2022 NASWA SUMMIT Speakers

Jamie Abbott

Jamie Abbott, Program Manager, SIDES, National Association of State Workforce Agencies

Jamie is the State Information Data Exchange System (SIDES) Operations Manager for NASWA. She began her tenure in Unemployment Insurance (UI) in 2009 as a Claims Specialist at the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL).She served Nebraskans in many ways, including adjudication, business process analysis, business analyst, program management, TRADE specialist, and SIDES coordinator. In 2016, Jamie joined the NASWA SIDES team as a Program Specialist. In her current position as Operations Manager, she oversees SIDES system development, implementations, and process improvements.

Lori Adams

Lori Adams, Veterans Policy Director/NLx Senior Advisor, National Association of State Workforce Agencies

Lori Adams is NASWA’s Veterans Policy Director and National Labor Exchange (NLx) Senior Advisor. Her duties include coordinating activities of the NASWA Veterans Affairs Committee, working with state veteran representatives as well as USDOL VETS, planning the agency’s annual Veterans’ conference, promoting awareness of the NLx, and managing NASWA’s partnerships with Hilton Honors and Grow with Google. She joined NASWA in 2015 after 26 years with Iowa Workforce Development, where she was a case manager, Regional Manager, Bureau Chief and Division Administrator/Workforce Services. As Division Administrator, she was responsible for program and service oversight at all of the state’s American Job Centers. Lori has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State University, and is a Certified Public Manager.

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Matilda Aidam

Matilda B. Aidam, State-Level Equal Opportunity Officer, California Employment Development Department

Matilda Aidam currently serves as the State-Level Equal Opportunity Officer at California’s Employment Development Department. As a key advisor and resource to management and executive leadership, Matilda regularly consults on equity, Equal Employment Opportunity, civil rights and workforce diversity laws, rules and best practices. As a longtime civil servant, she previously served as the chief policy advisor on the application and implementation of employment discrimination statutes for the State of California civil service system providing statewide leadership and technical assistance to state departments. With more than 20 years of civil rights, training, and mediation experience, Matilda has also held positions as the Director of Faculty Relations and Development and Director of Mediation Services at the University of California at Davis.

Lou Ansaldi

Lou Ansaldi, Technical Director, National Association of State Workforce Agencies

Courtney Arbour

Courtney Arbour, Director, Workforce Division, Texas Workforce Commission

Courtney Arbour is the Director of the Texas Workforce Commission’s Workforce Development Division where she oversees an integrated workforce development system that provides planning, oversight, policy guidance, technical assistance, and implementation of employment and training activities. With 500 million in funding administered directly or sub-granted, the activities are targeted to upskilling workers and supporting connections between workers and Texas employers. Local Workforce Development Boards, Workforce Solutions offices, Adult Education and Literacy providers, and Apprenticeship programs are primary partners in the work.

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Byron Archer, Labor Market Information Bureau Chief, Office of Workforce Development, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

Byron Archer currently serves as the Labor Market Information (LMI) Director in the Office of Workforce Development. Byron has worked for ODJFS for over 24 years and prior to joining LMI he served as Chief of the Contribution Section in the Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations. Byron holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia. He loves to travel and spend time with his son.

Robert Asaro-Angelo

Robert Asaro-Angelo, NASWA Board Chair 2021-2022 and Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Robert Asaro-Angelo was nominated by Governor Phil Murphy to serve as the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development in January 2018. As Commissioner, Asaro-Angelo is proud to oversee the state’s diverse services to New Jersey workers. Due in part to the innovation he has spearheaded in New Jersey, in February, 2021, Asaro-Angelo was chosen by his counterparts across the nation as the Board Chair of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) for the 2021-2022 association year. From 2010 – 2017, Asaro-Angelo served as Eastern Regional Representative for the U.S. Department of Labor under the Obama Administration, managing the department’s regional activities and coordinating federal initiatives on the regional, state, and local levels. Prior to his government service, Commissioner Asaro-Angelo worked for the Laborers International Union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union Local 1115 organizing and educating public employees, construction workers and nursing home employees about government and politics. Asaro-Angelo earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Boston University and a master’s in Public Policy from the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. A proud, life-long New Jerseyan, he lives in Middlesex County with his family.

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Hugh bailey

Hugh Bailey, Assistant Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Hugh Bailey is the Assistant Commissioner for Workforce Development in the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL) where he manages initiatives designed to connect businesses with highly skilled workers while creating a career pathway for all New Jerseyans. Some of the many programs Mr. Bailey oversees at NJDOL include apprenticeship, customized training and literacy, adult and youth employment grants, and work-based learning that engages employers.

Mr. Bailey has a long established history of public service in workforce development. As Chief Operating Officer for Philadelphia Works, head ministered more than $50 million in employment and training services. During his time at the ASHLIN Management Group, Mr. Bailey was charged with managing numerous federal and state grants. At the District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services, he managed five One-Stop Career Centers with an annual budget in excess of $20 million.

Mr. Bailey has also served at the Montgomery County Division of Workforce Services for Maryland’s Department of Economic Development; and as National Program Director for American Community Partnerships, his partnership-building skills resulted in hundreds of public housing residents being placed into building trades apprenticeships. Mr. Bailey holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Policy from North Carolina A&T State University.

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Dr. Sarah Bana

Dr. Sarah Bana, Assistant Professor, Chapman University

Dr. Sarah Bana is an assistant professor of management science at Chapman University's Argyros School of Business and Economics. Her research derives new, fine-grained labor market insights through advanced machine learning methods and novel sources of text data, like job postings and syllabi.

One recent project measures the value of various skills in the economy by developing a model to predict the salary of a job posting from its text. She previously worked with administrative data on paid family leave and state disability insurance, and survey data on displaced workers.

Dr. Bana’s research has been published in outlets such as the Journal of Econometrics, the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and Sloan Management Review, and featured by the BBC Business Daily. Her research has funded by the Russell Sage Foundation. She received her Ph.D. in economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, her master’s degree at Georgetown University, and her bachelor's degree at the University of California, Irvine. Her dissertation received Honorable Mention for the Upjohn Institute’s best Ph.D. dissertation on employment-related issues.

Before coming to Chapman, Dr. Bana was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. She is a Digital Fellow at the Stanford Digital Economy Lab.

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Hailey Barrus

Hailey Barrus, Communications Representative, Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget

Hailey Barrus is the communications representative for the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives within the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Hailey assists all areas of her bureau with packaging data into accessible and usable products that inform evidence-based decisions for her state. Prior to joining the State of Michigan four years ago, Hailey has experience working in advertising and higher-ed marketing and communications. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University.

Danté Bartolomeo

Danté Bartolomeo, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Labor

Danté Bartolomeo joined the Connecticut Department of Labor in January 2019 as a deputy commissioner and was appointed the interim commissioner in June 2021 by Governor Ned Lamont. Her nomination was confirmed by the Connecticut State Senate in March 2022.

Since joining the Department of Labor, Commissioner Bartolomeo has been integrally involved in programs and services throughout the agency. As the deputy commissioner, Bartolomeo worked to expand the agency’s approach to workforce policy to incorporate the Whole Family Approach, a progression of the Two Generations (2Gen) employment initiatives. When the global pandemic hit, Bartolomeo switched gears to oversee multiple pandemic programs that were vital to Connecticut residents who lost their jobs — including establishing the agency’s new Consumer Contact Center and transitioning the American Job Centers to providing virtual services to customers.

Under Bartolomeo’s leadership, the Department has continued pandemic recovery work with an added focus on labor force development in high-demand industries such as healthcare. The CT DOL Registered Apprenticeship program will bring 1,250 patient care technicians into the healthcare field over the next four years. These apprentices join thousands already in Registered Apprenticeships across 60 occupations. CT DOL also continues to coordinate other job matching events like the Veterans and Diversity Hiring Expo held in partnership with Connecticut’s soccer team, Hartford Athletic.

Prior to her service at the CT Department of Labor, Bartolomeo served two terms as the state senator for the 13th senatorial district representing Cheshire, Meriden, Middlefield, Middletown, and Rockfall. Her portfolio included children’s safety, access to healthcare, and education—primary school through career training. She also served on the Meriden City Council.

Bartolomeo, 53, is a proud lifelong resident of the state. Raised in Wallingford, she attended Colby College before settling in Meriden with her husband, Doug, and sons, Cameron and Riley, and their dog, Diego.

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Vladimir Bassis

Vladimir Bassis, Administrative Consultant, Community College MIS, Iowa Department of Education

Vladimir Bassis serves as an Administrative Consultant for Community College Management Information System (CC MIS) within the Iowa Department of Education. In this role, he works with community college data specialists, institutional researchers, and relevant subject matters specialists to ensure that all data exchange, archiving, maintenance, and further data processing projects are conducted in timely and ergonomic manner. Vladimir leads a team that is actively involved in a number of CC MIS-related research designs and research implementations, resulting in products reflecting a variety of community college-based educational and organizational processes. Such products include federally or locally mandated accountability reports (such as Perkins Act, Condition of Community Colleges, etc.); program quality improvement efforts; educational statistics; information for legislators; requests for research data, and other reports and data compilations.

Vladimir achieved his B.A. and M.A. in English in 1985 from Odessa State University (Ukraine) and M.P.A. from Iowa State University in 2005. He taught international culture in Iowa public schools, coordinated international exchanges in Iowa Recourse for International Services (IRIS, inc.), and has been working for the State of Iowa in the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education for the past 17 years.

Stephanie Beckhorn

Stephanie Beckhorn, Director, Employment & Training, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity

For the past two decades, Stephanie Beckhorn has played an important and growing role in Michigan’s workforce and economic development.

Beckhorn has been lending her talents to Michigan’s workforce development efforts since 2001 when she joined the Bureau of Workforce Transformation. In 2013, she went on to serve as Director of Workforce Policy and Strategic Planning for the Michigan Workforce Development Agency and in 2019, at the beginning of Governor Whitmer’s term, she served as the acting department director.

Today, as the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Director of the Office of Employment and Training, Beckhorn provides leadership and guidance for the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, Michigan Rehabilitation Services and Workforce Development.

She approaches projects in an inclusive manner and seeks solutions that are effective and replicable. Whatever challenges Michigan has faced, Beckhorn’s collaborative, data-driven approach has enabled Employment and Training to adjust swiftly to evolving economic demands.

Under her direction, Employment and Training administers key workforce programs and systems that equips both employers and workers with resources critical for their success, including vocational rehabilitation to support individuals with disabilities with gaining or retaining employment.

Beckhorn works directly with federal, state and local level partners to provide the connections, expertise and innovative solutions to drive continued business growth, build vibrant communities, and attract and retain key talent to fill Michigan’s vast pipeline of opportunities. This work is accomplished through federal and state programs focused on job preparedness, career-based education, worker training and employer assistance.

Beckhorn is a Certified Business Solutions Professional (CBSP) and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University.

Michelle Beebe

Michelle Beebe, Deputy Administrator, USDOL

Michelle Beebe serves as the deputy administrator of the Office of Unemployment Insurance in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. She joined the federal government in December 2019 as director of the Division of Legislation and assumed her current role in July 2022. Prior to her federal service, Michelle oversaw the Unemployment Insurance programs in Utah and then in Michigan –two states of very different sizes and methods of administration. In that role, she chaired the NASWA UI Committee 2017-2018.Michelle also served with the national UI Integrity Center, first as a member of the steering committee and then as a senior subject matter expert in coordinating state intensive services. Michelle earned a Bachelor of Science in philosophy and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Utah.

