Our Teams

Challenging Communities to Innovate in Education




  • 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


  • Snapshot of Innovation: Automotive education, support, employment, and a reliable vehicle in a flexible, accessible, affordable delivery model.

  • Target Population: Any low-skilled adults, 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



  • Snapshot of Innovation: A long term employment and economic mobility strategy (collaborative) for Boston’s Home Health Aide Workforce.

  • Target Population: Boston adult residents of public or publicly 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


  • 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 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 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.

From left to right: Raul Medrano, Heather Tatton-Harris, Heather Ritchie, Sandra Gonzalez, Patricio Sanchez

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: Cincinnatti, Ohio and Northern, Kentucky

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 9–Woksape

  • 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 Olesen-Tracey

  • Location: Rapid City, South Dakota

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 adult 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 Olesen-Tracey

  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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