2023 MEDA SUMMER CONFERENCE
“ WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT“
July 26, 2023
9:00 am – 12:15 pm
Workforce development is an essential aspect of economic development. Businesses can’t thrive, grow, and succeed without a trained, skilled, and educated workforce to employ. There are so many innovative ideas and programs being created and implemented in the workforce development sphere; our 2022 MEDA Summer Conference is about bringing together an engaging group of experts and professionals to share and discuss what’s new, what’s happening, and what’s next in workforce development.
Here are just a few of the topics our panelists and keynote speaker will discuss:
micro-credentialing and other “new” initiatives that help with a career path
strategies for talent recruitment and retention
how “paper ceiling” degree requirements hurt upward mobility for employees, and impact employers’ diversity efforts and business growth how apprenticeship, upscaling, and rescaling efforts can keep a business relevant
how to leverage your current workforce development infrastructure to maximize economic impact
how industry is adapting and evaluating their recruitment requirements
Speakers and panelists will discuss and share, and be available for Q&As.
Click here to view the Agenda.
Click here to view the minutes from the April Business Meeting.
** Register Below **
Opening Remarks: James E. Rzepkowski, Assistant Secretary, Division of Workforce Development & Adult Learning, Maryland Department of Labor
Panel 1: “Future of Workforce Development: Building Local Workforce Development Systems that Produce Talent & Meet the Needs of Businesses”
Moderator: Amanda Wagner, Chief Operating Officer, Employ Prince George’s
Chris Guidry, Vice President, Council for Adult & Experiential Learning (CAEL)
Manoach (Manny) Lamarre, ETA, United States Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration
Dr. Christopher Laney, EdD, CWDP, Senior Workforce Strategist, Lightcast
Maryland has 13 different local workforce development areas, with 13 different local workforce development boards, over 30 different job centers, and thousands of staff operating them, but each of Maryland’s local workforce development areas have a common group of core partners and elements that can help drive the success of local economies. This panel of local and national experts will examine the current state of local workforce systems, the future of Maryland and America’s workforce systems, and how economic development organizations can leverage their local workforce systems to maximize economic outcomes in their local economy.
Panel 2: “Advancing Workforce Preparation: Adaptive Strategies and Solutions to Current Skills Shortages”
Moderator: Ellen Flowers-Fields, Associate Vice President for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, College of Southern Maryland
Nicholas D’Antonio, Workforce Development Strategist, Lockheed Martin
Becky Klein-Collins, Vice President of Impact, Council for Adult & Experiential Learning (CAEL)
Tim Tatsui, Vice President for workforce development career & technical education, National Education Foundation
Kelly Koermer, Vice President of Continuing Education & Training, Carroll Community College
Panelists will engage in an interactive discussion on effective strategies that are accelerating credential completion. Learn how the blueprints for Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), stackable credentialing, micro-credentialing, and digital badging supports this.
Bridgette Gray, Chief Customer Officer, Opportunity@Work
Bridgette will be speaking on
“STARs: The Strategy to Find The Skilled and Diverse Talent You Need in Today’s Workforce”
Employers today say there’s a talent shortage – but what if they’re just not looking in the right place? There are more than 70+ million workers Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs), rather than through a bachelor’s degree, who are being overlooked today. Nearly half of these STARs have the skills to thrive in in-demand roles, but they’re overlooked and held back by the paper ceiling – the invisible barrier that comes at every turn for workers without a bachelor’s degree – and it’s hurting their upward mobility and employers’ diversity efforts. Learn about the size, demographics, and skills of the STARs talent pool, ways to find them, and how your organization can start supporting STARs.
Bridgette Gray is a strategist, operator, and organization builder. She exemplifies leading-edge best practices in inclusive talent development and onramps to opportunity, and currently leads the Customer Success & Delivery team as Opportunity@Work scales the hiring of workers who are Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs) nationwide.
Gray joins Opportunity@Work after seven-and-a-half years at Per Scholas, where she was their first Chief Impact Officer, responsible for managing all training operations, and organizational impact for Per Scholas’ 17 campuses. Bridgette joined Per Scholas in 2014 as the startup Managing Director for the National Capital Region where she was instrumental in leading Per Scholas’ cybersecurity training efforts, including a regional cybersecurity task force, which led to sizable investments from Symantec and Capital One. In 2015, Bridgette joined the Executive Leadership team as the Executive Vice President of national program operations, managing all training locations.
In 2019, Bridgette became the Chief Impact Officer responsible for managing org-wide training operations & delivery, impact, and strategic programmatic growth. Under Bridgette’s leadership, Per Scholas expanded its gold-standard evidenced-based model from five to 17 campuses, from 800 to 3,000 learners trained with a strategic plan to expand to 25 campuses and 10,000 learners trained by 2025; and built a national team to support the growing campuses. Additionally, and in response to COVID-19, under Bridgette’s leadership, Per Scholas expanded its traditional training model to not only in-person but also remote offerings.
Prior to Per Scholas, Bridgette held several senior and executive leadership roles at Year Up, the Points of Light Foundation, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Bridgette has spent the last 20+ years helping diverse talent access and benefit from training and employment opportunities, and helping businesses to acquire this talent, and influencing DEI as central to their bottom line.
