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Wan-Lae Cochran

Supports public, private, and social sector organizations in designing and executing strategies that will help advance inclusive growth

Wan-Lae is a partner in McKinsey’s Washington, D.C. office where she works on issues related to economic development and workforce development. She serves organizations across the public, private, and social sectors, including education institutions and companies, state and local government entities, nonprofits, and coalitions and has expertise in workforce development, education, education to employment issues, and economic development. Her focus is on designing and implementing strategies and initiatives that will help improve educational and employment outcomes.

Examples of Wan-Lae's recent client work include the following:

  • Working with State Department of Labor to modernize and digitize its reemployment services to better serve citizens
  • supporting a foundation to refine and scale a high school youth apprenticeship model in a major city, in partnership with large employers
  • partnering with a large economic development agency of a US state to design and launch a suite of programs to help drive post-COVID economic recovery
  • supporting the design of an employer-funded nonprofit to mitigate the pandemic’s economic impact on a state by helping citizens access training and find employment
  • developing a global strategy for a leading global education services provider
  • developing and launching a large public university’s strategy and portfolio of initiatives focused on preparing students for the Future of Work

Before re-joining McKinsey in 2017, Wan-Lae spent two years at a foundation designing and launching a set of tech-enabled efforts that would support adult learners and workers.

Published work

COVID-19 crisis pushes US students into an uncertain job market,” McKinsey & Company, July 2021

What 800 executives envision for the postpandemic workforce,” McKinsey Global Institute, September 2020

Reimagining the postpandemic economic future,” McKinsey & Company, August 2020

Lessons from the past on how to revive the US economy after COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

Coordinating workforce development across stakeholders: An interview with ManpowerGroup CEO Jonas Prising,” McKinsey & Company, October 2018

The AI factor in talent management: An interview with Catalyte’s Jacob Hsu and Mike Rosenbaum,” McKinsey & Company, September 2018

Adapting education to the demands of a rapidly changing economy: An interview with Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley,” McKinsey & Company, August 2018

Promoting cross-sector collaboration: An interview with Penny Pritzker,” McKinsey & Company, August 2018

Creating an effective workforce system for the new economy,” McKinsey & Company, July 2018

Past experience

Markle Foundation
Managing director, COO

Research and operations

International Rescue Committee
Employment specialist


Columbia University

University of Virginia
BA, foreign affairs