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by Ed Wytkind, Board Chair, Jobs to Move America

Erica Iheme

On behalf of the board of directors at Jobs to Move America (JMA), I am pleased to announce the appointment of Erica Iheme, the organization’s deputy director, to the newly-created position of Co-Executive Director to join Madeline Janis, co-founder and executive director. 

Effective January 1, 2023, Ms. Iheme and Ms. Janis will assume the titles of Co-Executive Director and share leadership responsibilities for the organization. Both will oversee regional and national campaign strategies, as well as the organization’s management team across the following regions: California, Illinois, the Northeast (NY/NJ), and the South. 

Ms. Janis will be on sabbatical from January 4, 2023 through March 13, 2023, so Ms. Iheme will be taking on all executive director responsibilities during this time.

Ms. Iheme joined JMA in June 2020, as the director of the Southern region responsible for building JMA’s organizing, research, and policy work in the area. Under her leadership, the Southern program tripled in size and funding, winning community benefits agreements in the deep South, including with NFI Group covering eight factories across the country. In February 2022, Ms. Iheme was promoted to deputy director, where she helped grow JMA’s organizational budget and played critical roles in policy victories nationwide. Prior to joining the organization, Ms. Iheme worked for 17 years in the labor movement, including 14 years at SEIU and 3 years at AFSCME, where she worked as a worker organizer, trainer, and educator. Ms. Iheme was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, and attended Alabama A&M University in Huntsville for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in urban planning.

We are confident Ms. Iheme will continue her exemplary work of strengthening JMA in her new role, and will join Ms. Janis in leading the organization to greater heights in fighting for good jobs in the cleantech sector. 

In their own words:

Madeline Janis – “I am thrilled at the board’s appointment of Erica Iheme to the role of Co-Executive Director, where she will join me in leading and scaling the organization to create more high-road jobs. Erica has truly been invaluable since joining JMA, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner as we look to transform the cleantech industry and set benchmarks for job creation and equitable opportunities within our communities.” 

Erica Iheme – “I am humbled by this new appointment and excited to co-lead this incredible organization with Madeline. Born and raised in Birmingham, AL, I am all too familiar with the lack of good jobs and a huge poverty gap across racial and gender lines. I desire a future where good jobs, particularly in green manufacturing, are accessible and attainable for anyone who wants to work, no matter who they are or where they are from. These jobs should be well compensated with good benefits, safe working conditions, and free of discrimination and harrassment. 

In order for us to have a fully functioning labor force, production line, service and overall economy, we have to create conditions where the workers benefit as much as the companies and institutions that they serve.  

To get there, I believe that every home should have the benefits from two CBAs: a Community Benefits Agreement and a Collective Bargaining Agreement. We need labor and community working in true partnership advocating for policies that put more conditions on federal funding awards to local governments, while leveraging resources to put pressure on companies to work with local communities in which they exist and function. I believe this is where JMA’s work can create the most impact.”

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