David Biglin

David Biglin, Director, Wage & Hour Division and Contract Compliance, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

David A. Biglin has been employed by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development for the past thirty-eight (38) years. He began his career as a Field Representative conducting inspections of employer time and payroll records for compliance with the Wage & Hour statutes. Mr. Biglin was a Wage Collection Referee for more than ten (10) years adjudicating wage disputes. He was also a Hearing and Review Officer for more than five (5) years in which he represented the Division at the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) regarding the debarment and/or revocation of contractors pursuant to the Prevailing Wage and Contractor Registration Acts, respectively. Mr. Biglin has been the Director of the Division since May of 2019 overseeing the day to day operations, as well as setting policy. He earned a B.A. degree in Business Management from DeSales University, Center Valley, PA.

Erin Blades

Erin Blades, RESEA Grant Manager, Washington State Employment Security Department

Erin is a Senior Policy Analyst and RESEA Grant Manager with the Washington State Employment Security Department, where she’s also served as a WorkSource (American Job Center) supervisor managing both RESEA and Wagner-Peyser service delivery. Prior to ESD, she was an employment counselor for a variety of federal and state employment and training programs. Erin has a BA from Washington State University.

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Andi Bridgmon, Director of Unemployment Insurance, Nebraska Department of Labor

Andi Bridgmon is the Director of Unemployment Insurance at the Nebraska Department of Labor(NDOL). Andi joined NDOL in 2016 as a Process Improvement Coordinator. She eventually moved on to represent the State as the Deputy Director of Process Improvement where she oversaw the implementation of over 100 statewide projects and earned her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. Andi returned to NDOL in March 2020 and has served in the Director of Unemployment Insurance role since July 2020.

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Robert Cage

Robert CageAssistant Commissioner, Office of Prices and Living Conditions, Bureau of Labor Statistics, USDOL

Rob Cage is currently the Assistant Commissioner for the Consumer Price Program in the Office of Prices and Living Conditions at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, where he has worked for 33 years. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Wake Forest University, a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Virginia, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Maryland School of Law. Despite being lured by the legal profession on multiple occasions, he has remained at BLS to continue his service as a public steward for the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a job he claims is more rewarding than any attorney job out there.

Chris Cannon

Chris Cannon, Chief Communications Officer, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Chris Cannon is the Chief Communications Officer for the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Cannon started working for the state of Tennessee in January 2016 after 20 years as a television news anchor and reporter.

Cannon began his television news career in Binghamton, New York. Over the next two decades he made stops at TV stations in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and Evansville, Indiana, before coming to NewsChannel 5 Nashville in 2004.

At the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development,Cannon oversees the agency’s external and internal communications. This includes media relations, video and podcast production, social media,multiple websites, graphic design, and paid outreach.

Kevin Carlson

Kevin Carlson, Chief of Staff and Chief Financial Officer, Division of Employment Security, North Carolina Department of Commerce

Kevin D. Carlson currently serves as the Chief of Staff and Chief Financial Officer for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Employment Security. He has worked for DES for 33 years, but who is counting?

Carlson has served NASWA as a member, Vice-Chair, and Chair of the Administration and Finance Committee and as the Region IV Director on the Board of Directors.

Prior to joining the Division of Employment Security, he worked in various accounting positions in the private sector. He worked for a manufacturer of water meters, Schlumberger Industries, and a commercial construction company, Blount Construction Group, both in Alabama.

Carlson is a graduate of Florida State University.

Liz Carver

Elizabeth Carver, Workforce Development Division Director, Utah Department of Workforce Services

Elizabeth Carver is the director over the workforce development division at the Department of Workforce Services for the State of Utah. She is the liaison for the Governor’s State Workforce Development Board. She has a master’s degree in Educational Psychology and has over twenty years of experience working with the Department of Workforce Services in a variety of positions. Liz has successfully implemented many technical and policy driven projects to help improve workforce programs across the State of Utah.

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Oriane Casale, Interim Director, LMI Office, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Oriane Casale is currently Interim Director of the Labor Market Information Office of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). She has a B.A. from the New School for Social Research in New York and an M.A. in public affairs from the University of Minnesota. She started in the LMI Office as the customer service analyst before the Office had an external website. She has held the Assistant Director role for about 15 years, overseeing BLS, WIG and state funded LMI programs and projects.

Ava Cates

Ava Cates, Secretary, Louisiana Workforce Commission

Ava Cates is Secretary of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. She was appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards in January 2016.

As Secretary, Cates is responsible for providing the strategic vision to enhance the growth of Louisiana’s economy and its workforce, by putting people to work in fulfilling, family-sustaining careers. The commission monitors employment, administers unemployment compensation and tax funds, provides training resources for employers and job-seekers, and oversees worker compensation benefits. The LWC also gathers and supplies information on the labor market and occupational sectors in Louisiana.

Cates has more than 20 years of leadership experience in public administration and is passionate about finding solutions that make Louisiana an outstanding place in which to live, work and grow a business. Her extensive background in Louisiana workforce development includes experience as a business liaison for the Louisiana Department of Education. In addition, she served as a board member of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System from 1998-2007.

Secretary Ava Cates received the Jobs for America’s Graduates National Network Leadership Award, which pays tribute to those who have demonstrated a high level of commitment and involvement in support of JAG Model Programs.

She has been spotlighted for her workforce leadership during the COVID-19 Pandemic; pushing Louisiana to be one of the first two states to provide unemployment relief benefits to the self-employed and gig workers.

Cates holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and government from Loyola University of New Orleans. A proud, life-long resident of Louisiana, she lives with her family in New Orleans.

Jim Chiolino

Jim Chiolino, Unemployment Insurance Division Administrator, State of Wisconsin, Department of Workforce Development, Unemployment Insurance Division

Jim Chiolino has worked for the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) since 1991, beginning his work as an Adjudicator in the Milwaukee local Unemployment Insurance office. He worked for about 25 years in the DWD's Equal Rights Division, and is a national expert on wage and hour law and fair employment practices. Mid-career, Jim took a three-year hiatus from state service and practiced employment law. Since December of 2021, Jim has worked as Administrator of DWD's Unemployment Insurance Division. He has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Dr. Andrew Clarkwest

Andrew Clarkwest, Principal Scientist, Abt Associates

Dr. Andrew Clarkwest is a Principal Scientist at Abt Associates. Since starting his career as an analyst at the Illinois Department of Employment Security he has held lead technical and management roles on studies of on a variety of labor programs and strategies including WPRS, WIA/WIOA, JVSG, registered apprenticeship, career pathways, and career and technical education. He also currently leads an OPRE-funded study of employment processes as barriers to employment for workers of color, as well as two US DOL-funded projects, the Clearinghouse for Labor Research and Evaluation and the Evaluation to Build RESEA Program Evidence.

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John Colbert

John Colbert, Co-Founder, Capitol Hill Partners, LLC

John Colbert is co-founder of Capitol Hill Partners, a consulting firm dedicated to assisting nonprofit and workforce related programs. John served in the Clinton Administration as Chief of Staff of the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA).

Prior to becoming Chief of Staff, he was in legislative affairs for the Department handling a variety of ETA programs, including as a point person on the authorization and implementation of the Workforce Investment Act, Welfare to Work, and Older Americans Act, as well as a liaison to the Appropriations Committee.

An attorney in private practice before entering government, he has also served as Senior Counsel to both the National Center on Education and the Economy and Jobs for the Future, as well as an advisor to the former Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland, focusing on fostering the Irish peace process.

John is a graduate of Holy Cross College, was awarded the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick full scholarship for a Master's degree in Political Science from the Catholic University of America, and also holds a law degree from Georgetown University.

Jim Cotter

James Cotter, Director, Integrity Data Hub, NASWA

James Cotter is the Director of the NASWA UI Integrity Center’s Integrity Data Hub (IDH) Project. He joined NASWA in January 2015 and has led the Data Hub development effort from its inception. The IDH allows participating states to submit UI claims for cross-matching and analysis to assist in fraud detection and the reduction in improper payments. The IDH launched in September 2017 and since that time has prevented improper payments valued in the billions of dollars. Prior to joining NASWA, Mr. Cotter worked for 25 years with a management consulting firm providing project management services for several high-visibility government programs. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA degree, both from the University of Maryland. In addition, he recently completed an MS degree in Data Analytics from Western Governors University.

Tom Crowley

Thomas P. Crowley, Director, Government Affairs, ADP

Tom has served as a Director of Government Affairs for ADP since January 2015 where he is responsible for relationship management for ADP with state unemployment insurance (UI) tax agencies. He also serves as the current Chairman, Board of Trustees of the National Foundation for Unemployment Compensation and Workers' Compensation(UWC), as well as the Chairman of the UWC.

Prior to joining ADP, he served for nearly nine years as the UI Tax Chief for the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington DC,where he provided national leadership for the Office of Unemployment Insurance to fulfill Federal oversight responsibilities for the state UI tax programs.

Prior to Federal service he served for 30 years in various leadership positions for the State of Maryland in the area of UI tax administration.

He is a graduate of Loyola College in Baltimore, MD with a degree in accounting and currently resides in Apollo Beach, Florida.

Jessica Cunningham

Jessica Cunningham, Ph.D., Executive Director, Kentucky Center for Statistics

Dr. Cunningham began working as a research analyst with KYSTATS in 2015. Dr. Cunningham holds her bachelor of science degree from Georgetown College and master’s degree in mathematics followed by her doctorate in educational policy studies and evaluation from the University of Kentucky with an emphasis in educational measurement and statistics. Prior to joining KYSTATS, Dr. Cunningham served as a faculty member teaching graduate education courses in research methods, statistics, program evaluation, and classroom assessment. Dr. Cunningham also served as an evaluator over the past eight years on numerous state and federal grants across multiple disciplines in North Carolina and Kentucky. Being a Kentucky native, Dr. Cunningham brings her passion for education in Kentucky and experience in developing and disseminating research to a variety of audiences.

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Lloyd Day, Director Office of Workforce Development, Maryland Department of Labor Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning

Lloyd Day is a career workforce development professional with over 30 years in Maryland state service. Mr. Day has managerial experience at the local and state levels in workforce programs and systems serving diverse populations.As Director of Workforce Development for the State of Maryland, Department of Labor, Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning (DWDAL), Mr. Day oversees Maryland’s comprehensive workforce system including Title I and Title III, Registered Apprenticeship, Jobs for Veterans State Grant Veteran Services Program Manager, Dislocated Services, Reemployment Services, Business Services, Disability & Youth Services Coordinator, Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), MSFW and FLC programs and WOTC among others.

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Susan DIckinson

Susan Dickinson, Deputy Secretary for Unemployment Compensation Programs, Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry

Susan Dickinson serves as the Deputy Secretary of Unemployment Compensation Program for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She began her journey with unemployment compensation as a management trainee in 2006 and has since held 8 other positions with the unemployment program until becoming the Deputy Secretary in 2021. During her years in the UC program, she was most heavily involved with interstate and federal programs, as well as being a liaison for IT matters. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing from Bloomsburg University of PA and an MBA from Penn State Harrisburg. Susan grew up in the Poconos and, prior to working for the Commonwealth, worked in hospitality by taking guests on guided hikes, bicycle rides, leading lawn games or other fun events, and leading sports and exercise classes. While that was fun, facilitating the process of people receiving unemployment benefits is far more fulfilling and impactful on the success of our society.

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Paulo Dorado, Senior Software Engineer/Data Analyst, DBDriven, LLC

Full-Stack Engineer and Data Analyst with a passion for creating data-driven solutions. Lead developer of Fraud Analytics for the Virginia Employment Commission.

