Will Jawando was born and raised in Silver Spring, MD by a loving family and a supportive community — though it hasn’t always been easy. In high school, Will lost one of his best friends to a senseless act of gun violence, and it was through this tragedy that Will began his life long commitment to public service.
With hard work and discipline, Will earned scholarships to attend college and law school. He began his career in public service working with progressive champions like Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, then-Senator Barack Obama and Senator Sherrod Brown. Will then moved on to work in the Obama White House and the U.S. Department of Education — where he fought to ensure that every child, regardless of background, has access to a quality education.
Will is committed to fighting for working people and promoting dynamic policies that achieve inclusive prosperity. He is also dedicated to protecting progressive values like ensuring fair wages, equal pay for women, and protecting civil rights for all people.
It is those values that have guided him from the halls of Congress and the White House, through church and civic organizations, and most importantly, at home as a family man.
Fighting For Progress
His mother’s belief that education is the gateway for greater opportunity led Will to a college scholarship at nearby Catholic University, where he excelled on the basketball court, established the university’s first NAACP chapter, and earned his law degree.
As a lawyer, Will began the fighting for change on Capitol Hill, where he served on the legislative staffs of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama, and current U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, each champions for the middle class and all those working their way into the middle class.
Will worked with university presidents to make college more affordable and accessible. He worked with community and business leaders to help equip local workers with the skills to meet the needs of local economies. And he worked with advocates, civil rights leaders, and law enforcement officials to ensure equal pay for equal work, protect the right to vote, and make the criminal justice system more fair and just.
Will then took the fight to the Obama Administration, where he served as an advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to advance the Administration’s goal to provide every student in America greater opportunities from cradle to career. He also collaborated with the business community to garner support of critical investments in our future, from early childhood education to college readiness.
At the White House, Will served as an Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement, helping to lead the Administration’s efforts to strengthen local communities by working with national, state and local advocacy groups. He coordinated with local leaders to improve our schools, empower low-income families and workers, and support First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative to eradicate childhood obesity.
Following his service in the Obama Administration, Will returned to his Maryland community to develop public-private partnerships at Discovery Communications, one of the largest employers in Silver Spring. As Director of Corporate and Government Affairs at Discovery Communications, Will has worked to bridge digital divides in our communities and enabled more young people to study science, technology, engineering, and math—gateways to good paying jobs and critical to our country’s future economic competitiveness.
Will and his wife Michele, who serves as Vice President for Legal Progress at the Center for American Progress, are proud to be raising their daughters, Alia, Addison and Ava in the community Will was raised in, Silver Spring, MD.