Lauren Starks is the director of Good Companies/Good Jobs, an initiative of the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. The Good Companies/Good Jobs Initiative focuses on building the incentives for companies to pursue a shared success model, in which workers thrive while contributing to the success of a healthy business, and on advancing actionable strategies needed to ensure more jobs are good jobs.
Lauren comes to the Institute from the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, where she served as the first lead for the Good Jobs Challenge program, one of six Investing in America’s Communities programs created under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Under her guidance, the program reached thousands of stakeholders, received over 500 applications, and executed technical assistance resulting in $500 million invested across the US to strengthen and scale locally driven workforce systems and partnerships.
Lauren has previously served in senior policy roles focusing on equity and economic mobility. In particular, as chief of staff to the general counsel at the US Department of Education (ED), she was responsible for complex interagency initiatives including the implementation of a career readiness program impacting over 250,000 individuals annually. As senior policy advisor at the White House Domestic Policy Council, Lauren designed strategies targeting postsecondary affordability and the removal of barriers to education and employment. As senior policy advisor within ED’s Office of the Under Secretary, she helped launch public-private partnerships focused on advancing opportunity for low-income individuals.
Lauren has received awards and recognition from the American Association of University Women, the US Department of Education, the US Department of Defense, Columbia University, and Yale University.
A native of Atlanta, Lauren earned a Bachelor of Arts in Ethics, Politics, and Economics from Yale. She holds a law degree from Columbia, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. Lauren and her husband, Geoffrey, live in Washington DC and have two children.