Barbara Baran works at the Kitty & Michael Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy, where At the Dukakis Center, she and Suzanne Teegarden were Co-Directors of Workforce Strategies Collaborative (WSC) and partners in a consultancy, Workforce Learning Strategies. Workforce Strategies Collaborative is dedicated to helping policy-makers, labor, community and business leaders develop strategies to ensure decent work and income for individuals and regions.
Just before coming to Northeastern, Barbara Baran served as Vice President for Workforce Development of the Corporation for Business, Work, and Learning (CBWL), a quasi-public corporation in Massachusetts that worked at the intersection of workforce and economic development. CBWL (and its predecessor organizations) was "widely recognized nationally, and even internationally, as a leader in the field of workforce development. As such, Baran participated in numerous state and national policy development teams."
Prior to coming to Massachusetts, Baran spent a decade at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1986, she received a Ph.D. in city and regional planning. During her tenure at Berkeley, Baran worked with the Berkeley Roundtable in the International Economy (BRIE). Her own research focused on white collar industries, such as insurance and banking. Baran also spent a decade working in advocacy and community-based organizations in San Francisco.
In the late 1970s several women associated with the New American Movement: Maureen Rafferty, Margie Rosnick, Anne Farrar, Margy Baran, Barbara Baran, Renee LaFarge, Jean Crossman published a pamphlet "Why the SFWU should become a socialist organization"