Janine Jelks-Seale

Janine Jelks-Seale is supporting the Department of Human Services in Allegheny County by developing systems to improve recruitment, training, and retention of talent in the child welfare sector. Trained as an engineer, Janine adapts her consumer research, product design, and innovation skills from the consumer packaged goods industry to human services.



  • Child welfare workforce

Skill sets:

  • Consumer research
  • Human capital and workforce development
  • Engineering and design

Host Agency:

  • Allegheny County DHS

As a Foster America Fellow, Janine has returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh to support Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services by improving the quality of the child welfare workforce, reducing worker turnover, streamlining the hiring process, and improving the evaluation and promotion structure of the system.

Janine attended the University of Delaware and earned a degree in chemical engineering. After graduating, Janine joined the consumer products industry as a Research and Design Engineer for General Mills. In this role, Janine managed teams of engineers, collaborated with other departments across the company, developed new products and tested her products with consumers and focus groups. One of Janine’s first assignments was to develop a reduced sodium soup formula for Progresso Soup; later, Janine led research and design productivity efforts for the Chex Mix, Bugles, and Gardetto’s brands. Janine also spearheaded organizational effectiveness initiatives and contributed to company-wide initiatives to cultivate workplace diversity.

Janine earned her Masters in Public Policy and Management as an Economic Development Fellow from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University.  She has also served in economic development research roles with the Office of Mayor William Peduto, City of Pittsburgh and Fourth Economy Consulting.