Deeneaus “D” Polk is an MPP candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to HKS, Deeneaus served as the Director of the Mississippi Apprenticeship Program (MAP), where he worked to expand the amount and type of Registered Apprenticeship Programs in the state. MAP is a collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor and Mississippi Community College Board and since being founded in 2017 has created more than 1000 Apprenticeships and worked with 100+ Mississippi companies in exploring apprenticeship. This role was directly connected to research he undertook as a German Chancellor Fellow, where he explored the German vocational education training system and found best practices that fit within the Mississippi context. Deeneaus has also served as a Policy Analyst with the Mississippi Economic Policy Center, where he concentrated on education and workforce development. As a Cheng Fellow, D will focus on working with business and industry to bridge the skills gap and illuminate viable education pathways for marginalized communities. He hopes to use earn-and-learn opportunities to empower communities and develop economies. D is a proud Mississippi Gulf Coast native, and graduate of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and the University of Mississippi.