Nicole Sherard-Freeman

Executive Director, Workforce Development & Detroit at Work

City of Detroit


Responsible for leading the strategy and teams of the City’s largest staffing agency, Detroit at Work. Reporting to Mayor Duggan, and a 37-member board of directors appointed by Mayor Mike Duggan, responsible for $67MM+ budget supported by public, philanthropic, and employer investments. Fundraising, strategy, and operations for Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT), providing meaningful summer youth employment for 8000+ youth. Widely cited by the University of Michigan Youth Policy Lab, other UM Research teams, and large philanthropic investment partners as one of the most successful SYEPs in the US.

Nicole brings 25+ years combined experience across corporate, non-profit, and government sectors. Proven ability to lead complex, cross-sector operations, develop successful public-private partnerships, attract and retain top-level talent, and oversee multi-million dollar budgets. Direct experience and insights from public-private partnerships with grassroots community-based organizations, philanthropic investors, employer partners, and government partners, Nicole’s unique skill set integrates research, application, and continuous improvement strategies. Adept at translating research into strategy and solutions for low-income, resource-strapped communities. Deep interest in the real and potential impact of AI on communities of color, and in ways to mitigate the short and long-term impact of poverty.

As the former Director for Corporation for a Skilled Workforce’s Detroit Portfolio, anchored by a JPMorgan Chase New Skills at Work investment in Detroit, Nicole was a lead researcher and co-author of two significant reports about Detroit’s talent pool and job market: Detroit’s Untapped Talent – Jobs and On-ramps Needed; and, Detroit’s Untapped Talent – Pathways and Partnerships for Success. Nicole’s corporate background includes progressive levels of leadership experience in Operations, Sales, and HR leadership for Fortune 500 companies.