Daryle Dudzinski

Daryle DudzinskiDeputy Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Labor

Daryle Dudzinski was named Connecticut Department of Labor Deputy Commissioner by Governor Ned Lamont in January 2019. Having served as Acting Deputy Commissioner since June 2018, he began his career with the agency in 1992, starting out as a Connecticut Career Trainee.

A graduate of Central Connecticut State University, Daryle holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. His first job at DOL involved working with employers to determine annual tax rates and liability for the Unemployment Insurance program. In time, he began working in various unemployment insurance areas, helping the agency bring improvements and innovations to its Call Center operations, claims adjudications process, employer contributions and liabilities, technical support activities, online services,and integrity measures.

Daryle serves in a permanent role as Executive Director, overseeing the Unemployment Insurance and Employment Services programs.

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Cynthia Forland

Cynthia Forland, Ph.D., Consultant, Forland Consulting LLC

Dr. Cynthia Forland is a nationally recognized workforce development and labor market information leader, who has extensive experience with workforce and labor market information, policy, reporting, analysis, and evaluation. Dr. Forlandhas operated her own consulting firm for four years, working with clients including NASWA, Council for Community and Economic Research,U.S. Department of Labor, and individual states and local workforce development areas. Dr. Forland’s public sector experience included serving as a senior manager with the Washington state workforce agency, where she oversaw labor market information, research and evaluation, and agency-wide performance measures. Dr. Forland has a Ph.D. in political philosophy from the New School for Social Research in New York City.

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Dale Fujimoto, Deputy Attorney General, Hawaii Department of the Attorney General

Dale Fujimoto is a Deputy Attorney General at the Labor Division of the Department of the Attorney General, State of Hawaii. His legal practice involves, among other things, litigating matters in federal and state court, reviewing and drafting contracts, and providing legal counsel to clients. Before joining the Department of the Attorney General, Mr. Fujimoto practiced law in Oregon. His practice included commercial litigation and medical and professional malpractice. Mr. Fujimoto also served as an Attorney Advisor and as a judicial clerk at United States District Court for the District of Oregon. Before his legal career, Mr. Fujimoto earned his M.B.A. and worked at a global consulting firm.

Raju Gadiraju

Raju Gadiraju, Chief Information Officer, North Carolina Division of Employment Security, Department of Commerce

Raju is the Chief Information Officer at the North Carolina Division of Employment Security, Department of Commerce. Raju has over 25 years of experience in various technology leadership roles in both public and private sectors. Raju brings expert knowledge in digital transformations, business analytics, and cloud technologies. Raju helped IT organizations modernize and streamline systems and processes and embrace automation, self-service, and cloud adoption. Raju is a true collaborator with a passion to mentor, coach, and share.

Raju graduated with bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from India and master’s degree in Computer Science from Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL. Raju is a proud recipient of the 2020 Public Sector CIO of the Year Award by NC Tech.

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Elizabeth Gagen, Deputy Director, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

Liz began working at the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services in February 2020. She is the Deputy Director and State Level Equal Opportunity Officer and oversees Wyoming’s contracts unit and Medical Commission. Prior to coming to WDWS, Liz worked at Wyoming’s Attorney General’s Office for over 20 years –primarily representing state agencies in employment law matters.

Amber Gaither

Amber Gaither, Project Manager, Workforce Information Technology Support Center (WITSC), NASWA

Amber Gaither is a project manager and workforce system subject matter expert at NASWA where she oversees the Workforce Academy and the Workforce IT Support Center’s digital transformation capacity-building efforts. She has two decades of experience in public administration and operations which started with her service as a logistician in the US military and continued through her work in human services, education, economic and workforce development. Prior to her role at NASWA helping workforce system stakeholders capitalize on the opportunities of the digital age, Ms. Gaither modernized Pennsylvania’s workforce development technology system, managed strategies around innovation, partnership, and leveraging information and technology, spearheaded the state’s WIOA implementation efforts, coordinated WIOA policy and planning, monitored local workforce boards, managed workforce system programs, and delivered employment and training services through local one-stop centers.

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Jim Garner

Jim GarnerAdministrator, Office of Unemployment Insurance, USDOL, ETA

Jim Garner was appointed as Administrator of the Office of Unemployment Insurance in the US. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration in 2021 after serving as Deputy Administrator since 2012. Prior to his federal service, Jim served eight years as the Secretary of Labor for the State of Kansas (2003-2011). Jim is a graduate of Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College and he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Kansas and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Kansas, School of Law. Following law school, Jim served a two-year appointment clerking for U.S. District Judge Dale Saffels. In August 2016, Jim graduated from the Federal Executive Institute’s “Leadership for a Democratic Society” program.

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Veronica Gielazauskas, Assistant Commissioner for Performance and Strategy, Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development

Veronica Gielazauskas is the Assistant Commissioner for Performance and Strategy at the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development. In this role, she leads the research efforts for the department, including oversight of the state’s labor market information agency, postsecondary education research, and performance measurement for the state’s workforce development programs.

This position allows her to incorporate two beliefs into her work –the value of education and training beyond high school and the importance of using data to inform decisions.

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Victor G. Glover

Victor G GloverDirector Veterans Employment Services, North Carolina Dept of Commerce Veterans Employment Service

Victor G Glover hails from Olathe Kansas and now resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. Serves as the Director Veteran Employment Service, Department of Commerce, Workforce Solutions. Although he is mission-oriented those who meet Victor find him to be both passionate and approachable. He is a people person whose outreach helps organizations that he is a part of to succeed. Victor earned his bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Fayetteville State University. He earned his master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Mid America Nazarene University. Victor joined the U. S. Army and retired after serving for 22 years. He served with the 82d Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps, Joint Special Operations Command, Department of the Army Deputy of Chief of Staff for Personnel, CINC Atlantic Command and the US Army Special Operations Command.

Victor found fulfillment in helping other veterans to realize their career potential. He discovered that assisting veterans with overcoming their barriers was a worthwhile challenge for him to channel his skills and expertise. Victor has placed veterans at the center of his mission. He is passionate about helping individuals maximize their career potential. He is, also, a community worker, a family man and a mentor who loves a good challenge and stays sharp mentally with game challenges. He balances the seriousness in his life with humor, the beach and baking; and, starts his day with a brisk walk and daily devotion. Victor lifts others, especially in spirit. Together, he and his wife, have two biological children and five grandchildren. They have been foster parents to dozens of children, although not all at the same time.

Beth Goguen

Beth Goguen, Director of Central Programs, MassHire Department of Career Services

Beth Goguen is the MassHire Department of Career Services Director of Central Programs, with over 25years of dedicated service to workforce development in Massachusetts.

Beth’s accomplishments include the automation of the Trade Programs in MA and leading the crosswalk of TAA and TRA across the state’s then-new unemployment insurance system and the Massachusetts One-Stop Employment System (MOSES) case management database. Beth was a key force in these projects that model efficiency, cost savings and collaboration among funding sources.

Beth currently oversees 4 federal workforce programs; she is the liaison for the MassHire Department of Career Services with WIOA partners, the Department of Unemployment Assistance and the Department of Transitional Assistance. She also serves as the Director for one of the local MassHire Career Centers.

Since 2020, Beth has been a key leader in the JobQuest (Massachusetts’ entry portal for jobseekers and businesses)Transition Project to transform and improve all customer-facing services for virtual availability and leads a team that continually develops and improves upon staff training and customer technical assistance (both virtual and in-person).

Beth is also a lead contributor to the project design and development of the Massachusetts Employment Transformation Project (EMT), which will culminate in the replacement for the current Unemployment Insurance Online system.

Bryan Grady

Bryan P. Grady, Ph.D., Labor Market Information Director, South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce

Dr. Bryan Grady serves as the Labor Market Information Director for the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. In this capacity, he oversees the production of data and analysis on employment, wages, and related topics in collaboration with the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and Employment and Training Administration. Prior to his arrival at DEW in January 2022, he was Chief Research Officer at the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority for three years. Dr. Grady holds a Ph.D. in planning and public policy from Rutgers University and degrees in economics from the University of Delaware and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Alexandra Hall Bovee

Alexandra Hall Bovee, Regional Commissioner, Philadelphia Regional Office, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Alexandra Hall Bovee is the Regional Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Mid-Atlantic Region. In this role, Alex oversees administration of the Bureau’s price, compensation, and working conditions surveys, and Cooperative Agreements with six states and Washington D.C. Alex came to the BLS after a career in Colorado where she served as the Director of the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics, as the state’s chief labor economist, and advised the governor’s office and the state legislature on economic conditions. Alex is a past member of NASWA and has served on various U.S. labor statistics policy councils as a subject matter expert on the nation’s employment statistics infrastructure and local data user needs.

Ana Hageage

Ana Hageage, Chief of Staff, Employment and Training Administration (ETA), U.S. Department of Labor

Ana Hageage currently serves in the Biden-Harris Administration as the Chief of Staff for the Employment and Training Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor. Prior to her appointment, she served as the deputy lead for the Community College Growth Engine Fund, turning community colleges into bridges to dignified work for every American learner and worker, starting with almost 6,000 learners in six communities.

Throughout her career, Ana has developed a deep expertise in workforce development at the local, regional, and national levels supporting economic mobility for underserved workers. She has led national initiatives aimed at scaling industry partnerships and sector strategies and served as a policy advisor to the U.S. Department of Labor under the Obama Administration. Ana also has expertise in youth policy and advocacy and has worked on the ground to deliver adult basic education, job readiness training, sector-focused certifications, employment and wrap-around services to opportunity youth.

Ana holds a degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Maryland and resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two sons.

Michael Harrington

Michael Harrington, Commissioner, Vermont Department of Labor

Michael Harrington, was appointed to the role of deputy commissioner for the Vermont Department of Labor in 2017 by Governor Phil Scott. In 2019 Michael became interim commissioner and in 2020 he was permanently appointed commissioner of the Department. Prior to joining state service, Michael served as the Economic and Community Development Director for the Town of Bennington, VT. He has also held the role of chief student affairs officer for Paul Smith’s College, and director of client relations and training for the organizational development firm New Directions. Michael received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, and was named to Vermont’s 40 under 40 list in 2013. He currently serves as secretary for the NASWA Board and is the chair of the NASWA Equal Opportunity Committee.

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Jenni Harris

Dr. Jenni Harris, Executive Director, Business Services, Division of Workforce Solutions, North Carolina Department of Commerce

Dr. Jenni Harris is the Executive Director of Business Services at the NC Department of Commerce’s Division of Workforce Solutions. She is a senior level strategist and advisor who provides strong vision and leadership for the state’s alignment of economic and workforce development. She also oversees the management of federally regulated and funded programs such as Rapid Response, Work Opportunity Tax Credits, layoff version, Agriculture Services and Foreign Labor. She sits on the Governor’s State Council for Sector Strategies, the state’s NC TOWERS off-shore wind energy workforce strategies committee, the NC Manufacturing Expansion Program’s committee for NC Manufacturing Policy, the NC Economic Development Association’s Legislative committee, and serves as the subject matter expert for the Employer Leadership and Engagement committee of the NCWorks Commission (state workforce board).Her past experience in higher education, existing industry, retention and expansion, and in entrepreneurship lends itself to her current role. Her collaborative leadership has resulted in the development and nurturing of partnership opportunities with state organizations including the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the NC Community College System, the Small Business and Technology Development Center, NCSU’s Industry Expansion Solutions program, the Department of Health and Human Services, and many others, specifically as it builds strong strategies and partnerships that align economic and workforce development across the state. Jenni received her Bachelor of Arts in Professional and Technical Writing and Public and Media Relations from UNC Wilmington and graduated Summa Cum Laude from NC Central University with her Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in economic policy. She received her doctorate in Public Policy and Administration from West Chester University where her research allowed her to examine the role of public universities in economic development and community engagement.

