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Mala Thakur

Senior Program Director

Durham, NC

Mala oversees strategy, program design, fund development, and management of MDC’s talent development portfolio. The portfolio includes initiatives focused on workforce development, post-secondary attainment, economic mobility, and related state policy—all of which contribute to expanding opportunities for underserved populations. 

Mala is a social change agent who has spent her career working on the alignment and implementation of education and workforce policy, systems, and practice. She specializes in comprehensive, multi-sector approaches to helping youth and adults prepare for careers at a family sustaining wage, and in identifying the best ways to inform philanthropy and government to scale the approaches that work. 

An educator by training, she has held a number of leadership roles at the intersection of family support, education, and workforce development. Most recently, she served as executive director of the Children’s Opportunity Fund at the Greater Washington Community Foundation in Montgomery County, Md. The fund is a public/private partnership designed to support innovation and investment in the well‐being of children, youth, and families. She served as the executive director of the National Youth Employment Coalition and director of Workforce Development at the New York Citywide School to Work Alliance, working nationally and locally to identify and implement policies and practices that help youth and young adults connect to opportunity and to thrive. She served as a senior fellow at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and taught English as a Second Language to immigrant populations. 

Mala has testified and conducted briefings on workforce development and education issues before members of Congress, as well as state, and local elected officials. Mala currently serves on the board of directors of the National Human Services Assembly. 

She holds an M.A. in education from New York University and a B.A. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.