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 Pathway 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: ASCENT: Infuses networking, mentors, and training on problem-solving to help students moving along our healthcare career pathway to obtain the best possible job.
  • Target Population: Anyone low-skilled, interested in health
  • Industry: Healthcare
  • 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: Teaches automotive skills to low income adults with barriers to employment, while providing supports, a certification and vehicle by end of the program.
  • Target Population: Anyone low-skilled, interested in automotive technology
  • Industry: Automotive
  • Team Lead: Lisa Young
  • Team Coach: Todd Hunter
  • Lead Organization: Nicolet Area Technical College
  • Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Team 2—Nicolet: Drive to Thrive

Team 3

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

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Provides a response to Boston’s surging demand for home health aides and high vacancy rates by assisting adults to advance along a health pathway through coaching and mentoring.
  • Target Population: Boston residents of public or publically assisted housing
  • Industry: Healthcare
  • 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: Uses a two-generation approach to provide adults with a nationally acclaimed advanced manufacturing certificate.
  • Target Population: Any low-skilled adults, including parents of youth in high school program
  • Industry: Advanced Manufacturing
  • Team Lead: Teresa Palaggi
  • Team Coach: Todd Hunter
  • Lead Organization: District 214
  • Location: Arlington Heights, Illinois

Team 4—D214 Future Ready

Team 5

HIVE (Hub of Internet-based Vocations and Education)

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Provides a face-to-face office, plus onsite supervisory/technical support as well as career training and wrap around supports in an under-resourced, rural area where internet-based jobs thrive.
  • Target Population: Adults with disabilities as well as Native American, Hispanic, and white adults
  • Industry: Media, Hospitality, Entrepreneurship
  • 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 5—HIVE

Team 6

Carlos Rosario Construye DC-Plus

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Prepares Latino construction professionals for entry into apprenticeship programs and further education by using a Spanish-language blended learning program.
  • Target Population: Latino adults working on GED or English skills
  • Industry: Construction
  • Team Lead: Raul Medrano
  • Team Coach: Debra Mills
  • Lead Organization: Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School for Adults
  • Location: Washington, D.C.

Team 6—Carlos Rosario Construye DC-Plus

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
  • Team Coach: Melissa Sadler-Nitu
  • Lead Organization: Strive Partnership
  • Locations: Cinncinatti, Ohio and Northern, Kentucky

Team 7—PASS

Team 8

Piece of Cake Bakers

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Creating a Baking and Sugar Arts Collaborative Training Program to provide persons with disabilities the life skills to earn a living instruction, through our vibrant labor-management partnership
  • Target Population: Adults with Disabilities
  • Industry: Baking
  • Team Lead: Robin Matusow
  • Team Coach: Melissa Sadler-Nitu
  • Lead Organization: Piece of Cake Bakers
  • Location: Miami, Florida

Team 8—Piece of Cake Bakers

Team 9


  • Snapshot of Innovation: Includes trauma informed practice as an important social emotional aspect of our adult education classes so that indigenous students advocate for themselves in the business world.
  • Target Population: At-risk Native American adult students
  • Industry: Multiple
  • Team Lead: Stephenie Rittberger
  • Team Coach: Kathy Oleson-Tracey
  • Lead Organization: Career Learning Center of the Black Hills
  • Location: Rapid City, South Dakota

Team 9—Woksape

Team 10

Pathways to Prosperity

  • Snapshot of Innovation: Builds a pathway to credentialing, employment and stability for returning citizens with disabilities.
  • Target Population: Returning citizens with disabilities (including those on probation and those released without supervision)
  • Industry: Multiple
  • Team Lead: Jeffrey Abramowitz
  • Team Coach: Kathy Oleson-Tracey
  • Lead Organization: JEVS Human Services
  • Location: Philidelphia, Pennsylvania

Team 10—Pathways to Prosperity




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