Josh Carpenter, Ph.D., served as the Director of Innovation and Economic Opportunity for the City of Birmingham. Under Mayor Randall Woodfin’s administration, Carpenter led the city’s efforts in workforce development (starting the Birmingham Promise), COVID recovery (BhamStrong), as well as real estate and traditional business retention and expansion. Previously, Carpenter served as the Director of External Affairs in the Office of the President at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he spearheaded a partnership to secure a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to train disconnected youth for high-demand, high-wage IT jobs in Birmingham. Carpenter was a former English and theater teacher as well as football and baseball coach in rural Alabama where he was named the state’s “Teacher of the Year” in 2012. In 2014, Carpenter founded and led a statewide nonprofit that received national attention to sign people up for the Affordable Care Act: training and mobilizing 700 college students to insure nearly 100,000 Alabama residents. A Rhodes Scholar, Carpenter earned his master’s in comparative social policy and doctorate in political economy at the University of Oxford, where his dissertation earned a Democracy Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council. Josh also serves as a board member for the American Association of Rhodes Scholars and MDC (formerly the Manpower Development Corporation) as well as an advisor to the Harvard-Bloomberg Mayor’s Initiative for inclusive economic development.