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Molly M. Scott
Principal Research Associate
Director, Retail Opportunity Network
Income and Benefits Policy Center
Earlier in my career, I did a lot of community work and met countless people who worked hard, took out debt to go to school, and still could barely keep their heads above water. It shouldn't be that way. That's why I work on how we can make jobs better and ensure education and training pays off.

Molly M. Scott is a principal research associate at the Urban Institute. Her work centers around the labor market dynamics, policies, and business practices that shape access to opportunity and return on investment in education for workers. Scott directs the facilitation team for the Retail Opportunity Network, a community of practice working to boost economic mobility for retail workers. She also leads a Gates Foundation learning partnership with institutions working to improve job quality at scale among small and medium-sized businesses. In addition, Scott served on an expert panel assisting the US Department of Commerce in defining and operationalizing job quality. Her expertise includes business engagement, advancement practices for frontline workers, levers for providing businesses incentives to improve job quality, labor market and job analysis, and credential return on investment. 

Scott holds a bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Los Angeles, and was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Chile.

Research Areas
Economic mobility and inequality
Nonprofits and philanthropy
Neighborhoods, cities, and metros
Social safety net
Race and equity
Neighborhoods and youth development
Beyond high school: education and training
Evidence-based policy capacity
Community and economic development
Immigrant communities and racial equity
Families with low incomes
Racial barriers to accessing the safety net
Racial equity in education
Racial inequities in neighborhoods and community development
Federal evaluation forum
Job markets and labor force
Job quality and workplace standards
Employer engagement
Postsecondary education and training