Deeneaus “D” Polk, MPP

Deeneaus “D” Polk is focused on building a new type of transatlantic partnership, one increasingly led by the US South. His focus is on German foreign direct investments in Southern communities, his experience of being a BIPOC in Berlin, and all the things that bring us together. He is the founder of 3LEVATE, which aims to bridge skills gaps, forge career pathways, and make the US workforce more innovative and equitable for everyone—centering communities of color in the process. Polk recently completed a Bosch Fellowship in Berlin, Germany where he worked with the German equivalent of LinkedIn, New Work SE. While there, he focused on topics related to the German Future of Work, research on demographic change in Germany and its economic impact, and general workforce development issues and opportunities across Europe.

Polk graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School in May 2020. There, he was a Presidential Scholar and Adrian Cheng Fellow with the Social Innovation + Change Initiative. Prior to his graduate studies, he served as the Director of the Mississippi Apprenticeship Program (MAP), a registered apprenticeship initiative seeking to better link the private sector, K-K-16 education, and community partners. His time spent leading MAP was directly informed by his German Chancellor Fellowship in Bonn. His time learning about the German Vocational Education and Training System and the Mittelstand at the Federal Institute for Vocational Training shapes his work today. He is a proud graduate of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and the University of Mississippi, where he was a Fulbright and Jack Kent Cooke Scholar.