Bridgette can often be found adding her thought partnership and leadership to collective impact work with the Markle Foundation’s Rework America Alliance, JFF’s Thrive @Work Innovation Council, Racial Equity Learning Community @PolicyLink, America Forward WFD & Economic Justice Task Force, as a LEAP Ambassador, and as a Founding Member of Chief DC. Bridgette served on the Montgomery County Maryland Workforce Board from (2014-2019).
Ellen Flowers-Fields serves as Associate Vice President for Continuing Education and
Workforce Development at the College of Southern Maryland. She is responsible for the
oversight of all areas of the non-credit economic and community development programming in
Southern Maryland, including the Center for Trades and Energy Training, MCET, the Workforce
Center, the SBDC, the Non-Profit Institute, the Transportation Center and adult basic education
at all CSM campuses.
Ellen has over 25 years of progressive professional experience in the field of workforce
development and human capital management. Her diverse background includes the acquisition,
project management and implementation of various federal, state and local programs that
address community economic development needs. Throughout her career she has acquired
and managed nearly $100 million dollars in support of various economic and community
development initiatives. Funding acquisition from USDOL, USDA, US Dept of Commerce,
Veterans Administration, Federal Highway Administration, and numerous state and local
agencies, in NY, GA and MD.
Prior to serving in her current role, Ellen served Regional Director of the Small Business
Development Center at CSM. Ellen served as Acting Assistant Secretary, and Deputy Assistant
Secretary of the Division of Workforce Development & Adult Learning at the Maryland
Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation from 2011 – 2014; Regional Director of Economic
Development at the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland from 2006 – 2011; and Executive
Director for Southern Maryland Works from 2000 – 2006. In this role, Ellen led the efforts to
establish the region’s first One Stop workforce service delivery system and Workforce
Investment Board under the Federal Workforce Investment Act.
Ellen holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from Pace University in New York;
Certification from the International Business Innovation Association in Business Incubation
Management; and is credentialed as a Global Career Development Facilitator from the Center
for Credentialing and Education. She is a 2009 graduate of the inaugural Class of Leadership
Southern Maryland, an entrepreneur, and a self-published author.
Affiliations include Executive Board member Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland;
Member of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals and the Maryland
Economic Development Association; Past Board Member Maryland Broadband Coordination
Board; Past board chair, Bethel House Inc.; Immediate past Board chair, Community
Foundation of Southern Maryland; Alumni of the Inaugural class of Leadership Southern
Recognitions include recipient of 2017 Excellence Award from the National League for
Innovation in Community Colleges; 2018 recipient of CEO award from the Southern Maryland
Minority Chamber of Commerce; Calvert County Commissioner’s Business owner appreciation
recognition 2008 & 2014; Recipient of 2008 Woman of the Year award from Calvert County
Concerned Black Women; Recipient of 2005 Charles County Minority Business of the Year;
Nominations for the 2006 Leadership Maryland class and 2006 Maryland’s Top 100 Women.
Becky Klein-Collins is the vice president for research and impact at the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). In this role, she directs CAEL’s research agenda, oversees research initiatives, develops strategic partnerships, and advocates for policies and strategies to support the adult learner. Becky’s work has focused on prior learning assessment, competency-based education, career pathways leading to economic mobility, public policy change, and system-transforming practices in workforce development. In 2018, she published Never Too Late: The Adult Student’s Guide to College (2018). Becky has a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College and master’s degrees from Indiana University and the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.
Dr. Tim Tatsui
Dr. Tim Tatsui is Vice President of Workforce Development, CTE and Higher Education at the National Education Foundation. Tim is a lifelong educator and began his career in education as a classroom teacher and Teach for America corps member in the Compton Unified School District. He served in Compton, CA as a classroom educator and district trainer and curriculum coach, and he advised teacher candidates and directed clinical practicum graduate studies at California State University, Dominguez Hills, Pepperdine University and Loyola Marymount University. Tim moved to the Los Angeles Unified School District where he advised and managed policy and program development and impact evaluation in the Offices of the Executive Officer and Chief Instructional Officer.
In 2007, Tim joined Pearson and led consulting and implementation services with K12 District and State partnerships and Higher Education enterprise accounts in North America. He held a number of executive roles at Pearson, launching and leading evaluation and research teams in the US and Canada and founding and heading the company’s Learning Analytics Business as Vice President of Data and Analytics at Pearson North America.
Tim is a Board Member at the UCLA School of Education and is an advisory Board Member at Jazz Hands for Autism and Edily Learning. Tim earned a B.A. from Baylor University, teaching credentials from California State University, Los Angeles, a Doctor of Education at UCLA, and an M.B.A. from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. Tim enjoys reading, spending time with his family, and training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Nicholas (Nick) D’Antonio currently serves as a Senior Workforce Development Strategist at Lockheed Martin managing the corporation’s relationships with community and technical colleges. In his capacity, Nick also manages federal and state training incentives that support the company’s workforce and training needs. Previously, Nick held roles at Amazon, Koch Industries, the United States Department of Labor, and the National Association of Manufacturers. Nick is a Talent of Tomorrow Fellow with Jobs For the Future, he serves on the advisory committee for Northern Virginia Community College’s Engineering Technology Division, and is the Co-Chair of the Lockheed Martin Enterprise Operations PRIDE resource group. Nick is also a member of the Burlington County New Jersey Workforce Investment Board.
