Rebecca Kusner is a workforce development connector, strategist, and advocate based in Northeast Ohio. She is the founder of R4 Workforce, a consulting firm based just outside of Cleveland and specializing in projects at the intersection of programming, public policy, and worker power. Rebecca has over twenty years of experience in workforce development and she has developed and led award-winning projects of national prominence involving community organizations, government, philanthropy and the business community.
In 2017, Kusner launched R4 to drive system change and improvements while also having flexibility for her family. Her work includes advising an Annie E. Casey Foundation Generation Work site in Cleveland; convening the Ohio Workforce Coalition; developing competency-based career pathways for manufacturing companies; and growing 2Generation strategies through local partnerships. Prior to launching her firm, Kusner held leadership roles in the non-profit and consulting sectors. She led implementation of Northeast Ohio’s first skills-based hiring pilot and was the Northeast Ohio director of WorkAdvance, a national demonstration project shown to produce statistically significant impacts on employment and earnings. She has researched and written several workforce development reports and managed philanthropically and publicly funded workforce programs for adults and youth.
Kusner focuses on the intersection of workforce programs, public policy, and community power. She is an active member of the National Skills Coalition, where she serves on its Welfare-to-Career National Advisory Panel. From 2017-2020, she served on the board of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals as the Ohio representative, and she has participated in several committees of her local workforce board. In 2018, Kusner was named a Job Quality Fellow by the Aspen Institute’s Workforce Strategies Center and was invited to join Hope Street Group’s Skilling America Distinguished Fellows Network. She has a master’s degree in Public Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Urban Economic Development from Cleveland State University, and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Politics and Government, and Sociology from Ohio Wesleyan University.
When not thinking about the future of workforce, Kusner is thinking about the future of her two sons who are subject to her homeschooling during the Covid-19 pandemic.