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Julie Hatch-Maxfield

Julie Hatch-Maxfield, Associate Commissioner for Employment and Unemployment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor

Julie Hatch Maxfield became the Associate Commissioner for the Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics in 2019. Ms. Maxfield began her career at BLS in 1999 and worked for many years on the Current Employment Statistics program. In 2015, she became Assistant Commissioner in the Office of Current Employment Analysis. Her responsibilities included overseeing the Current Population Survey, the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program, and the American Time Use Survey. Of particular note is the extensive work she has done in support of the most recent collection and publication of the Contingent Worker Supplement to the Current Population Survey, followed by work with the ongoing Committee on National Statistics panel working on potential improvements to these data.

Ms. Maxfield received Bachelor of Science degrees in Economics and Business from Mount St. Mary’s University and a Master of Arts degree in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University.

Nanci Hiller

Nanci Hiller, Chief, Employment and Training, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Nanci Hiller is employed by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development as Chief of Employment and Training within the Office of the Assistant Commissioner in the Office of Research and Information. Nanci has focused her career on creating equitable, inclusive, and accessible career pathways and employment opportunities for New Jersey’s underserved vulnerable groups, and people with barriers to employment. Nanci brings a unique blend of subject matter expertise and perspective with 20+ years of experience providing vocational, career, and clinical counseling, employer engagement, policy development, and program development and administration.

Nanci earned a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Montclair State University and is a NJ Licensed Professional Counselor. She holds a post-Master’s certification in Adult Professional Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University, National Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, and Certified Public Manager. Nanci was the first recipient of the International Organization for Jewish Vocational Service’s award for Outstanding Professional Contributions to Jewish Communal Service (2004) and was selected as a US Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration Scholar (2013).

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Lesley Hirsch, Assistant Commissioner, Research, New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Lesley Hirsch has held several senior advisory and technical policy research roles over her 25+ year career, with a focus on using data and research to inform programs and policies to improve economic mobility for historically marginalized populations (e.g., BIPOC, people with disabilities, and low-income). She currently serves as Assistant Commissioner for Research at the New Jersey Department of Labor, where she is responsible for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of labor market and demographic data; research, evaluation, and business intelligence activities for state and federal workforce, benefits, and strategic enforcement programs; and the oversight of private career schools and the Eligible Training Provider List for the State.

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Mark Howison

Mark Howison, Sr. Director of Research and Technology, Research Improving People's Lives

Mark Howison is the Sr. Director of Research and Technology for Research Improving People's Lives, a tech-for-social-impact non-profit that works with governments to help them use data, science, and technology to improve policy and lives. Originally trained as a computer scientist, Mark's career has led to multidisciplinary partnerships with economists, doctors, and policy makers to solve challenges in public health and public policy.

Anna Hui

Anna Hui, Director, Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Anna Hui was appointed Director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations in March of 2017 and confirmed by the Senate in January 2018, making her the first American of Asian descent to serve in the governor’s cabinet in Missouri history. For over two decades in numerous senior positions in both state and federal government, Anna has worked to improve citizen service delivery, provide good stewardship of taxpayer dollars, and promote inclusion and diversity.

Anna started her public service career working for Illinois Governor Jim Edgar as the Special Assistant to the Governor for Asian-American affairs and then for Governor George Ryan, as a senior member of the Washington, D.C. policy management team. She went on to serve as the Associate Deputy Secretary of Labor at the U.S. Department of Labor during President George W. Bush’s Administration. In that role, Anna spearheaded efforts to encourage diversity and the inclusion of historically underserved communities in the Department’s programs and Federal government management.

After leaving federal service in 2009 and until she returned to Illinois in 2015, she was Chief of Staff to former U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. From 2015 to 2017, Anna served as Assistant Director and later as Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Labor, where she implemented major reforms in process and program efficiency and effectiveness.

Anna received a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, an M.S.M., and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).In April 2018, she was named the recipient of UIUC’s Outstanding Asian American Alumni Award from the Asian American Cultural Center for her dedication to public service. In November 2021, the St. Louis Asian American Chamber of Commerce named Anna the 2021 Connector of the Year, for her outstanding accomplishments as a trailblazer to help connect the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) business/professional community, St. Louis and Asia.

Active in other federal and state government efforts, Anna was appointed to the Federal Government’s Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building, as well as Chair of the State of HUI BIO (Full) rev. January 2022 Missouri’s Interagency Task Force on Worker Classification, Chair of the Governor’s Show Me Strong Recovery Task Force, member of the Job Centers of the Future Task Force and member of the Missouri State Workforce Board. Additionally, she serves as Vice President on the Board of the International Association of Industrial Accidents Boards and Commissions (IAIABC),Executive Committee Member for the Midwest Collaborative(MWC)and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies’ (NASWA’s) Information Technology Support Center (ITSC) Steering Committee. Her other non-profit board service includes the Board for the Family and Community Trust (FACT), the Advisory Board for the Missouri Science and Technology (MOST) Policy Fellowship Program, and the Science and Technology Advisory Board for the Coleridge Initiative.

Anna also served as the President of the National Association of Government Labor Officials (NAGLO)2018-2020 and Board President of NASWA 2019-2020; she is a graduate of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 2018 Leadership Missouri Program.

Lenita Jacobs-Simmons

Lenita Jacobs-Simmons, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration (ETA), U.S. Department of Labor

Lenita Jacobs-Simmons was named administrator for Job Corps in November 2014. A program within the U.S. Department of Labor, Job Corps has trained and educated more than two million youths from disadvantaged backgrounds since its establishment in 1964. It currently provides annual assistance to 60,000 people, ages 16 to 24. As Job Corps’ national director, Jacobs-Simmons oversees the program’s 125 centers throughout the United States.

Jacobs-Simmons grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from Temple University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In South Carolina, Jacobs-Simmons served as grants administrator for the Charleston County government and executive director of the Trident Workforce Investment Board. In 1999, she joined the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) as deputy assistant secretary. In February 2002, she was named administrator of the Department of Labor and deputy assistant secretary for ETA’s field operations. Jacobs-Simmons was subsequently named regional administrator for ETA’s Philadelphia office, which gave her responsibility for oversight of ETA programs administered in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Those programs included the Wagner Peyser Act, which connects job seekers with employers, the Workforce Investment Act and Unemployment Insurance. 

Adrienne Johnston

Adrienne Johnston, Deputy Secretary, Division of Workforce Services, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Adrienne Johnston has served as the Deputy Secretary for the Division of Workforce Services at the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) since November 2020. Prior to this she was the Chief of the Bureau of Workforce Statistics and Economic Research within DEO for five years. During that time, she expanded the role of the Bureau to include not only producing and analyzing labor market data, but providing data management, governance, and effective analytics for the entire Department. Prior to joining DEO, Ms. Johnston served as a manager for Evergreen Solutions and a Labor Market Research Director for Brandt Information Services. Ms. Johnston holds a master’s degree from Florida State University.

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Erin Joyce, Associate Director, Ohio Education Research Center, John Glenn College of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University

Erin Joyce is the associate director of the Ohio Education Research Center (OERC). In her role, Erin manages the operations of the Ohio Education Research Center and leads client engagement for the OERC and Ohio Analytics partnership, the entity that governs the Ohio Longitudinal Data Archive. For the last year, Ms. Joyce has been working with NASWA to support emerging multi-state data collaboratives. Prior to joining the OERC, Ms. Joyce worked the non-profit sector and in state government with the Ohio Department of Education. Her career has focused on using data to inform policy and program improvement. Ms. Joyce earned her MA in Government and International Relations from the University of Notre Dame.

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Gregg Kallagian

Gregg Kallajian, Operations Coordinator- UI Integrity Division, Connecticut Department of Labor

Gregg Kallajian is the Operations Coordinator of the UI Integrity Division at the State of Connecticut Department of Labor. The Integrity Division includes BPC, BAM, UI Tech,TPS,and Internal Security. In his 32 years of UI experience, Gregg has worked in all of these areas as well as 15 years as a Programs and Services Coordinator in the agency’s Call Centers.

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M. Antwon Keith

M. Antwon Keith, Chief Deputy of Programs, North Carolina Division of Employment Security

M. Antwon Keith is the Chief Deputy of Programs for NC Department of Commerce, Division of Employment Security (DES). Mr. Keith has direct responsibility over the following Departments: Tax, Benefits, Appeals, Integrity and RESEA. He has worked for over 25 years in Workforce Development serving the citizens of NC across the state in various capacities and on numerous Workforce Development Boards. Mr. Keith has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from N.C. A&T State University located in Greensboro, NC. In addition, he is a Certified Public Manager through the N.C. Office of State Personnel. He is a veteran, having served 8 years in the US Navy Reserves as a Seabee. He is a father of one son. He enjoys reading, studying history, all sports, and spending time with family and friends.

Beth Kuhn

Beth Kuhn, Workforce IT Support Center (ITSC) Consultant

Beth Kuhn has over 30 years of experience creating and implementing innovative workforce, human service and health programs, leading collaborations among business, government, and nonprofit partners. Beth currently serves as Principal at Stonegate Strategies, a consultancy focused on futuristic workforce development strategies across sectors and organizations. Working with clients including American Institutes of Research, the Workforce Information Technology Support Center, and Coastal Cloud, Beth’s focus is on the digital transformation of organizations, people practices, and public services and the technology design needed to support transformation. Beth was most recently Chief Engagement Officer at the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services, leading workforce policy and operational efforts to better serve customers and offer them multiple pathways to employment and stability. She served in both Democratic and Republican administrations as Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Workforce Investment, collaborating across systems to provide employment, vocational rehabilitation, veterans, unemployment insurance, and other workforce services. She previously served as Director of Workforce Development at the Vermont Department of Labor; as Project Director at the United Way of Northwest Vermont where she developed employer partnerships to improve retention and advancement of entry-level workers; and as Vice President of WFD, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in work and family benefits, women’s advancement, and public-private partnerships to increase the availability and quality of child and elder care programs nationwide. Beth has a BA in Public Policy from the James Madison College of Michigan State University, and a Master’s in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky and in Vergennes, Vermont.

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Jeff Laesch, Director, Bureau of Management and Information Services, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Unemployment Insurance Division

Jeff Laesch is the Director of the Bureau of Management and Information Services. He has worked for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Unemployment Insurance Division for 24 years. Jeff started his career in 1998 working as an Adjudicator in the Madison. In 2005 Jeff was hired as a Business Analyst in the Systems and Processing unit where he worked on numerous UI development projects as a lead Business Analyst. Since 2013 Jeff has held management roles within the department where he has worked to develop, support, and maintain all current and new UI systems for Wisconsin.

Dr. Ron Landis

Dr. Ron Landis, Managing Partner, Millan Chicago LLC

Ron has a PhD in Psychology from Michigan State University. He has nearly 30 years of experience in conducting research and consulting in the areas of quantitative methodology and measurement development. He has published more than 70 journal articles, book chapters, and works in edited volumes and much of his work has appeared in leading journals including Organizational Research Methods, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Personnel Psychology, and Journal of Applied Psychology. He is a co-founder and managing partner of Millan Chicago, a consulting firm that helps public and private sector organizations optimize their data collection, management, and analysis to drive key business decisions.

