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Audrey Cohen

Audrey Cohen founded both a college and an organization to create paraprofessional jobs based on her belief that learning is a lifelong activity and that students learn best when they can apply their knowledge in the world. Cohen did postgraduate work at George Washington University and Harvard before creating Part Time Research Associates, a social science think tank that employed only women, in 1958. In 1964 she founded the Women’s Talent Corps, creating paralegal, educational assistant and other service jobs and combining classes with on-the-job training. The Talent Corps especially focused its services on women who were low-income or on public assistance. In 1969 she developed what would become Audrey Cohen College, offering degrees in business, administration, and paraprofessional work, based on the idea that education should be a lifelong continuum with practical applications in the world at each stage. By 1983 she was adapting her “purpose-centered” education methods to elementary and secondary schools. She won numerous awards for her innovative work in education during her lifetime, but did not live to see the publication of her book on education, To Build a Better World.

Date of Birth
May 14, 1931
Place of Birth
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Date of Death
March 10, 1996

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Audrey Cohen." (Viewed on January 22, 2018) <>.


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