Matt Helmer is an associate director at the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program and joined the program in April 2022. Matt’s work focuses on developing conversations, tools, and research that advance job quality, equity, and economic security for workers with low and moderate incomes. He worked for the Institute’s Workforce Strategies Initiative (WSI) from 2009 to 2014. With WSI, Matt researched community college and nonprofit partnerships and construction pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs, facilitated the Sector Skills Academy, and supported the Reinventing Low-Wage Work and Working in America discussion series.
Matt has a background in workforce development, affordable housing, and adult education. Before rejoining the Institute in 2022, Matt worked for the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), where he led a team of analysts and project managers charged with advancing the agency’s strategic priorities. Matt helped lead the development and implementation of workforce development and asset building programs, eviction prevention strategies, and trauma-informed customer service. Before joining SHA, Matt was a senior policy analyst at the Seattle Jobs Initiative, where he evaluated workforce development programs and conducted research on job quality and economic development issues in the Seattle region. Prior to coming to the Institute in 2009, Matt worked for a local nonprofit in Seattle supporting immigrants and refugees, served in Damascus as a senior English language fellow for the US State Department, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tonga. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in teaching English to speakers of other languages from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington. Matt lives outside Seattle with his wife and two sons and enjoys spending time with them exploring the beaches, mountains, and forests of the Pacific Northwest.