Michael Lazzeri

Michael Lazzeri, Regional Administrator, Midwest, USDOL

Michael Lazzeri was selected as Regional Administrator for the Midwest in Fall of 2018. He oversees investigative activity and outreach conducted by 9 District Offices in 10 states. From 2011 until his selection as RA, Mike served in a number of policy-oriented roles in the National Office. In May of 2014, Mike was named the Wage and Hour Division's first Assistant Administrator for Government Contracts, where he oversaw WHD’s Davis Bacon wage survey process, development of SCA wage determinations and the Government Contracts Enforcement branch. During this period, Mike served in a key role in development and implementation of Administration policy priorities, such as the Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors regulatory initiatives. He previously served as Director of the Division of Enforcement Policy and Procedure within WHD, overseeing the agency's enforcement branches and developing key sub-regulatory guidance.

Prior to coming to WHD, Mike worked for the Office of Management and Budget in the White House for 5 years during both the Bush and Obama Administrations, where he oversaw the budget and policies for several labor law enforcement programs within the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and National Labor Relations Board.

Mike graduated cum laude from New York Law School in 2006 and is licensed to practice law in the State of New York. He received his undergraduate degree from Fordham University in the Bronx in 1995. Mike is a native of Queens, New York.

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Dr. Mardy L. Leathers

Dr. Mardy L. Leathers, Director of the Office of Workforce Development, Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development

Dr. Mardy L. Leathers was appointed to serve as the Director of the Missouri Office of Workforce Development in October 2017. In his capacity, Leathers serves as Executive Director to Missouri’s State Workforce Development Board, Director of Apprenticeship Missouri, and oversees Missouri’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Programs. Since his appointment, he has served an integral role in transforming Missouri’s public workforce development system, expanding and modernizing apprenticeship and work-based learning programs, and launching Missouri Job Center Connect. Additionally, Dr. Leathers lead key initiatives such Missouri Return Strong, Job Centers of the Future, Talent for Tomorrow, Best in Midwest, and founded the Missouri-United Kingdom Apprenticeship Partnership. Dr. Leathers has led his organization through a myriad of challenges including organizational restructuring, natural disaster, merger of state agencies, and global pandemic.

Currently, Dr. Leathers serves as a member of the Board of Directors to the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, Vice Chair of the National Governors’ Association State Workforce Director, and Co-Chair of Governor Parson’s Supply Chain Management Task Force.

Prior to becoming the Director of the Office of Workforce Development, he served as Executive Director of the Center for Workforce Development at East Central College, held the role of CEO for a community economic development organization, and held public office as the County Clerk in Crawford County, Missouri. Leathers holds a BS from Southeast Missouri State University, a MBA from William Woods University, and a Doctor of Management from Webster University

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Dr. Tamika Ledbetter

Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter serves as the Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Under her leadership, the department serves to provide safe and legal working conditions and to advance opportunities for employment.

Highlights during Commissioner Ledbetter’s tenure include prioritized training resources to Alaska’s at- risk youth population, consolidation of federal and state training grants under the administration of the Alaska Workforce Investment Board, and national recognition for Alaska’s premiere vocational training institution the Alaska Vocational Training Center (AVTEC). Recently named one of the best returns on investment in the country for outstanding workforce development programs, AVTEC offers a wide range of high demand career opportunities in programs of under one year.

Prior to Dr. Ledbetter’s appointment to the Office of Commissioner, she held several key positions with the department. She began her career with the State of Alaska in 2007 as a Career Development Specialist. After two years, she became Manager of the Mat-Su Job Center, a role she held for eight years. Most recently, she served as Regional Manager for the Anchorage/Mat-Su Economic Region. Her background as a community leader, dynamic public speaker, and human performance improvement consultant has complemented her experience as a workforce development professional for more than 15 years.

Dr. Ledbetter is a veteran of the United States Air Force Operation Iraqi Freedom. After she and her family transferred to Elmendorf Air Force Base in 2003, they decided to make Wasilla, Alaska home. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History/Political Science, a Master of Arts in Education/Adult Education and Training, and a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership.

Dr. Ledbetter has distinguished herself as an astute and skillful leader and has always worked to facilitate an environment which encourages career advancement and excellence of her team members. These skills were recently recognized by her election to the position of Chair-Elect of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA). Among her many achievements includes the distinguished honor of Alaska’s Top 40 under 40 for her leadership at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. She is an active community member, and was recently appointed by U.S. Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh to serve on the national Workforce Information Advisory Council.

Commissioner Ledbetter and her husband, Fred, who is also a military veteran, are most proud of their children: their teenaged daughter and two sons who are active duty in the United States Armed Forces.

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Adam Leonard

Adam Leonard, Director of Information Innovation & Insight, Texas Workforce Commission

Adam Leonard is the Director of the Division of Information Innovation & Insight (I|3) for the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Adam envisioned and founded I|3 to help TWC leverage its most important untapped resource - its data – to help the agency and its partners better help employers, individuals, families, and communities achieve economic prosperity.

I|3 has four major areas of responsibility:

  • Analytics Infrastructure Department – building out our modern data infrastructure and democratizing our data by creating intuitive online dashboard and analysis tools;
  • Business Transformation – applies process improvement protocols to help program and policy-makers improve effectiveness and ideally transform entire business processes;
  • Labor Market Information – gathers, analyzes, and disseminates key Labor Market and Labor Market Adjacent information help drive effective decision making; and
  • Analytics & Evaluation – applies modern data science and traditional statistical research techniques to better understand our programs & system and how to improve them.

Since joining TWC in 2003, Adam has worked extensively with federal, state, and local partners to improve the use of data in both the Texas and national workforce systems. He continues to influence the national conversation about the use of data in the public sector serving on several NASWA committees and subcommittees relating to data, technology, and accountability as well as the Department of Labor’s State Data Workgroup, the National Skills Coalition’s Workforce Data National Advisory Panel, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s JEDx Initiative, the Education Department’s Rethink Performance workgroup, and various P20W+ Communities of Innovation. He is also helping guide development of the Southern Regional Data Collaborative and participating in the Midwest State Regional Data Collaborative governance meetings. Other key recent partnerships have been with the Coleridge Initiative and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Adam earned a BA in Government from the University of Texas and a MPAff from the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

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Karen Levchuk

Karen A. Levchuk, Esq., General Counsel, New Hampshire Employment Security

Karen Levchuk currently serves as General Counsel to New Hampshire Employment Security, having started as a counsel to the agency in 2014. Karen began her public sector career in the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office as an Assistant Attorney General and then Bureau Chief. After several years in the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, Karen returned to New Hampshire and served an appointed term as the State’s Director of Personnel. She has worked extensively in the field of labor and employment law in both the public and private sectors. Karen is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Boston University School of Law.

Jocelyn Lowe

Jocelyn K. Lowe, Chief Legal Counsel, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

Jocelyn Lowe has served as Chief Legal Counsel to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services since August 2021. ODJFS manages a number of vital programs that directly impact Ohioans, including cash and food assistance, job training and employment services, unemployment insurance, child care, children services and adoption, adult protective services, and child support. In addition to providing advice and counsel to these programs, Jocelyn supervises ODJFS’s Office of Contracts and Acquisitions, Bureau of State Hearings, and Chief Inspector’s Office. Jocelyn began her public service career as an assistant county prosecutor responsible for adult felony trials and appeals. She later joined the Office of the Ohio Attorney General focusing on habeas cases and corrections litigation. She was Assistant Chief Counsel at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction before joining ODJFS. Jocelyn graduated from the University of Virginia and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University.

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Richard ("Rick") Maher, President/CEO, Adaptive Human Capital, LLC

Richard D. ("Rick") Maher is President of Adaptive Human Capital, LLC., the former CEO of Maher & Maher. He is a veteran of the human resources industry, and a recognized leader in the fields of managing organizational change and the strategic management of human capital. Over a career spanning nearly 30 years, he has helped to guide many notable change initiatives for clients in both the public and private sectors. Maher has been at the forefront of workforce training and education system transformation and policy guidance –working throughout the United States and internationally. In the private sector, Maher has consulted on talent development issues with some of the world's largest and most successful enterprises, including Goldman Sachs, Time Warner, Schering-Plough, AOL, TD Ameritrade, Cox Communications and more. Following the sale of his management consulting practice, Maher & Maher in 2017, Rick set out to apply his uncommon experience as a change practitioner to leading Adaptive Human Capital’s important work to better understand the critical elements of agile human systems and help to develop skills in individuals, organizations and communities to help them thrive through uncertain times. Mr. Maher is a member of the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC), the Association of Talent Development (ATD) and PSI CHI (the International Honor Society in Psychology). He has a BA from Seton Hall University and an MS in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Walden University.

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Guy Martin

Guy Martin, Deputy Executive Director - CFO, Mississippi Department of Employment Security

Burkett “Guy” Martin has been a Deputy Executive Director – CFO at MDES since July 2019. He received his degree in Accounting from Mississippi State University in 1999. Since 2001, he has worked in the financial areas of MDES.

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Paul M. Martin, Administrator, UI Division, Montana Department of Labor and Industry

Originally born in Minnesota, Paul first moved to Montana in the early seventies. After more moving around the country, he returned to Missoula in 1988 to finish his degree in Interpersonal Communications from the University of Montana. Paul and his wife moved to Helena to start a family & it was there he first started working for Montana Department of Labor and Industry in 2001 as an Employment Consultant at the local Helena Job Service. In 2004 he became a Team Manager in UI Claims Processing, and has remained at UI until this day, moving from Claims Processing Bureau Chief to UI Administrator in 2020. Paul is at his best when he is helping others, so UI has always been a good fit. When he’s not working, playing music, or hockey, Paul enjoys doing anything outdoors regardless of the time of year.

Steve Matteson

Steve Matteson, Executive Technical Advisor, IRS, Office of Safeguards

Steve Matteson is the Executive Technical Advisor with Office of Safeguards. Steve joined the Internal Revenue Service in 1994 and has spent the last 12 years in Safeguards. His expertise is in data security, Section 6013 compliance and oversight of external agencies receipt and use of Federal Tax Information. He sets security standards and assesses compliance for federal, state and local agencies to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of the IRS data they receive. Steve also works on legislative implementation, policy development and data incident response. He attended the University of Oklahoma and served in the United States Army.

Carrie Mayne

Carrie Mayne, Chief Economist, Utah System of Higher Education

Carrie Mayne is the Chief Economist and Associate Commissioner of Research at the Utah System of Higher Education. Prior to joining USHE, Carrie was the Chief Economist and Director of Workforce Research and Analysis at Utah’s Department of Workforce Services. In her current position, she leads a staff of researchers, data scientists, data engineers, and data privacy experts who oversee the state’s longitudinal data system. Her staff provide analysis and research focused on higher education, the statewide education-workforce pipeline, and the economic impact of higher education in the state. She also advises the commissioner and the board on economic issues pertaining to the state’s network of sixteen colleges and universities. Carrie is a member of the Utah Economic Council and the Governor’s Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Utah and is working toward completing her doctorate in the same field. Her areas of expertise include labor economics, econometrics, and statistics.

Ellen McElligott

Ellen McElligott, Veterans Program Specialist, USDOL - VETS

Ellen McElligott was a Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy, and upon separating from the military, launched her career which has been dedicated to serving the military and veteran community through her roles at the USO of Illinois, Road Home Program at Rush University Medical Center and the Pat Tillman Foundation. Ellen currently is a Veterans Program Specialist at the Department of Labor, Veterans Employment and Training Services, working out of the Chicago Regional Office. Ellen holds degrees from the College of the Holy Cross and DePaul University, and she currently lives in the Chicago Suburbs.

