Jeff Donofrio leads Business Leaders for Michigan after having served as Director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), leading the state’s workforce, economic development, housing, and labor activities. Prior to LEO, Donofrio served as the Executive Director of Workforce Development for the City of Detroit and as an executive at Ford Motor Company.
Charged with creating LEO, Jeff brought together 17 state agencies with the collective mission of advancing economic opportunity and prosperity for all Michiganders. At LEO, he created numerous programs focused on expanding workforce training and credential attainment with the goal to increase the number of Michiganders with a post high school credential from 44% to 60% by 2030. He also created the state’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification and the Poverty Task Force. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jeff and his team provided more than $27 billion in emergency support for over 2 million people and more than 18,000 businesses.
At Ford, Jeff worked closely with company leadership in Dearborn and elected officials and staff in Washington, D.C. to advance policy on trade, autonomous and connected vehicles, safety, and fuel economy. He previously served as District Director for Congressman Sandy Levin and Congressman John D. Dingell and Transportation Policy Advisor to Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
Jeff grew up working in his family’s small businesses, going on to earn his BA from Michigan State University and MBA from Georgetown University. He co-chairs Launch Michigan (Michigan’s K-12 education coalition) and serves on the boards of the Michigan Workforce Development Board, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, the Michigan Educational Excellence Foundation and the [Detroit] Mayor’s Workforce Development Board, as well as the Protect Michigan Commission. Previously Jeff chaired the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, was a member of Michigan Economic Development Corporation Board, Michigan Strategic Fund, and U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council. In 2018, he was appointed to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s transition team as Special Advisor for Jobs and the Economy and was named to Crain’s Detroit Business 40 under 40 class.