Michelle Rafferty

Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operating Officer of DESC, Michelle Rafferty is responsible for the development and operation of strategic workforce initiatives that equip Detroiters with skills and opportunities that lead to family-sustaining employment.

For over a decade, Michelle has dedicated her career to creating and launching efforts that combat unemployment, build the skills of community members and promote economic equality. She is skilled in strategic planning, resource development and project management and has the proven ability to build and sustain collaborative relationships across organizations. After 4 years in Chicago, she is thrilled to be back home and join efforts to promote employment and career advancement in the city of Detroit.

At the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Michelle oversaw strategic initiatives, resource development and labor market research. She was instrumental in developing Opportunity Works, a sector-driven internship program for young adults; launching Career Connect, an integrated case management data system; and in creating and managing a city-wide employment program for juvenile-justice involved youth. During her time with SER Metro Detroit and Central States SER, she developed new business opportunities and oversaw a team that delivered employment services to the community. At the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Michelle played a key role in the design and launch of the Greater Detroit Centers for Working Families and conducted research that guided investments.

Michelle earned a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Michigan. When she is not at work, she spends her time chasing after two cute toddler boys and binge-watching TV shows, usually at different times.

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