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Holly McKamey Simoni

Holly McKamey Simoni, Workforce Program Administrator, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

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Suzan McKechnie, Deputy Bureau Director, Maine Department of Labor

McKechnie has spent 13 years with the Maine Department of Labor in various roles claims representative, adjudicator, IPC/FPC, team leader, Benefits Services Chief during the pandemic, and most recently as the Deputy Bureau Director for the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation.

Dr. Jennifer Miller

Dr. Jennifer Miller, Managing Partner, Millan Chicago

Jennifer has a PhD in Psychological Science and a MS in Applied Statistics from Indiana University. She has expertise in several qualitative and quantitative data analytic methods, and 15 years of experience conducting psychological research with an emphasis in learning and communication. She has published more than 20 journal articles, book chapters and works in edited volumes. In addition to her research, Jennifer has more than 10 years of experience in the design, implementation and assessment of programs. She is a co-founder and managing partner of Millan Chicago, a data science firm that specializes in helping organizations optimize their data collection, management, and analysis to drive key decision business decisions.

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Mike Miller

Mike Miller, UI Tax Chief, Utah Department of Workforce Services

Mike Miller is the Chief of Contributions for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. During his 25 years with the State of Utah, he has also served as the Director of Operational Excellence, Assistant Director of the Division of Adjudication and Appeals, Chief Administrative Law Judge, Administrative Law Judge, Initial Adjudicator, and Claims Representative. When not at work Mr. Miller enjoys time with family, trail running, working on old Jeeps, elk hunting, and ice fishing.

Jason Palmer

Jason Palmer, Regional Commissioner, Midwest, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor

Jason Palmer is the BLS Regional Commissioner for the Chicago Region. In this role, he oversees for the ten-state region the production and dissemination of information and analysis on labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes used to support public and private decision making. Prior to joining the BLS, Jason was the Director of Michigan’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. Jason received a Bachelor’s in Economics from Michigan State University, a Master’s in Labor and Industrial Relations from Wayne State University, and a Doctorate in Sociology from Michigan State University. He received his Juris Doctorate from the Michigan State University College of Law. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Economic Association, and the American Sociological Association. A lifelong stutterer, Jason’s research interests include the labor market experiences of individuals with barriers to employment, especially those with disabilities. Born and raised in the Midwest, Jason lives in Michigan with his wife Lauren, a small business owner, and their two young children.

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Brent Parton

Brent Parton, Acting Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration (ETA), U.S. Department of Labor

Brent Parton is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA). In that role he helps oversee many of the Department’s workforce development, employment, and unemployment insurance programs, and works to ensure those programs’ investments advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s workforce and equity priorities.

An expert on workforce, labor and career, and technical education policies, before joining DOL, Brent was the deputy director of the Center on Education & Labor at New America, a policy and research institution based in Washington, D.C. At New America, Brent led national research and technical assistance efforts and worked closely with state and local leaders, as well as with philanthropy, business, and labor to develop and implement strategies and investments that deliver more equitable labor market and education outcomes for workers, students, and communities. His 2017 research on youth apprenticeship led to the establishment of the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship, a national initiative to support states and cities across the U.S. to connect high school students to apprenticeship opportunities.

Prior to New America, Brent served as a senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Labor during the Obama Administration, and held roles at the National Governors Association, and in the education sector of the World Bank. Brent has a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in international education policy, both from Vanderbilt University; he is from Santa Rosa, California.

Lynda Parven

Lynda Parven, Administrator, Nevada Employment Security Division

Lynda is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and possesses both Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees. A thirty-year veteran of the State of Nevada, her career in public service began with the Welfare Division in 1991.Lynda served as Administrator of the Nevada Equal Rights Commission for four years, and Deputy Administrator of the Employment Security Division for 16 years. Her managerial tenure has resulted insubstantial experience in the state and federal legislative process.

Lynda has a proven track record of improving processes and performance in a variety of programs and building new ventures from the ground up. For instance, she championed the Nevada Workforce System transformation to EmployNV.gov, the state’s workforce case management and online job resource, where businesses can post job listings and job seekers can find local and statewide employment and labor market information.

Currently, Lynda is the Administrator for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation’s Employment Security Division (DETR/ESD).In this role she oversees statewide Unemployment Insurance and Workforce Development programs, as well as the Commission on Post-Secondary Education. In addition, she leads the agency effort to modernize the Unemployment Insurance system.

Lynda applies the expertise she has gained toward the favorite part of her job –solving problems. An avid sports fan, on weekends (depending on the season),you can find her cheering on the Vegas Golden Knights, San Francisco 49ersand UNLV Runnin’ Rebels with her family.

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Coretta Pettway

Coretta Pettway, Assistant Deputy Director, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

Coretta Pettway is the Assistant Deputy Director of the Program Support pillar for the Office of Workforce Development (OWD) at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. In this capacity, she oversees the Bureau of Labor Market Information, Workforce Analytics and Grants Management. The primary focus of the pillar is supporting other OWD program areas, bureaus, and stakeholders by providing information, analysis, recommendations, guidance, and technical assistance needed to make program decisions, implement strategies and policies that best benefit customer needs and populations served. Prior to joining OWD, Coretta worked in various roles at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, which is where she began her career as a public servant.

Jennifer L. Phillips

Jennifer L. Phillips, Assistant Deputy Director, Service Delivery, Illinois Department of Employment Security

Jennifer L. Phillips is the Assistant Deputy Director, Service Delivery, for the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). She focuses on continuous improvement in service delivery and on UI modernization at IDES; she is currently managing the Tiger Team process and the initiatives under the UI Equity grant.

Jennifer is a complexity-busting strategic thinker and launcher of innovative solutions. She is a dot-connector, information synthesizer, high-energy collaborator, active listener, and continuous learner. Her experience spans private philanthropy, strategic consulting, and public sector innovation. Jennifer has worked on complicated social issues during her career and believes in engaging people most affected when exploring solutions. Throughout her career, she has worked hard to help inspire others see new visions of the future and ask critical ‘what if’ questions.

From 2020-22, Jennifer was the Strategic Initiatives Coordinator at Illinois State University’s Center for Specialized Professional Support (ICSPS). She provided contract staff leadership to the Illinois Workforce Innovation Board (IWIB)and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

From 2009-2020, Jennifer was a private consultant working with philanthropic and non-profit organizations. She specialized in strategic planning and communications, meeting design and facilitation, issue exploration, and project management.

Past clients included the Education Strategy Group, Grand Victoria Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, Chicago Public Library Foundation, Working Poor Families Project, Women Employed, Chicago Jobs Council, Joyce Foundation, C.S. Mott Foundation, Oak Foundation, Weinberg Foundation, Council on Foundations-Workforce Matters, MDRC, and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. She served on the board of directors of the National Skills Coalition, a leading national workforce advocacy organization, from 2010-2016.

Prior to consulting, she was a senior Employment program officer at the Joyce Foundation for nine years, including managing the program for five years. Ms. Phillips worked for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation from 1995 to 2000, as a program officer in the Poverty program.

She holds a master’s degree in public administration from the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Jessica Picard

Jessica Picard, Communications Manager, Maine Department of Labor

Jessica Picard is the Communications Manager at the Maine Department of Labor. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2017 and worked as a journalist and photographer in Massachusetts and Maine until joining the Department in 2019. Since then, she has focused on creating clear, effective communications to help connect Mainers with a variety of workforce programs, from unemployment insurance to reemployment services.

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Maricar Pilotin-Freitas, Administrator, Workforce Development, Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Maricar Pilotin-Freitas is the Administrator of the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ Workforce Development Division. A first-generation immigrant with 30 years of progressive workforce development experience, Maricar’s passion is connecting people to jobs and unlocking their career potential. Maricar has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Maricar resides in Honolulu with her husband Tyler and son Winston and creates festoon balloons for weddings, birthday parties and other celebratory occasions for family and friends.

Steve Playl, Jr.

Steve Playl, Jr., Assistant Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Steve Playl, Jr. was appointed Assistant Commissioner with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development in May 2021. In this role, Assistant Commissioner Playl oversees the Division of Workforce Services which is responsible for implementation of federal and state workforce development programs which support the Tennessee public workforce system, including Titles I and III of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Over the course of his career, Assistant Commissioner Playl has served in various local and state leadership roles focusing on career education and workforce training. Playl is the former Senior Director of the Division of College, Career and Technical Education at the Tennessee Department of Education and Tennessee’s State Director for Career and Technical Education (CTE). He also previously served as Director of CTE and as a high school administrator for Bristol Tennessee City Schools in Bristol, TN, as the Northeast Tennessee Regional CTE Consultant for the Tennessee Department of Education, and as a high school educator and coach with Knox County Schools in Knoxville, TN.

Assistant Commissioner Playl is actively involved with national workforce and educational boards, committees, and working groups, including the NASWA –Employment and Training Committee, serving as co-chair for the committee’s Registered Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning Affinity Group.

A lifelong Tennessean, Assistant Commissioner Playl lives in Nashville, TN with his wife, Whitney, and their two sons, Grayson and Anderson.

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Scott Powell, Ph.D., Director, Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives

Scott Powell is the director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives within the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, as well as the Chief Data Officer for the State of Michigan. As director, Scott and his team lead state efforts to turn labor market data into actionable information for state and local workforce partners. He has over ten years of experience in facilitating evidence-based decision making, specializing in advanced analytics, program evaluation, and longitudinal data systems. Before taking on his current role, Scott served as the bureau’s director of research for over five years. Prior to joining the State of Michigan, he held appointments at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, where he developed multiple research projects for the State of New Jersey, as well as the University of Tennessee.

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Caroline Pratt, Operations Coordinator- UI Integrity Division, Connecticut Department of Labor

Caroline Pratt is the Director of the UI Integrity Division for the state of Connecticut Department of Labor.The Integrity Division encompasses BPC, BAM, UI Tech, TPS and Internal Security.In her 22+ years with the department, Caroline has worked in Merit Rating, GUIDE, Automation Support, BPC, and UI Operations and has been part of multiple automation projects as a business or testing lead.Caroline is also a proud member of NASWA’s UI Integrity Steering Committee.

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George Putnam

Dr. George Putnam, Director of Labor Market Information, Illinois Department of Employment Security

George Putnam, Ph.D., has worked in the labor market information field for nearly 30 years, and has served as the chief economic analyst for the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) for more than 20 years. He is currently Director of Labor Market Information. His most recent initiatives have been in the use of administrative data for statistical research and, in particular, establishing inter-agency data infrastructures for linking workforce outcomes to training and education.

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Helen Ramsden, Systems and Processing Section Chief, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

Helen Ramsden, Section Chief of the Systems and Processing Unit. I have worked with the State of Wisconsin-DWD UI for 22 years in multiple roles including claims specialist, claims lead worker, Adjustment and Special Programs worker, Business Analyst, Project Lead and product owner on the modernization project.

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Kshitiz Rastogi, Assistant Administrator, Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Kshitiz Rastogi is Assistant Administrator for the Workforce Insights, Research and Reporting Engine Division (WIRED) of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Rastogi is in charge of the Workforce Information Grant, Tennessee BLS programs, and technical support provided to all TDLWD internal divisions.

Rastogi began his career with the state of Tennessee in 2006 at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. He previously served in a variety of roles within the agency including BLS Programs Director, IT Director, Programmer Analysts Supervisor and Senior Programmer Analyst. Rastogi represents the states in his region as a member of the Occupational Employment and Wages Survey (OEWS) Policy Council.

Rastogi is a 2017 Graduate of LEAD Tennessee Alliance 7. He holds a degree in Computer Science, is a Certified Solution Developer, and a Scrum Master.

