Juan Jose Gonzalez


Juan Jose Gonzalez joined ESG in 2024 as a Director on the Career Readiness team, where he leads and supports the work aligning high quality K-12, postsecondary, and industry pathways in various regions across the country.

Previously, Juan Jose spent time as the Managing Director of Pathways & Operations for Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University. There, he was heavily involved in implementing Illinois’ Postsecondary Workforce Readiness Act, State Perkins V Plan, College and Career Pathways Endorsements framework, partnering on industry-specific pathways with school districts and communities throughout the state.

Juan Jose began his career as an immigration rights organizer for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, where he mobilized immigrant citizens to vote and lobby at the state and federal levels for better immigration policy. He then served as the Chicago director for Stand for Children Illinois, leading regional advocacy and policy efforts. Following Stand, he was the director of youth and education policy for the City of Chicago Mayor’s office under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, managing a portfolio that included elementary and secondary education policy, college access, summer employment, and out-of-school time opportunities.

Juan Jose received his Bachelor of Arts at Princeton University and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago Harris School. Juan Jose has also volunteered as a student mentor with Chicago’s I-Mentor program at Phoenix Military Academy, supporting Chicago students in the college application and transition process. He is also an elected parent member of a Chicago World Language Academy’s Local School Council (LSC) in Chicago.

Why are you in this work?

I am a former public school student whose parents came to this country barely with a high school education and struggled to navigate the school system for their children. My hope is to create better high school and postsecondary experiences for all students so that we may have an more equitable and fair educational system.

Why ESG?

I’m passionate about the opportunity to meet, collaborate, and learn with like-minded colleagues dedicated to improving educational and economic outcomes at the local, state, and national levels.

Connect with Juan

Make contact by email, or follow Juan on LinkedIn.