Josh Carpenter, Ph.D., serves as the Director of Economic Development for the City of Birmingham. He leads a team focused on executing a vision of making Birmingham a hub of qualified and diverse talent and a premier destination for small businesses, startups, and businesses looking to expand, propelling shared prosperity through innovation and inclusive growth.
Previously, Josh served as the Director of External Affairs in the Office of the President at UAB where he worked on strategic projects in a portfolio of issues in community engagement and economic development. In 2016, Josh spearheaded a partnership between 15 partners and 30 employer sponsors to secure $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, and he led a team to train 925 disconnected youth for high-demand, high-wage IT jobs in Birmingham. The program, Innovate Birmingham Workforce, had an 85% graduation rate in the first cohort, and of those who completed, 100% earned a high quality credential and nearly 80% obtained high-wage jobs.
A Rhodes Scholar, Josh earned his M.Sc. in Comparative Social Policy and a D.Phil. in Politics at the University of Oxford where his dissertation explored the intersections of the political participation and healthcare access. Josh was named a young Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, and he is currently a member of the Aspen Institute’s Inclusive Innovation in American Cities Collaborative. Josh teaches in the UAB Collat School of Business and researches how job attainment alters notions of efficacy.
In 2011, Josh served as a White House intern and was a Teach for America corps member in Alabama’s inaugural corps. He taught English, coached football and baseball and started the theater program in Perry County, Alabama, where in 2012, he was named the state’s “Teacher of the Year.”