Rastogi enjoys cooking as a pastime. He likes experimenting with different dishes and cuisines. He makes some great grilled foods and Indian food, according to his children.

Renee Royston

Renee Royston, Modernization Director, Oregon Employment Department

Renee is a member of the Oregon Employment Department executive leadership team and is currently leading the agency’s Modernization Program as the Modernization Director. She has been a State of Oregon employee for over 27 years, leading state programs, initiatives and projects including the Oregon Employment Department’s Modernization Program (current) and Oregon Department of Revenue’s Core System Replacement project (2013-2016). She invests herself into developing emerging leaders and seeing others succeed. Renee loves the outdoors. Outside of work you’ll find her with her family enjoying Oregon’s beautiful wilderness, lakes, and hiking trails.

Jim Rzepkowski

James Rzepkowski, Assistant Secretary, Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning, Maryland Department of Labor

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.

Melanie Sampson

Melanie Sampson, Clear Language Lab Program Director, Literacy Works

Melanie Sampson is the Program Director of Clear Language Lab, a program of Literacy Works, a Chicago-based nonprofit. She has an M.A. in linguistics and more than 20 years of nonprofit experience that includes program administration, adult education instruction, and grants management. In her current role, she advocates for and shares expertise around plain language and information design to support nonprofits, government agencies, and others in more effectively and equitably serving communities. She works to make clear, accessible, human-centered communication the norm by prioritizing community voices in content creation. She is also a long-time volunteer and board member of Chicago Books to Women in Prison.

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Michael Sanders, Fraud Investigator, Virginia Employment Commission

In his 13 years with the Virginia Employment Commission as a Fraud Investigator Michael has worked on a variety of fraud scheme investigations, worked as a liaison US DOL OIG, US DHSI and other federal and local agencies to develop and investigate fraudulent claims and been appointed to the VEC’s UI Integrity Taskforce. Additionally, he has been heavily involved with many projects including designing and implementing the State Directory of New Hire program, Virginia Unemployment Insurance System (VUIS), State Department of Corrections Crossmatch and Fraud Analytics Tool. Michael is currently working on enhancements to the Fraud Data Analytics Tool and VUIS claims management system to identify and shutdown fraudulent claims as well as implementation of the ICON Prison Crossmatch.

Scott B. Sanders

Scott B. Sanders, President and CEO, NASWA

Scott B. Sanders has been the President and CEO of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) since October 2014. He manages the association of state administrators who handle workforce training, unemployment insurance, employment services, employment statistics, labor market information programs and veteran reemployment in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and US Territories. The association provides advocacy at the national level for a more effective workforce system, and engages with the US Department of Labor, employers and the public.

He previously served as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and was a member of the cabinet of Governor Michael Pence and Governor Mitchell Daniels. DWD managed and implemented training and employment programs for Hoosiers, collaborated on regional economic growth initiatives for Indiana, coordinated the adult education system, and oversaw the unemployment insurance system. He was also involved in the launching of JAG in Indiana in 2007.

Scott served on American Workforce Policy Advisory Board from February 2019-January 2021, and also serves on the boards of the LMI Institute (Chair 2020-2021) and the UWC Foundation.

Scott also has over 20 years of private sector experience prior to his role at DWD.

Scott earned his master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management and his bachelor’s degree from Miami University.

John Savage

John SavageRegional Administrator, USDOL/VETS

John Savage is the Regional Administrator for the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service’s eight-state Atlanta Region, which represents the highest veteran population density of any DOL region in the country. In this capacity, John oversees $45 million in program funding to prepare transitioning service members for civilian employment in meaningful careers, provide individualized career services to veterans with significant barriers to employment, protect the employment and reemployment rights of service members, and promote veterans to the business community, educating them on the unique qualifications veterans bring to the table. A native of upstate New York, John joined the U.S. Army in 1978, serving around the world in the Infantry and Military Intelligence Corps, including service in the first Gulf War. After retiring in 1998, John began his civilian career as a Local Veterans’ Employment Representative promoting veteran employment and served in successive leadership positions. In 2003, then-Governor Ted Strickland appointed John to lead the Ohio Bureau of Veterans Services. John managed over $10 million in annual veterans’ employment and training funding and implemented several state programs which helped thousands of Ohio veterans gain meaningful employment. John joined the Department of Labor in 2007 as a grants specialist in the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service’s Chicago Regional Office. More recently, he served as the Michigan State Director for Veterans’ Employment and Training (DVET), and Deputy Regional Administrator for the Atlanta Region. John holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toledo (magna cum laude), and currently resides in Austell, Georgia.

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Darryl Scott

Darryl Scott, Director, Delaware Department of Labor, Division of Unemployment Insurance

Darryl Scott has served since March 2019 as the Director of the Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance. Before that role, he was a Director, Global Account Operations and Account Management for Sitel, a global business process management services provider. Darryl directed operations of more than 1,000 associates in that role, providing customer engagement services.

Mr. Scott served in the Delaware General Assembly from 2008 to 2014. During his tenure in the Legislature, he was an advocate for public education and privacy rights. Two of his most significant legislative accomplishments are the creation of the Inspire Scholarship Program, which provides Delaware students tuition assistance for up to six semesters to attend Delaware State University, and the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act, which authorizes fiduciaries to access and control the digital assets and digital accounts of an incapacitated person.

Mr. Scott’s strong ties to the community can be seen in his volunteer activities. He serves as a board member for Reading Assist Institute, Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence, and in an advisory role to Delaware Campaign for Achievement Now (DelawareCAN) and the Rodel Foundation.

Mr. Scott earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Eastern Kentucky University, studying Economics and Marketing. He and his wife Carol live in Dover and have two sons.

Becky Shaffer

Becky Shaffer, Communications Director, Kansas Department of Labor

Becky Shaffer is the Communication Director for the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL), responsible for leading the agencies communication strategy. In this role, Becky oversees the development of material, coordinating media responses, managing press outreach, and guiding external and internal communications within her team.

Becky has over 10 years of communication experience, including eight years with a Field Marketing Organization, focusing on business and event project management.

Ms. Shaffer holds a Bachelor of Science in Family Studies and Human Services and a Master of Science in Academic Advising from Kansas State University. She resides in Topeka, Kansas with her husband, stepson, and daughter.

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Bob Sheets, Fellow, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Bob Sheets is a Fellow at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Research Professor at the George Washington Institute of Public Policy. He focuses his work on federal and state education and workforce development policy and labor market information. He currently is working on the Chamber Foundation’s JEDx initiative and related Chamber Foundation initiatives focused on improving the development and use of jobs and workforce data.

Suzanne Simonetta

Suzanne Simonetta, Director, Division of Performance Management, USDOL Employment & Training Department, Office of UI

Suzanne Simonetta is the Director of the Division of Performance Management in the Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA’s) Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI). In addition to the permanent performance management programs, reporting functions, integrity initiatives, and technology support activities, she is currently overseeing work regarding the UI equity-related grants under the American Rescue Plan Act and improper payment rate estimation for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Previously, Ms. Simonetta led ETA’s Policy, Legislation, and Regulations Division, with her work focusing on the UI-related provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms. Simonetta led the Division of Legislation in OUI during the Great Recession and worked on a variety of initiatives including development and implementation of the UI provisions in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

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Ken Smith

Ken Smith, President, Jobs for America's Graduates

Mr. Kenneth M. Smith serves as President and CEO of Jobs for America’s Graduates, Inc. (JAG), the nation’s largest, most consistently applied model of high school retention and school-to-career transition for high-risk young people of great promise.

In 1979, Mr. Smith worked with Governor Pete du Pont of Delaware on the design of the first statewide test of the JAG Model and has served as President and CEO since its inception. JAG currently serves 75,000 young people annually, in more than 1,450 high schools, middle schools, and out-of-school programs in 39 states. Over 1.4 million youth have been connected to JAG throughout its 40-year history.

The non-profit JAG National Board of Directors is chaired by Governor John Bel Edwards of Louisiana. It includes among its 50 members—fourteen Governors and several executives of major corporations and business and community organizations.

In recognition of his knowledge of national employment and training issues, three Presidents have appointed Mr. Smith to national commissions. He was appointed in 1981 and again in 1983 by President Reagan as Chairman of the National Commission for Employment Policy. Designed to analyze the full range of government policy related to employment, the Commission continues with a $2 million annual appropriation and a 15-member professional staff. Mr. Smith also accepted an appointment by President Reagan to the National Advisory Council on Vocational Education, where he had previously served under appointment by President Ford. President Nixon appointed Mr. Smith as Vice Chairman of the National Advisory Council on the Education of Disadvantaged Children for the period 1973-76.

Mr. Smith is also Chairman and Chief Executive of Strategic Partnerships LLC. Prior to founding JAG, Mr. Smith served as staff aide to President Nixon (1969-70); as Director of Special Projects for the Distributive Education Clubs of America; and founder and President of 70,0001 Ltd., a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping high school dropouts obtain employment. Thereafter, he served in a new post as Senior Advisor to the Governor of Delaware on all activities related to education at the secondary and postsecondary levels. During this period, he chaired the Commission of the Future of Education in Delaware and was nominated to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Delaware Technical College.

Mr. Smith serves as a Trustee of the America’s Promise Alliance, founded in 1997 with General Colin Powell as Chairman and chaired today by Alma Powell, is a cross-sector partnership of more than 300 corporations, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and advocacy groups that are passionate about improving lives and changing outcomes for children.

Mr. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the American University School of International Service. He resides with his wife in Sarasota, Florida. His daughters, Jennifer and Tara, reside in Washington, D.C. and New York City respectively in pursuit of their careers.

Julie Su

Julie Su, Deputy Secretary of Labor

Julie Su was appointed by President Biden to serve as the deputy secretary of labor and confirmed by the Senate on July 13, 2021. The deputy secretary serves as the de-facto chief operating officer for the department, overseeing its workforce, managing its budget and executing the priorities of the secretary of labor.

Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Labor, Deputy Secretary Su served as the secretary for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. The LWDA enforces workplace laws, combats wage theft, ensures health and safety on the job, connects Californians to quality jobs and career pathways, and administers unemployment insurance, workers compensation and paid family leave.

Su is a nationally recognized expert on workers' rights and civil rights who has dedicated her distinguished legal career to advancing justice on behalf of poor and disenfranchised communities and is a past recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant.

Sarah Swanson

Sarah Swanson, Director of Strategic Engagement, Montana Department of Labor and Industry

Julie Tappendorf

Julie Tappendorf, Government Attorney

Julie currently serves as City Attorney for Lake Forest and Park Ridge, and Village Attorney for Glenview, Gilberts, and Lindenhurst. She is counsel to the Glencoe Police Pension Board and numerous Illinois municipal libraries and library districts. She also serves as special counsel to government clients on FOIA, land use, and related matters.

Julie is co-chair of Ancel Glink's land use practice. She is editor of Ancel Glink Today, an e-newsletter distributed to firm clients twice each month. Julie is also the author of the local government blog, Municipal Minute, where she writes about current cases, laws, and other topics of interest to local government officials and employees.

Prior to her law career, Julie served for eight years in the United States Army, Military Intelligence Branch, as a Korean cryptologic-linguist.

Jennie Taylor

Jennie Taylor, Gold Star Wife

Jennie Taylor is the widow of Army Major Brent Taylor, who was killed in Afghanistan by a member of the Afghan security forces in 2018. The National Guard officer was on his fourth year-long tour at the time. At the time of his death, Major Taylor was also the mayor of North Ogden, Utah, and the father of seven children – the youngest less than a year old. Jennie has since started the Major Brent Taylor Foundation and was appointed a civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army in Utah.

