Experienced leader will deliver strong workforce development services for jobseekers and employers in Minnesota
St. Paul – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has named Jeanna Fortney as its next CareerForce Director, a key leader in the Agency's Workforce Development Division. Fortney will have administrative and operational oversight of more than 50 CareerForce locations across Minnesota, and will work in partnership with the 16 local workforce development boards.
Previously, Fortney was executive director of the Minnesota Association of Workforce Development Boards, where she led the overall strategic and operational work for the association, which represents Minnesota's 16 local workforce development boards. Before that, she was a CareerForce Integration Project Manager at DEED, during which time she led the rebranding of Minnesota's workforce system as CareerForce, facilitated engagement with stakeholders, and coordinated public outreach.
"Jeanna is an innovative and strategic leader with a strong understanding of workforce development and a demonstrated commitment to equity," said DEED Commissioner Matt Varilek. "She will lead a vital statewide program that helps guide jobseekers toward opportunities in rewarding careers and helps employers find the workers they need to grow and thrive. She'll also be a key leader in helping DEED fulfill our mission to empower the growth of the Minnesota economy, for everyone."
"Minnesota needs a leader with significant workforce development experience and vision to maximize workforce participation and support business growth," said Marc Majors, Deputy Commissioner for Workforce Development. "Jeanna has a long career in workforce development at the local, state, and national levels, including national work in partnership with the Department of Labor. Her strong statewide perspective, knowledge from working with the workforce development boards and her experience working with Minnesota employers will help to strengthen Minnesota's workforce development system."
A Minnesota native, Fortney began her career in the Washington D.C. area, where she worked for 15 years in various workforce roles, including leading career pathways programming for Washington D.C.'s workforce board, directing employment and training programs for youth and adults, and managing an American Job Center in Washington D.C. She also previously served as director of workforce development for the National Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, where she provided technical assistance and training to National Farmworker Jobs Program grantees across the country in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor.
"I'm thrilled to return to DEED as CareerForce director, and for this opportunity to work with the talented CareerForce staff across the state," said Fortney. "Workforce development is a top issue for employers statewide, and I look forward to collaborating with the many partners who make up our CareerForce system. We'll work together to help connect Minnesotans with quality jobs and meet employers' staffing needs so they can grow and thrive."
Fortney earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from American University and a master's degree in social work from George Mason University.
DEED is the state's principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website, the JoinUsMn.com website, or follow us on X (formerly Twitter).