Frieda Molina Named Director of MDRC’s Economic Mobility, Housing, and Communities Policy Area


Frieda Molina has been named the Director of MDRC’s Economic Mobility, Housing, and Communities (EMHC) Policy Area. Molina is a national expert in the design and implementation of sectoral training programs and other employment-focused interventions aimed at building economic opportunity.

Molina came to MDRC in 1997 after working for a national economic development intermediary where she provided technical assistance to community-based organizations focused on workforce development strategies. During her years at MDRC, Molina has been a leader in developing our operations and technical assistance capacities and has managed several major demonstrations, including the Work Advancement and Support Center Demonstration and WorkAdvance. She became Deputy Director of EMHC in 2009, and, in 2018, she co-founded MDRC’s Center for Effective Career and Technical Education with Rachel Rosen.

Molina succeeds James Riccio, who has directed the policy area since 2004. In his new role as Principal Research Fellow, Riccio will spearhead MDRC’s efforts to develop new portfolios of actionable evidence in economic mobility, housing, and related areas—a particular passion of his during his 40-year career at MDRC. He will also continue as principal investigator on several economic mobility studies.

“I am thrilled that Frieda Molina will be leading MDRC’s important body of research and technical assistance to inform new approaches to economic mobility, housing, and communities,” said MDRC President Virginia Knox. “This is a critical time for public agencies and local organizations to apply evidence to build economic opportunity, particularly for Americans with low incomes and in communities that have been historically marginalized. Frieda has spent decades in these fields, building the evidence base that decision-makers turn to in both national policy discussions and on-the-ground implementation.”