Our Teams

Engage, Educate, & Excel

The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), in partnership with the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) and the National Association of State Directors of Adult Education (NASDAE) will host the first-ever Minds That Move Us Adult Career Pathways Festival in Miami, Florida on August 6-8, 2019, where ten teams from around the country will pitch innovative education and training models that create social equity and economic mobility for youth and adult learners for a chance to win $100k! 

Team 1

ASCENT (Advancing Social Capital Through Enhanced Networks and Training)

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Increase social capital to help adult learners persist and succeed on a healthcare career pathway.
  • Target Population: Adult learners starting or moving along a healthcare career pathway
  • Industry: Healthcare
  • Team Lead: Katherine Vastine
  • Lead Organization: Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit
  • Key Partners: Central Susquehanna LPN Career Center, Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Geisinger Medical Center,
  • Team Coach: Suzi P. Shoemaker
  • Location: Bloomberg, Pennsylvania


(Left to right) Jennifer Noll, Sandie Fairman, Shannon Houtz, Katherine Vastine, Ashlee Bower, Georgiana Georgescu, and Timothy Campbell

Team 2

Nicolet: Drive To Thrive

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Automotive education, support, employment, and a reliable vehicle in a flexible, accessible, affordable delivery model.
  • Target Population: Anyone low-skilled, interested in automotive technology
  • Industry: Automotive Technology
  • Team Lead: Lisa Young
  • Lead Organization: Nicolet Area Technical College
  • Key Partners: Rhinelander GM, Eagle River Ford, American Family Insurance
  • Team Coach: Todd Hunter
  • Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Team 2—Nicolet: Drive to Thrive

(Left to right) Chris Kolasa, Toni Van Doren, and Lisa Young

Team 3

HEART ACHE (Healthcare Employment Access Recruitment and Training – Achieving Certifications for Health Employment)

  • Snapshot of Innovation: A long term employment and economic mobility strategy (collaborative) for Boston’s Home Health Aide Workforce.
  • Target Population: Boston residents of public or publically assisted housing
  • Industry: Healthcare
  • Team Lead: Nancy Carpenter
  • Lead Organization: Center for Community Health Education Research and Service, Inc./Northeastern University
  • Key Partner: Home Care Aide Council
  • Team Coach: Suzi P. Shoemaker
  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts


(Left to right) Sydney Axelrod, Shay Rainey, Alison Simmons, Bill Rawlinson, and Elmer Freeman

Team 4

D214 Future Ready

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Customized multi-level, industry-specific manufacturing and adult education classes for culturally rich and under-educated community adults.
  • Target Population: Any low-skilled adults, including parents of youth in high school program
  • Industry: Advanced Manufacturing
  • Team Lead: Teresa Palaggi & Karen Oswald
  • Lead Organization: District 214
  • Key Partners: D214 Wheeling High School, Symbol Training Institute, GCAMP-Golden Corridor Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, TMA- Technology and Manufacturing Association, Harper College
  • Team Coach: Todd Hunter
  • Location: Arlington Heights, Illinois

Team 4—D214 Future Ready

(Left to right) Jerry Cook, Tom Peters, Karen Oswald, Teresa Palaggi, and Julie Frost

Team 5

HIVE (Hub of Internet-based Vocations and Education)

  • Snapshot of Innovation: A co-working space combining training and support services so Taoseños can work global, thrive local.
  • Target Population: Rural Hispanic, Native American, and White adult learners interested in tech or entrepreneurial careers
  • Industry: Tech, Media, Entrepreneurship
  • Team Lead: Nina Gonzales
  • Lead Organization: Taos Education and Career Center at University of New Mexico-Taos
  • Key Partners: Kit Carson Electrical Co-operative, Taos Works, Town of Taos, Northern Area Local Workforce Development Board
  • Team Coach: Melissa Sadler-Nitu
  • Location: Taos, New Mexico

Team 5—HIVE

(Left to right) Hannah Smith, Glenda Sanchez, Judy Hofer, Erin Sanborn, Nina Gonzales, and Rose Reza

Team 6

Carlos Rosario Construye DC-Plus

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Upskilling LatinX construction professionals for career growth with a focus on safety and sustainable wages.
  • Target Population: Latinx adults working on GED or English skills
  • Industry: Construction
  • Team Lead: Raul Medrano
  • Lead Organization: Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School for Adults
  • Key Partners: Turner Construction Company, DC Hispanic Contractors Association, Latino Safety Professionals Association, University of the District of Columbia, Baker DC
  • Team Coach: Debra Mills
  • Location: Washington, D.C.

Team 6—Carlos Rosario Construye DC-Plus

(Left to right) Patricio Sanchez, Heather Tatton-Harris, Sandra Gonzalez, and Raul Medrano

Team 7

PASS (Purposeful Alignment toward Self-Sufficiency)

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Aligns 2 states’ disparate workforce systems by using regional meta-pathways to coordinate and leverage education, workforce and supports into an intuitive system for informed decision-making.
  • Target Population: African-American, Latinx and low-income adults with no postsecondary experience
  • Industry: Healthcare
  • Team Lead: Patricia Mahabir
  • Lead Organization: Strive Partnership
  • Key Partners:
  • Team Coach: Debra Mills
  • Locations: Cinncinatti, Ohio and Northern, Kentucky

Team 7—PASS

Team 8

Piece of Cake Bakers

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Unique instruction and a business collaborative to train and employ individuals with disabilities.
  • Target Population: Adults with disabilities
  • Industry: Baking
  • Team Lead: Robin Matusow
  • Lead Organization: Piece of Cake Bakers
  • Key Partners: Pinecrest Bakery, Medina Baking and Powder Products, Total Public Relations
  • Team Coach: Melissa Sadler-Nitu
  • Location: Miami, Florida

Team 8—Piece of Cake Bakers

(Left to right) Dr. Janice Hynes, Robin Matusow, Joan Schaeffer, and Edwin Rivera

Team 9


  • Snapshot of Innovation: Historical/additional trauma impact learners; collaborative supports, mentorship and small policy changes create thriving students/employees.
  • Target Population: At-risk Native American adult students
  • Industry: Multiple
  • Team Lead: Stephenie Rittberger
  • Lead Organization: Career Learning Center of the Black Hills
  • Key Partners: Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, Technology and Innovation In Education, Prosperity Initiative- John T. Vucurovich Foundation, Bush Community Innovation Grant Team, South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation
  • Team Coach: Kathy Oleson-Tracey
  • Location: Rapid City, South Dakota

Team 9—Woksape

(Left to right) Tracy Palecek, Stephenie Rittberger, Rhonda Leneaugh and Tamera Miyasato

Team 10

Pathways to Prosperity

  • Snapshot of Innovation: P2P, a comprehensive reentry program assisting returning citizens with disabilities find a pathway to success.
  • Target Population: Returning citizens with disabilities (including those on probation and those released without supervision)
  • Industry: Multiple
  • Team Lead: Jeffrey Abramowitz
  • Lead Organization: JEVS Human Services
  • Key Partners: HireAbility, Temple University
  • Team Coach: Kathy Oleson-Tracey
  • Location: Philidelphia, Pennsylvania

Team 10—Pathways to Prosperity

(Left to right) Jeff Booth, Kathy Tracey, Rachel Aucott, Pat Slowe, Clara Thompson, and Jeffrey Abramowitz

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