June 30, 1950 |
New York, NY
|Residence||Oakland, CA, Napa, CA|
|Alma mater||M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
B.A., Queens College
|Occupation||career coach, author, columnist, radio host|
Martin Nathan Nemko (born June 30, 1950) is an American career coach, author, columnist, and radio host specializing in career/workplace issues and higher education reform. Dr. Nemko wrote The Big Idea column in The Washington Post  and the Working it Out column in The Atlantic. He has written over 1,000 published articles including six years of columns in the San Francisco Chronicle. He is a regular contributor to AOL.com, PsychologyToday.com, and, until early 2014, at USNews.com, where as Contributing Editor, he created and directed its annual Best Careers rankings. He has written seven books including Cool Careers for Dummies (3 editions), How to Do Life: What they didn't teach you in school  and What's the Big Idea? 39 Disruptive Proposals for a Better Society.  The San Francisco Bay Guardian named Nemko "The Bay Area's Best Career Coach." U.S. News described him as "job coach extraordinaire." In its summit on education, ABC-TV called him "The Ralph Nader of Education." He was selected by Toastmasters International as the non-member Northern California Speaker of the Year.
Marty Nemko was born in the Bronx, NY on June 30, 1950. He is the son of Boris and Seva Nemko, Holocaust survivors. Boris was a factory worker in Harlem and then ran a 200 square-foot clothing store at 105 Moore St., Brooklyn, NY.
Despite his parents being able to speak almost no English, Nemko was reading on the 12th grade level in the first grade. He attended New York City public schools K-12 but had little interest in academics. He played the first of many gigs as a professional pianist at age 12 at an Air Force base, the second, at age 13, at a Bronx bar. Nemko's high school record was undistinguished, earning a B+ average, but he was elected Class Musician.
He attended Queens College (NY), where he again did not distinguish himself (3.3 GPA, psychology major) but did play varsity baseball, wrote for the student newspaper, played piano gigs on weekends, and drove a New York City taxi on weeknights.
While driving the cab, he met Neal Miller, who hired him as a research assistant at the Rockefeller University on the first research to prove biofeedback worked. But just months later, moved by the civil rights movement, Nemko quit to become a drug counselor in I.S. 61 in Corona, Queens, where he met his wife, Barbara Nemko, a reading teacher there and now Napa County Superintendent of Schools and member of the California State Schools Superintendent's cabinet.
Nemko felt he failed to help his students and, in an attempt to improve his skills, quit and enrolled in an educational psychology Ph.D. program at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1980, his dissertation nominated for Berkeley dissertation of the year, he completed his Ph.D., specializing in evaluation of innovation, under Michael Scriven.
As career/workplace expert
In 1986, Nemko began as a career counselor, trained in part by Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute. Nemko has since worked with more than 4,000 clients and enjoys a 96% client-satisfaction rate. He is in his 26th year as the regular career and education expert on KGO (AM) radio's Ronn Owens Program, one of the most listened-to shows on the West Coast. He hosted his own show on KGO for two years. He is in his 25th year as host of Work with Marty Nemko on KALW, a National Public Radio station in San Francisco. As a guest, he has appeared on ABC's 20-20, Oprah and Friends, and multiple times on The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, NPR's Talk of the Nation, CNN, etc. He was the one-man in a one-man PBS Pledge Drive Special, Eight Keys to a Better Worklife. He has been the primary source for dozens of features in such publications as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He also wrote The Big Idea column for WashingtonPost.com and the Working it Out column for TheAtlantic.com. He is a regular contributor to AOL.com and PsychologyToday.com.
His book, Cool Careers for Dummies (Wiley), published in three editions, was the #1-rated career guide in a Readers Choice poll and reached #2 on the Wall Street Journal national business bestseller list.
As education expert
While in graduate school, Nemko was a school psychologist for the Tiburon/Belvedere, CA public schools. After completing his Ph.D., he returned to inner-city teaching in Richmond, CA and held faculty (visiting lecturer) positions in the graduate schools of California State University, East Bay, the University of California, Davis, and the University of California, Berkeley.
His first book, How to Get Your Child a Private School Education in a Public School was published by Ten Speed Press, now a Random House imprint. The American School Board Association named it one of the year's Ten Must Books. An excerpt was the cover story of the back-to-school issue of Family Circle.
Nemko's next book, How to Get an Ivy League Education at a State University containing comprehensive profiles of 150 public institutions, was published by Avon. In a comparison with eight other subjective college guides in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, Nemko's was the only one to receive an A rating. His book, The All-in-One College Guide: How to choose, get into, find the money for, and make the most of college was published by Barron's.
He was the senior author of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges procedures for accreditation and program review. He has been a consultant to 15 college presidents and given eight invited presentations such as "America's Most Overrated Product: Higher Education" at the Commonwealth Club, a nationally prominent public affairs forum. He was on the Core Committee (Board of Directors) of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education, the national organization that focuses on improving the quality of teaching in college.
His article, Higher Education: America's Most Overrated Product, published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, was among the earliest in the recent spate of articles and books calling for higher education reform. After its publication, the Chronicle hired Nemko as Guest Blogger. In 2011 and 2012, Nemko wrote features for WashingtonPost.com and TheAtlantic.com calling for government to require colleges to prominently post consumer information in what he calls The College Report Card. Nemko served on the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Task Force on Improving Higher Education Accountability and Transparency.
He appears frequently on major media as an expert on higher education. For example, recently his article advocating more higher education accountability appeared in the Insight section of the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle, and he appeared on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show.
Nemko is on the Commission to Create a White House Council on Men and Boys.
Nemko won awards as Best Director, Best Production, and the Roar of the Crowd award (Bay Area audience favorite) for his Bay Area Chanticleers Theatre production of Same Time, Next Year and Best Director and Best Production for Broadway Bound. He co-wrote, directed, and was piano accompanist in three one-woman shows, including in 2014, "Retard!" starring Jeffrie Givens.
- San Francisco Bay Guardian, Aug. 11, 2004, p 1.
- U.S. News, Dec. 11, 2006, p. 8.
- Critique of Offline Gurus: http://www.programcritique.com/subcategories/offlinegurus/MartyNemko.html