Nick is a graduate of Washington State University’s Carson College of Business (Master of Business Administration) and of American University (Bachelor in Business Administration). He is now pursuing his doctorate from North Carolina State University in Community College Leadership and Administration. Nick lives in Asheville, North Carolina with his partner (Emily) and two cats (Wonk and Buna).
U.S. DOL, Employment and Training Administration (ETA)
Manny’s career has been focused on the intersection of workforce development and education policy,
practice, and research that leads to economic mobility for youth and adults across several states. His
background includes developing and managing career pathway strategies and policies, registered
apprenticeships, public and private sector engagement, postsecondary pathways, federal and state
workforce policies such as WIOA and Perkins.
Manny’s direct experience designing and implementing workforce policies at the state level informs his
approach. He is the former founding Executive Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Workforce
Innovation and served as the Governor’s Designee on the Governor’s Workforce Development Board
guiding the Board’s strategy and WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) implementation. In
addition, he led the implementation of the state’s workforce vision and key policies from 2016-2019
while building a new state agency and overseeing the state’s Registered Apprenticeship system. Before
joining ETA, Manny led and supported research and technical assistance projects on workforce and
economic mobility at WestEd, a national nonpartisan research organization. Earlier in his career, Manny
was a classroom teacher and associate at a community foundation working in several states.
Manny holds a B.A. in Political Science with honors from Wittenberg University, and a Master’s in
Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he was the
recipient of the Class Marshal Award for leadership and service to the Harvard community. He has
authored several workforce reports and presented both nationally and internationally.
James E. Rzepkowski is the Assistant Secretary for the Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning at the Maryland Department of Labor. Within the Division are five Offices that implement the mission of the Division: Workforce Development, Adult Education & Literacy Services, Correctional Education, Fiscal Administration, and Workforce Information & Performance. From January 2019 to August 2019, he served as Acting Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor.
Prior to his appointment by the Hogan-Rutherford Administration in February 2015, he served 8 years as the Corporate Director of Workforce Development at Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, LLC (CENG), headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. He developed and implemented the company’s mission critical workforce development initiative leveraging strategic partnerships with educational institutions in multiple states to provide a pipeline of skilled and qualified workers to meet the growing needs of the energy industry. Mr. Rzepkowski represented CENG on numerous national industry association boards focused on adult learning and technical training as well as state and local workforce development organizations.
Concurrent to his employment at CENG, Mr. Rzepkowski was appointed to the Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals in January 2007 to a four-year term by unanimous vote of the Anne Arundel County Council. The quasi-judicial Board that renders final decisions on appeals related to zoning, variances, licenses, permits, personnel, and executive, administrative, and judicatory orders in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
Prior to joining CENG in February of 2007, he served 12 years in Maryland State Government in both Executive and Legislative capacities – three years as an Assistant Secretary within Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development and nine years as an elected member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing the 32nd Legislative District in Anne Arundel County.
He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and Politics, with Phi Beta Kappa Honors, from the University of Maryland – College Park.
Amanda Wagner is the Chief Operating Officer at Employ Prince George’s. In her current role Amanda
leads the internal operations of the $18 million nonprofit and serves as the organizations principal staff
member tasked with overseeing the Administrative Agent duties for the Prince George’s County
Workforce Development Board. Prior to becoming the Chief Operating Officer at Employ Prince
George’s, Amanda served as the Director, Strategic Planning & Development, leading the organization in
pursuing millions of dollars in workforce development funding to support the delivery of workforce
development services to job seekers and businesses.
Amanda is a decorated workforce development professional with certifications as a Global Career
Development Facilitator, Certified Workforce Development Professional, and a Certified Business
Services Consultant. Prior to joining Employ Prince George’s Amanda worked for two national workforce
development organizations, Henkels & McCoy and Eckerd Connects, leading teams across the United
States as One Stop Operators, WIOA Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker and Youth Career Service
Amanda has been a member of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals for
over a decade. Along with a decorated history in the Workforce Development Industry, Amanda holds a
Master of Science (M.S.) focused on Youth Development from Clemson University and Bachelor of Arts
(B.A.) in Communications from Southern New Hampshire University. When not building the America’s
workforce, Amanda enjoys being a wife, mother to her two children, volunteer in the Charleston Area,
being a triathlete, competing in marathons and triathlons across the United States.
Amanda is a decorated workforce development professional with certifications as a Global Career Development Facilitator, Certified Workforce Development Professional and a Certified Business Services Consultant. Prior to joining Employ Prince George’s Amanda worked for two national workforce development organizations, Henkels & McCoy and Eckerd Connects, leading teams across the United States as One Stop Operators, WIOA Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker and Youth Career Service providers. Amanda has been a member of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals for over a decade.