Deniece Thomas

Deniece Thomas, Deputy Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Deniece Thomas is Deputy Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Thomas is responsible for the oversight of the Workforce Services, Adult Education, and WIRED divisions.  

Appointed Assistant Commissioner of Workforce Services division in December 2018, Thomas began her career with the state of Tennessee in 2007 at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. She previously served in a variety of roles within the agency including Workforce Services Director 1, Workforce Services Director 2, Employment Security Manager 1, Employment Manager 3, and Employment Security Interviewer Supervisor. Thomas is a member of the National Association of State Agencies (NASWA) Board of Directors since September 2018, member of the National Employment and Training Committee and Veterans since 2015 and she serves on the National Apprenticeship Workgroup. Additionally, she also serves as the State Workforce Liaison for the National Governor’s Association since January 2018, the National Association of State Workforce Association, the Governor’s Economic Development Council and the State Workforce Board.  

Thomas is a 2014 Graduate of LEAD Tennessee Alliance 5. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Civic Leadership from Lipscomb University in Nashville and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alabama Birmingham. She is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 

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Katie Thurber, General Counsel, Nebraska Department of Labor

Katie S. Thurber is General Counsel with the Nebraska Department of Labor. In addition to her role as General Counsel, she serves as the Department's legislative liaison and oversees the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Tribunal, the Benefit Accuracy Measurement Unit, and the Collections Unit. . Thurber has been with the Nebraska Department of Labor for ten years. Prior to becoming General Counsel in 2016, she worked for the Department as a law clerk, a hearing officer, and an attorney.

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Todd Timmons, Chief Legal Officer, South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce

Todd Timmons serves as our Chief Legal Officer. He provides strategic counsel to the Executive Director on high profile, mission critical challenges. Todd heads the agency’s Office of General Counsel, which provides legal solutions to the agency, represents the agency in court, and maintains the Equal Opportunity program for the workforce system in South Carolina. Todd’s role also includes leading the Appeals, Human Resources, and Governmental Affairs teams.

Todd started his career with Ogletree Deakins, an international labor and employment law firm with offices in 31 states and 5 countries. He also worked briefly for the United States Air Force, where he practiced law in the Judge Advocate General’s Office supporting the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base. Todd is the immediate past Board President of Senior Resources, Inc., a Richland County non-profit serving the county’s vulnerable senior citizens through Meals on Wheels and other programs. He is also a volunteer firefighter with the Columbia-Richland Fire Department.

Nicolas Toth

Nicholas Toth, Director, Office of Apprenticeship, New Jersey Department of Labor

Nicholas Toth currently serves as Director of the New Jersey Office of Apprenticeship in the Governor Murphy Administration where, over the past four years, he has overseen the development and implementation of the New Jersey Apprenticeship Network. In his role as Director, Nicholas manages a project team overseeing several grant programs focused on growing registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in the state. Prior to joining NJ Labor, Nicholas served in the Obama Administration as Special Assistant to United States Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, and as Policy Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Policy. Nicholas holds a Bachelor of Science and Master’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.

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Jim Van Erden

Jim Van Erden, NASWA Senior Advisor, NASWA


Demetria Veasy

Demetria Veasy, Assistant Director of Workforce Development and Services, Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development

As the daughter of a U.S. Army Veteran, Demetria moved to Alaska in November 1988, and has been an Alaskan resident for almost 34 years. She has served as a State of Alaska employee for 20 years, with 12 out of those 20 years being with the Department of Labor & Workforce Development. She has worked in multiple positions within the Department, and in January 2022 started in her new role as Assistant Director of Workforce Development and Services. As an agent of the State, Demetria has provided support to many individuals in successfully achieving their career goals. Due to her broad scope of work within the Department, she is often called on to give presentations and facilitate trainings. Demetria has a passion for helping people, and takes pride in the work she’s doing as a Workforce Development Professional.

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Kim Vitelli

Kim Vitelli, Administrator, Office of Workforce Investment, USDOL, ETA

Kim Vitelli is the Administrator of the DOL Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Workforce Investment, where she oversees formula and competitive grant programs that help people find employment and advance in careers. Her office is responsible for $4.6 billion annually in grants that implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and multiple competitive programs such as YouthBuild, the Reentry Employment Opportunities program, Strengthening Community Colleges grants, and the Indian and Native American Program.

Prior to joining ETA in 2004 as a Presidential Management Fellow, Kim worked as an Economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and an IT Systems Administrator at the British Embassy in South Korea. She has a B.A. in Economics and International Studies from American University, a Master’s in Public Policy from George Washington University, and completed executive education at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons, and cheers for the Washington Spirit and Everton soccer clubs.

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Renita Williams

Renita Ward-Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Louisiana Workforce Commission

For nearly 20 years, Renita Ward-Williams has been a dedicated public servant. Her career of public service began in the 1990s as legislative intern to state Representative Jimmy D. Long, Sr. (relative of former Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long) and in higher education administration. Her work includes state, federal, and nonprofit corporation work, having served as Deputy Secretary of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Unemployment Insurance Administration, Chief of UI Support, Administrative Law Judge, Senior UI SME, CEO (interim)and COO of the Louisiana Office of Group Benefits, Recruiter, and Ethics Investigator. One of her ethics investigations still stands as the largest fine levied in Louisiana history.

Ward-Williams serves as vice-chair of NASWA’s UI Committee and has previous tenures as chair and vice-chair of the IB subcommittee. While UI Director, she introduced the concept of unannounced misclassification audits. For their efforts, her team earned the Performance Excellence in Tax Operations award and established several best practices.

Ward-Williams holds a juris doctor from Southern University Law Center and a mediation certification from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

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Dorothy Weaver

Dorothy Weaver, Director of Communications, South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce

Dorothy Weaver is the Director of Communications for the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW). She is responsible for transforming business goals into strategic communications plans, overseeing the plan’s execution, and collaborating with the business team to measure results and effectiveness. Prior to her time with DEW, Weaver worked as a communications leader in agency, nonprofit, and private sectors across diverse industries. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Mass Communication from the University of South Carolina, and she earned her Certified Public Manager Credential in May 2020 from the State of South Carolina.

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Rachel Weir, Economist, Bureau of Labor Statistics, USDOL

Rachel Weir is an Economist in the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages Program at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. She is currently leading the BLS efforts to collect and use Wage Record data. Rachel has been with the Bureau for over 20 years and has a depth of knowledge in QCEW data collection and editing.

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Christina West, Deputy Administrator, Employment & Training, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

Christina is a Wyoming native and has devoted her career to helping others. This is her passion! Christina has spent over 20 years serving the community and has worked in various settings, which have included, youth residential treatment centers, Department of Family Services, Job Corps and the Department of Workforce Services.

Christina is the Employment and Training Deputy Administrator for the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. She works with all of the17 Workforce Centers in Wyoming and is devoted to helping staff provide excellent customer service while strengthening the employment and training services provided through varies federal and state programs.

Christina has established her reputation for building relationships and epitomizes integrity, energy, hard work, commitment, and collaboration with her team and other community partners.

Christina holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Psychology from the Park University. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family.

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Patsy Westcott, Division Director, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Patsy serves as the Director of the Division of Employment and Training Services with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Services. Patsy started her career with the Department as an unemployment insurance claims specialist and has 29 years of experience in the delivery of unemployment insurance, workforce development and workforce services. Prior to her appointment as the Director, she was the Assistant Director with specific oversight of the administration of Alaska’s Unemployment Insurance Program. Before working for the Department, Patsy spent 11 years in the finance industry as a lending officer and manager of a financial institution.

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson, Ph.D., Associate Director of Economic and Workforce Development, Great Cities Institute

Matt Wilson is an Associate Director of the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he leads the Economic and Workforce Development program. His research interests are in place-based economic development, neighborhood change and revitalization, labor markets, and job quality. His recent work has examined inequalities in the distribution of covid relief funds as part of the Paycheck Protection Program, evaluated uneven patterns of investment activity in the federal Opportunity Zone program, and explored institutional possibilities to upgrade job quality and business viability in the manufacturing industry. He has co-produced a series of reports highlighting issues of chronic and concentrated joblessness amongst young people in Chicago and works with policy advocates to increase funding and enhance youth employment programs in Illinois. Matt earned his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Master of Urban Planning and Policy (MUPP) and BA in Urban and Public Affairs degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Li-Ann Yamashiro, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Labor Division, Hawaii Department of the Attorney General

Li-Ann Yamashiro is a graduate of Punahou High School, University of California, Berkeley, and University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She worked in private practice for about 5 years in San Francisco before joining the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General where she has been with the Labor Division representing the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations for the last 28 years. and as the Supervisor of the Division for the last four years. Playing pickleball once a week has helped get her through the demands as a result of the pandemic.

Carrie Yeats

Carrie Yeats, Vice President, Communications and Operations, NASWA

Carrie Yeats, NASWA’s Vice President of Communications and Operations, oversees NASWA’s partnership on the National Labor Exchange and the NLx Research Hub. She also leads the strategic direction for critical member services, NASWA Learning and the Knowledge Exchange Library, as well as communications, internal information technology, and human resources.

Carrie joins NASWA with almost twenty years of broad leadership experience and most recently was a Managing Director with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) following her role as Director, State and Regional Workforce Solutions with Maher & Maher, an affiliate of AIR. In her role with AIR, she co-led their Workforce Policy and Programs Practice Hub and served as Infrastructure and Culture Functional Group Lead for the Workforce Program Area. In her role at Maher as the Director of State and Regional Workforce Solutions, she managed the operations of the State and Regional Practice and led a team of key contributors working on projects in training design and delivery, asset mapping, strategic planning, regional planning, sector strategy development, target industry analysis, organizational benchmarking, and competitiveness assessments.

Carrie also held practitioner and management roles in several economic development organizations and was Vice President of Economic Development at AngelouEconomics, an economic development and site selection consultancy.

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Mary York

Mary York, Director, Outreach and Employer Initiatives Division, Texas Workforce Commission

Mary York serves as Division Director for Outreach and Employer Initiatives at the Texas Workforce Commission. In this position she not only provides leadership and direction to engage educators, employers, business organizations and the economic development community in the ongoing development of a customer-focused, market-driven workforce system, she also oversees all communication and outreach efforts for the agency.

Prior to joining the TWC, Mary York served within Governor Greg Abbott’s Economic Development and Tourism Office, marketing Texas as one of the world’s premier business locations and travel destinations. As Deputy Director from January 2016-September 2020, York worked closely with the Executive Director to provide leadership to Business and Community Development, Texas Tourism, the Economic Development Finance Office, Texas Workforce Investment Council, Texas Music Office, and Texas Film Commission.

Preceding her time in Governor Abbott’s administration, York served as the Administrator for Marketing and International Trade within the Trade and Business Development Division at the Texas Department of Agriculture, and led a team promoting Texas products and communities both domestically and abroad, working closely with businesses, trade groups, and local government representatives. She had previously served in various roles at the Texas Department of Agriculture, including astheState Coordinator of Marketing Campaigns.

York earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University. She lives in Georgetown with her husband and their two children.

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Marcus Zerio

Marcus Zerio, Senior Consulting Manager, Revenue Solutions, Inc.

An experienced government system expert, Marcus has worked for more than 16 years in the development and growth of multiple integrated tax systems across public agencies throughout the U.S. With his unemployment insurance (UI) expertise, he has helped streamline Connecticut’s Department of Labor fraud detection process, catching over $100 million in fraudulent claims. Today, his passion for technology leads him to serve as a Consulting Manager at RSI, the trusted provider of software and services that enable digital transformation for governments.