years of his career, serving as president since 2008.

“Jim’s impressive experience and understanding of workforce development will serve as an excellent resource for our staff, and help to inform future investments the Foundation will make in that sector,” said David O. Egner, president and CEO of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “Additionally, Jim brings a strong connectivity to employers and organized labor throughout the region. He’s a recognized economist who understands the future of the workforce, and we’re fortunate to have him join the team as a senior advisor.”

In this new part-time role, Jacobs will advise on strategic decisions and investments the Foundation looks to make in its “Young Adults and Working Class Families” focus area. This includes finding opportunities and programs that provide skills training and education that can lead to pathways to good paying jobs and increased independence in both Southeast Michigan and Western New York.

“Jim’s passion for workforce development will be an asset to the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation.”  said Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel.  “A well trained and well educated workforce is critical to the economic future of our region and Jim’s unique expertise will be helpful in assuring that need is filled.” 

Prior to his appointment as president of Macomb Community College in Warren, MI, Jacobs served as director for the Center for Workforce Development and Policy and as associate director of the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Jacobs also spent time serving as president of the National Council for Workforce Education. He earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University and has since specialized in the areas of workforce skills and technology, economic development, worker retraining and community college workforce development.

“Jim’s career at Macomb Community College has been characterized by a dedication to accessible, relevant education and its connection to sustainable careers and economic vitality,” said Jennifer Haase, chair, Macomb Community College Board of Trustees. “We’re happy that Jim, even in retirement, will continue to lend his unparalleled expertise in growing our region’s workforce development capacity.”

Jacobs will formally join the team at the Foundation following his retirement from Macomb Community College this July.


About the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation:

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grant making organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills franchise. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation which bears his name. The Foundation has a grant making capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires December 31, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable and overseen by those who knew him best. 

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