Jay Guben Philadelphia, PA
Jay Guben began his career at Temple University’s Center for Community Studies where he first became involved in urban issues. He then moved to Cincinnati where he helped write its Model Cities plan. After the plan was approved and funded, he returned to Philadelphia to become part of the city’s restaurant renaissance. During the 70’s and 80’s he helped start and run over ten restaurants. In 1974 he founded and served as the first director of the Restaurant School, designed for culinary professionals and future restaurant owners – a unique model that has since spawned similar schools in the U.S. In 1980s he also became involved in efforts by organized labor to save jobs in a shrinking economy. He was hired to devise a business restructuring and retraining plan for retail clerks that resulted in the retention and hiring of over 1500 unionized grocery store workers. Later in the late 80’s he returned to school to complete his Ph.D. and further his interest in discovering promising education models for the future. In the 90’s he founded the Freire Charter School, one of Philadelphia’s first generation public charter schools. More recently he created the I-LEAD Charter School in Reading, Pennsylvania, which opened in September 2011 with a mission of helping youth disconnected from school to re-engage with their education and transition successfully into adulthood.