Director, Program Development & Senior Researcher
workforce policy, Older Workers, Dislocated Workers, long-term unemployment, Disability Employment, Higher Education/Community Colleges, Small Business
Maria Heidkamp is the Director of Program Development and a Senior Researcher at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. In 2022, she will be directing a pilot project for the New Jersey Department of Human Services to revitalize the state’s home health caregiver workforce. She participates in a range of stakeholder and strategic partner work groups relating to reskilling for the future of work, subsidized jobs, workforce innovations, and older workers. Ms. Heidkamp led the center’s effort to design and implement the New Start Career Network, which since 2015 has served over 6,000 long-term unemployed older job seekers using online tools, volunteer career coaches, employer engagement, and community partnerships. She served as Co-Chair for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Labor and Workforce Development Policy Transition Committee and as a subject-matter expert for the National Governors Association's Good Jobs for All Americans initiative under Montana Governor Steve Bullock. Forthcoming research briefs review the impact of displacement for older workers, climate change and the public workforce system, and whether the public workforce system needs a “clean slate” reset.
Before joining the Heldrich Center in 2006, Ms. Heidkamp worked overseas for the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Agency for International Development as the Director of the Labor Market Transition Project in Hungary, helping the Hungarian government develop policies and programs to respond to the mass layoffs caused by privatization and restructuring during the post-communism transition years. She received the First Order National Defense Award from the Hungarian Ministry of Defense for her work with the Hungarian Army as it was facing layoffs leading up to NATO accession.
She has worked as a Policy Analyst for the National Governors Association covering a range of workforce issues and served as Director of the Wisconsin Labor-Management Council. She has a Bachelor's degree in Government from Cornell University and a Master's degree from New York University, where her thesis topic was The Role of Public Libraries in Assisting Job Seekers During and Since the Great Recession.