photo of Karen Gardiner
Karen Gardiner
Senior Fellow
Income and Benefits Policy Center
  • Profile
  • Outside Affiliations
  • Karen Gardiner, a senior fellow in the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute, directs evaluations of workforce training programs, including their implementation and effects on participants. Most recently, Gardiner directed the evaluation of the US Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship Initiative. She also directed the Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education project for the US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, one of the first impact studies of career pathways programs. Previously, Gardiner was a principal associate at Abt Associates and a vice president at the Lewin Group. She is the vice president of the board of directors of Jobs Have Priority, a nonprofit organization that provides job training and job search assistance to residents of homeless shelters in the Washington, DC, area.

    Gardiner holds a BA in political science and economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MPP from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

    Research Areas
    Beyond high school: education and training
    Community colleges
    Families with low incomes
    Postsecondary education and training
    Job markets and labor force
    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
    Workforce development
    Workers in low-wage jobs

    Outside Affiliations
    Jobs Have Priority, Inc.
    Vice President of the Board of Directors

    Urban experts are permitted and empowered to work and affiliate with outside organizations, whether serving on boards, volunteering their time, or providing advice and counsel. And Urban welcomes visiting scholars, nonresident or affiliated fellows who work for other organizations. These outside affiliations enrich our perspectives and our learning environment. We also require all paid and unpaid experts to disclose their affiliations to Urban leadership and follow rules governing their engagement to ensure transparency for audiences and independence of experts.