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), met with 10 teams from around the country in Nashville, Tennessee on August 7-9, 2018 to formally kick off the process of designing state of the art, replicable career pathways programs for adults 26 and over. Over a three-year period, the ten teams will partake in a Design Camp culminating in a Career Pathways Festival to pitch their proposed solutions with a chance to win $100,000!

Team 1

ASCENT (Advancing Social Capital Through Enhanced Networks and Training)

  • Snapshot of Innovation: ASCENT: Nurturing people’s social capital to raise and maintain their career potential.
  • Target Population: Parents, including those with disabilities, by employing a two-generation approach
  • Team Lead: Katherine Vastine
  • Team Coach: Suzi P. Shoemaker
  • Lead Organization: Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit
  • Location: Milton, Pennsylvania


Team 2

Nicolet: Drive To Thrive

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Providing comprehensive resources (including a vehicle to service and keep when they complete the first year of an automotive pathway) and reducing barriers to help 10 students complete an Automotive Technician credential.
  • Target Population: Unemployed, under-employed, and low-skilled adults
  • Team Lead: Lisa Young
  • Team Coach: Todd Hunter
  • Lead Organization: Nicolet Area Technical College
  • Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin


Team 3

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

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Transforming our home health aide training into a workers’ collaborative for sustainable career growth opportunities.
  • Target Population: Under-employed and unemployed residents of public and publically assisted housing in Boston
  • Team Lead: Nancy Carpenter
  • Team Coach: Suzi P. Shoemaker
  • Lead Organization: Center for Community Health Education Research and Service, Inc./Northeastern University
  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts


Team 4

D214 Future Ready

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Transforming lives by preparing adults for high-wage in-demand manufacturing careers through partnerships and training.
  • Target Population: Adults in need of basic education, hands-on experience and guidance to access manufacturing jobs, including parents of students enrolled in the district’s existing manufacturing pathway
  • Team Lead: Teresa Palaggi
  • Team Coach: Todd Hunter
  • Lead Organization: District 214
  • Location: Arlington Heights, Illinois


Team 5

HIVE (Hub of Internet-based Vocations and Education)

  • Snapshot of Innovation: JOIN A HIVE: Co-working/learning Hub for students to succeed in Internet-based Vocations and Education.
  • Target Population: Native American, Hispanic, and White adults
  • Team Lead: Nina Gonzales
  • Team Coach: Melissa Sadler-Nitu
  • Lead Organization: Taos Education and Career Center at University of New Mexico-Taos
  • Location: El Prado, New Mexico


Team 6

Carlos Rosario Construye DC-Plus

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Creating a pathway to financial stability via a career in the construction industry for Adult ELL’s.
  • Target Population: Adult education learners
  • Team Lead: Raul Medrano
  • Team Coach: Debra Mills
  • Lead Organization: Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School for Adults
  • Location: Washington, D.C.


Team 7

PASS (Purposeful Alignment toward Self-Sufficiency)

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Building region-wide bridges that guide all adults across education and workforce systems to in-demand careers.
  • Target Population: African-American, Latino, and low-income adults with no post-sec credentials
  • Team Lead: Patricia Mahabir
  • Team Coach: Melissa Sadler-Nitu
  • Lead Organization: Strive Partnership
  • Locations: Cinncinatti, Ohio and Northern, Kentucky


Team 8

Hospitality Training Academy (HTA)

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Advancing hospitality career opportunities for disenfranchised adults utilizing innovative, blended English and technical skills instruction, through our vibrant labor-management partnership.
  • Target Population: Minority, low-income, non-native English speakers
  • Team Lead: Adine Forman
  • Team Coach: Melissa Sadler-Nitu
  • Lead Organization: Los Angeles Hospitality Training Academy
  • Location: Los Angeles, California


Team 9


  • Snapshot of Innovation: Native American adult education learners finding success by confronting past traumas, promoting cultural awareness, and building community capacity en route to career opportunities
  • Target Population: At-risk Native American adult students
  • Team Lead: Stephenie Rittberger
  • Team Coach: Kathy Oleson-Tracey
  • Lead Organization: Career Learning Center of the Black Hills
  • Location: Rapid City, South Dakota


Team 10

Pathways to Prosperity

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Building a better pathway to credentialing, employment and stability post-release for returning citizens with disabilities.
  • Target Population: Returning citizens on probation with disabilities
  • Team Lead: Jeffrey Abramowitz
  • Team Coach: Kathy Oleson-Tracey
  • Lead Organization: JEVS Human Services
  • Location: Philidelphia, Pennsylvania



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