Director, Labor and Economic Opportunity
State of Michigan
Jeff Donofrio, Director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, is charged with coordinating and streamlining the state's workforce and economic development programs to meet business and labor needs and grow communities where all Michiganders have equal opportunities to reach their fullest potential. Donofrio brings a wealth of experience and proven success in policy, government and workforce development.
Previously he served as the Executive Director of Workforce Development for the City of Detroit where he oversaw the City’s workforce system and was charged with development and implementation of strategies to increase residential employment and household income and improve the economic competitiveness of Michigan’s largest community.
While working for the City of Detroit, Donofrio led a number of major initiatives, including:
- $30 million revitalization of career technical education for youth and adults at Detroit Public Schools Community District’s Randolph (construction and skilled trades), Breithaupt (automotive, robotics and service industry) and Golightly (tech/innovation).
- $20+ million economic development partnership to create a talent pipeline for the Gordie Howe International Bridge construction, Ford’s Corktown Campus and FCA’s Jefferson North and Mack Avenue assembly plants.
- Expansion and management of the City’s summer youth employment program, Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, which provides more than 8,000 youth with paid summer jobs each year.
- Launch of Detroit at Work training programs which have tripled the number of Detroiters enrolled in industry credential training annually (687 to 2,756) in manufacturing, retail, hospitality and entertainment, healthcare, information technology and construction.
- Statewide effort to forgive $600 million in State debt through elimination of Drivers Responsibility Fees which prevented 76,000 Detroiters and 340,000 Michiganders from obtaining a driver’s license.
Before joining Mayor Duggan’s staff, Donofrio served as an executive at Ford Motor Company based in Washington, DC. Donofrio also served as District Director for Congressman Sandy Levin and Congressman John D. Dingell and Transportation Policy Advisor to Governor Jennifer Granholm. He grew up working in his family’s bar, restaurant and bowling alley, Clemente's located in Lincoln Park, MI, that was opened by his Great-Grandparents in the 1920s.
Donofrio serves on the boards of United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. In 2018, he was appointed to Gov. Whitmer’s transition team as Special Advisor for Jobs and Economic Development and was named to Crain’s 40 under 40 class.
Jeff earned his BA in Public Policy and Secondary Education from Michigan State University and MBA from Georgetown University.