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  • Writer's pictureProject on Workforce Team

Chike Aguh | Team Profile

Chike Aguh profile image

Chike Aguh serves as a Senior Advisor at the Project on Workforce at Harvard. His research and work focuses on and includes the future of work, US competitiveness, economic mobility, supplying workforce to critical needs industries

(infrastructure, cleantech, emerging technologies like AI, care economy, etc.), connecting workers from underserved communities to hard-to-fill jobs, job quality and the impact of emerging technologies like AI on the workforce.

Previously, Chike was appointed by President Biden on day one of his administration to serve as Chief Innovation Officer at the US Department of Labor, the first black person to do so. Reporting to Deputy Secretary and later Acting Secretary Julie Su, he led efforts to use data, emerging technologies (AI, quantum computing, cybersecurity, etc.), and innovative practice to advance/protect American workers. Additionally, Chike has also worked as an education policy official and teacher in America’s largest school system; Fulbright Scholar in Asia; director of corporate strategy and performance technologies at education technology company EAB; founding leader of the Community College Growth Engine Fund; and Director of Strategy and Future of Work Lead at the McChrystal Group, a business advisory firm founded by Gen. (ret.) Stanley McChrystal.

Chike holds degrees from Tufts University (B.A.), Harvard Graduate School of

Education (Ed.M), Harvard Kennedy School (MPA), and University of Pennsylvania's

Wharton School (MBA).




Selected Research & Projects

Despite recent job growth, there is a widening gap between those succeeding and those struggling, along with increasing regional disparities and economic inequality, fueling public discontent and political divisions. The challenge facing the United States is to rebuild the connection between work, opportunity, and economic security for all citizens amidst rapid technological change. Governments, businesses, educators, and other institutions must do more to help Americans adapt and thrive in this changing landscape. As technology disrupts various industries, the United States needs better strategies to help people access new opportunities and create more and better-paying jobs. This includes strengthening the link between education and employment, making job skill requirements more transparent, ensuring all Americans acquire essential skills, and improving work benefits and returns for everyone.

Joanitt Montano and Chike Aguh outline three ways universities can design programs that meet student-parents where they are with their childcare needs. The cost and availability of childcare pose significant challenges for college students who are parents. With childcare expenses consuming a significant portion of family income, many student-parents struggle to afford quality care while pursuing their education. Institutions must address this issue by offering flexible schedules, partnering with organizations for experiential learning opportunities, and providing wraparound services such as transportation and childcare assistance. By proactively supporting student-parents, colleges and universities can help remove barriers to education and increase retention and graduation rates, especially in underserved communities.

Selected Media

Rachel Korberg (Families and Workers Fund), Chike Aguh (Harvard University) and Joseph Kenner (Greyston Foundation) in conversation with Krystal Hu (Reuters) on the design of a good workplace of the future.

How can government boost competitiveness and spur the creation of good jobs while protecting worker rights and promoting equity? The former Chief Innovation Officer in the U.S. Department of Labor discusses the talent implications of U.S. industrial policy, cross-sector collaboration, rethinking the delivery of benefits and services, and more.

of Work Conference

Chike Aguh has never met a CEO who feels like they are meeting all their talent needs – yet so many organizations still fall back on the network- and credentials-based hiring heuristics that create a stubbornly homogenous workforce. In this conversation with Charles Duhigg, Chike helps us understand the just-in-time and timeless skills that the labor market needs, and the importance and promise of skills-based hiring to build a fundamentally more diverse and better prepared workforce.

| Council on Foreign Relations

Chike Aguh joined Diana Farrell, Founding President and CEO, JPMorgan Chase Institute, Alexandra Fuenmayor Starr, Spencer Fellow, Columbia School of Journalism, and James Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations for a discussion on US competitiveness and workforce development.

Brookings Metro hosted an event marking the release of the U.S. Department of Labor’s new initiative to improve and expand access to Labor Department data. Deputy Secretary Julie A. Su announced during the event the department’s first-of-its-kind enterprise data strategy aimed at assessing how data is collected, analyzed, and leveraged for the best use on behalf of America’s workers. Through this comprehensive strategy, the Department of Labor will improve measurements of job quality, better evaluate outcomes by race and gender, modernize the system and help make it more accessible. Deputy Secretary Su will participate in a moderated conversation with Annelies Goger, a Brooking Fellow whose current research focuses on digital transformation in labor and education data systems, and Lesley Hirsch, Assistant Commissioner of Research and Information at the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The panelists discussed how more comprehensive labor data can be leveraged at the state level for the benefit of wage earners, job seekers, and retirees.

At the Fortune Brainstorm Design conference, experts discussed the delicate balance employers must strike in transitioning back to the office post-pandemic. Chike Aguh from the U.S. Department of Labor highlighted the risk of "proximity bias" favoring in-person workers and emphasized the importance of clear communication from managers. Katrina Alcorn of IBM noted the pre-existing desire for flexibility in work arrangements, while Connie Hadley of Boston University highlighted the challenge of balancing remote work with the need for collaboration. Ethan Eismann of Slack emphasized the shift towards empowering rather than monitoring employees. The consensus was that transparency in remote work policies is crucial for retaining talent in today's competitive job market.


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