Jeannette Tamayo

Jeannette Tamayo

Associate Vice President for Workforce Development and Community Engagement
University of Illinois System

Jeannette Tamayo possesses significant experience deploying data-based, high-impact resources in communities experiencing disinvestment or underinvestment. She brings a unique federal, state, local, and community perspective to addressing entrenched inequities that divert from the state’s unique capacity to be a global leader, serve its diverse residents equitably, and provide a stellar talent pipeline to grow its economy.

She joined the University of Illinois System to advise on inclusive economic development, equitable workforce development, and economic resiliency and recovery. During her tenure with the federal government, Jeannette established a coalition of federal agencies to leverage joint funding and increase community impact in economically distressed communities. Jeannette received the 2017 National Federal Chair of the Year Award, one of the few times it was awarded in the Midwest for leadership of a multi-agency Federal Executive Board, and was honored by throwing out the first pitch at a Chicago White Sox game. In 2016, she received the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor, for co-leading the development of a new national application process to remove application cost barriers and improve customer response time for economically distressed communities.

Joining the federal government after a long and successful career working in non-profit organizations and state government, Jeannette previously held both attorney and program leadership roles as an executive or in management at state agencies and non-profit organizations addressing safety net, workforce development, and economic development issues. She started her career as an attorney with Legal Aid Chicago, representing residents of public housing, persons experiencing economic instability, and families seeking critical safety net services. Her diverse experience spans developing strategic plans, building robust partnerships, supporting organizational capacity-building, and leading policy initiatives on economic resilience, education, workforce development, and criminal justice.

Jeannette earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies and a minor in women’s studies from the University of Illinois Chicago, and a juris doctor degree from DePaul University College of Law. She is a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government program on leadership for the 21st century and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Mediation Skills Program.

Jeannette currently serves on the Board of Know Your Chicago, a partnership with the Graham School of General Studies at the University of Chicago, where she co-led experiential learning tours on economic development and gangs, forensic investigations, and opioid addiction intervention services. She is a graduate of the FBI Chicago Citizens Academy and serves on the Board of the Special Agents Association, as well as on her church council. Her multiple positions reflect a deep knowledge of the intersection between economic and workforce development, structural barriers, community revitalization, and multi-faceted partnerships in policy development, systems, and program design.