Rashida Thomas

Rashida Thomas

Detroit Workforce System Leadership Development Academy, Class of 2017, Economic Opportunities Program

Director of Workforce Development and Education, Focus: HOPE, Detroit, MI

As Director of Workforce Development and Education, Rashida Thomas is responsible for the education and job training programs that provide sustainable career pathways in the areas of advanced manufacturing, engineering, and information technology. With a passion for positive social impact, Thomas is committed to providing equitable opportunities for the constituents served.

Thomas joined the Focus: HOPE leadership team in 2012 to implement a quality program and to manage special projects. She assumed her new role in mid-2013 and worked previously at Focus: HOPE as manager of Fast Track, the highly regarded enrichment program to help adult students upgrade their math and reading skills.

Thomas has an extensive technical and leadership background after working 11 years for Chrysler LLC in engineering, product strategy, technical planning, external affairs, and public policy. Over the last 20 years, she has gained professional experience in a wide range of fields, across automotive engineering, executive management, organizational development, and workforce training positions.

Thomas serves as Board Secretary for Grand River Academy National Charter School and is an alum of Detroit Regional Chamber Leadership Detroit Class XXXV. She holds a Master of Business Administration from Wayne State University, Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Oakland University, a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University, and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt from Lawrence Technological University Professional Development Center.

Rashida Thomas is a member of the Detroit Workforce System Leadership Development Academy Class of 2017, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

The Workforce Leadership Academies are part of the Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, a network of leadership and fellowship programs run by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. Within this Network, EOP connects national and local leaders from across sectors — nonprofit, government, business, philanthropy, academia, and more — to advance policies and practices with the potential to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s economy. Learn more at as.pn/eofn.