The 2005 Class of Academy Fellows

The participants in the 2005 inaugural Academy class were known as the Marano Fellows, in honor of the late Cindy Marano.  Cindy Marano was a key leader in the field of sectoral workforce development and headed the National Network of Sector Partners until her death in April 2005. She played an integral role in the design of the Academy — envisioning its potential to make a significant contribution to the field's growth and development — and participated in the selection of the first class of fellows. It is our hope that the Academy will continue to reflect her wisdom and spirit.

The 2005 Marano Fellows came from organizations representing a variety of institutional types including: community- and faith-based organizations, business associations, labor-management partnerships, workforce development boards, community colleges and community development corporations. They are taking new knowledge and skills learned through the Academy back to enrich their local sectoral work in urban, suburban and rural locations across a range of sectors from health care to automobile manufacturing to biotechnology to the arts and more.

Kent Anderson North Central Texas Workforce Development Board North Central Texas Logistics
Colin Austin MDC, Inc.: Latino Pathways Initiative Charlotte and Greensboro, N.C. Health care, retail, public service, construction
Thomas Belski Employment Resources Inc. Cambridge, Mass. Health care/long-term care
Sylvia L. Beville Metro South/West Regional Employment Board Framingham, Mass. Health care/acute care
Andrew Brower The SOURCE Grand Rapids, Mich. Manufacturing
Joan T. Cook PTDA Educational Foundation National Industrial distribution
Sunita Cooke North Harris Montgomery Community College District North Houston Texas Health care/acute care
Susan Crandall The Women's Union Boston, Mass. Health care/long-term care
Sarah M. Eisinger Seedco: ArtBusiness Initiative New York, N.Y. Arts
Alan K. Ferguson Urban League of Greater Madison, Inc. Madison, Wisc. Medical administration
Erin Flynn Jewish Vocational Service Boston, Mass. Health care, financial services, hospitality
Heather Fredericks Washington State Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Washington State Various
Shawna Smith Gotreau Taller San Jose Santa Ana, Calif. Construction
Makini Hassan Rubicon Programs Inc. Richmond, Calif. Health care, biotechnology/life science
Helena Hillinga Haas Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County Seattle, Wash. Life sciences
Linda Nelson Thomas Shortman Training Fund/32BJ New York, N.Y. Building services, security
Enrique R. Orozco Urban Children's Coalition Denver, Colo. Manufacturing (chocolate)
Inna Pavlova JVS San Francisco, Calif. Health care, bioscience, retail/hospitality, business services
Lyric Seymore Southern Good Faith Fund Pine Bluff and Helena, Ark. Health care, manufacturing, business and education
Ted Stalnos Southeast Chicago Development Commission Chicago, Ill. Manufacturing
Mini Teli District 1199C Training & Upgrading Programs Philadelphia, Pa. Health care
Becky Thofson Workforce Development, Inc. Southeastern Minnesota Health care/long-term care
Daniel K. Youhas Shipbuilders Council of America Gulf Coast (and national) Shipbuilding
Michele A. Zieziula Regional Center for Workforce Excellence Northwest Pennsylvania Various

Academy participants' testimonials
One good way to get a sense of the Academy's value, is to hear from participants. Below, some members of the Academy's first class describe their experiences.

Participating in the Sector Skills Academy was a real benchmark in my career. On a professional level, I came away with valuable tools and experiences that changed my way of thinking about workforce development. On a personal level, I enjoyed time to think and reflect on leadership. I also found many new heroes among the top-rate presenters and my class of Fellows.

Colin Austin
Senior Associate, MDC, Inc.
Chapel Hill, N.C.

Through the year-long experience as a fellow in the Sector Skills Academy, I have developed new insights, skills, relationships and tools. The resources, speakers, exercises and case studies helped me to develop best practices and apply them in my own initiative. Additionally, the relationships I have developed with workforce professionals across the United States have inspired me and enabled me to understand the significant impact that sector initiatives can make when successful collaborations occur between a variety of stakeholders.

Sunny Cooke
Associate Vice Chancellor, Workforce Development
North Harris Montgomery Community College District
The Woodlands, Texas

Our state community and technical college system has organized Centers of Excellence targeting Washington's key sectors. For my work, this means I must reach out to business, labor and education in order to strategically implement training, products and services from our college and with our partner schools across the state. The Sector Skills Academy provides me with connections to national expertise, research, and best practices. I'm now working with leaders across the country also responding to the dynamic needs of their high-demand industries, and our exchange of ideas and innovations has helped me launch an effective initiative.

Heather Fredericks
Director, Center of Excellence for Construction
Renton Technical College
Renton, WA

The Aspen Institute Workforce Strategies Initiative, the National Network of Sector Partners, and Public/Private Ventures have designed a successful program that utilizes the expertise of recognized professionals to thoroughly and effectively design solutions to the most common employment problems.

What impressed me the most was the sense of community formed in the beginning of the first session. Getting labor, industry and education professionals together in the same venue is a daunting task; getting them to candidly discuss real employment concerns is even more difficult. These open discussions and sensible solutions will undoubtedly provide value to the shipbuilding and ship repair sector initiative currently underway.

Daniel Youhas
Manager, Government Affairs
Shipbuilders Council of America
Washington, D.C.

Through my experiences with the Sector Skills Academy I have developed new skills, relationships and tools to drive systemic change in workforce development for the people we serve. I have made connections with state workforce development officials, higher education institutions, business leaders, and industry organizations. The caliber of the Academy is top-notch. The speakers, exercises, learning, and networking will make you stretch yourself to achieve more than you thought possible. I highly recommend this program.

Becky Thofson
Area Manager, Workforce Development, Inc.
Albert Lea, Minn.

The Sector Skills Academy has given us an opportunity to learn from sector programs that are facing similar challenges.

The SSA has helped me focus on the strategic issues that are facing our initiative.

Joan T. Cook
Executive Director, PTDA Foundation
Clinton, Ohio

The Sector Skills Academy has connected me with an incredibly talented group of peers from across the country.

Linda Nelson
Director, Thomas Shortman Training Fund/32BJ
New York, N.Y.