Connecting Adult Education & Postsecondary Training to Promote Workforce Opportunity

This workshop will explore how adult education and postsecondary alignment promotes career-pathways. Explore how workforce development and integration initiatives are instrumental in developing industry-driven collaborations that create connections between employers, community colleges and nonprofits; learn best practices and the connections between organizations that provide workforce training and immigrant integration through contextualized and career-pathway learning models; and specific recommendations to engage in training models to assist students to enter and succeed in postsecondary education or the labor market. Speakers:

  • Aida Barragan, Executive Director, Building Skills Partnership, San Jose, CA -- Aida Cardenas graduated from UCLA and brings over 12 years of experience coordinating and directing educational and leadership development programs as well as organizing campaigns with janitors and other low-wage service workers. Aida’s leadership was crucial in bringing together representatives from several organizations and industry representatives, such as employers and building owners, which led to the expansion and creation of the statewide Building Skills Partnership. Aida, herself the daughter of Mexican immigrants who came to the United States as teenagers, says she recognized the value of education early on. She would like to see more skills and language training for low-wage, immigrant workers. The key, she says, is to look for opportunities that will benefit both workers and their employers. The benefits to society are significant. For example, when low-wage workers are trained to the point of winning promotions, they clear the way for new hires, which helps reduce unemployment.
  • Teresita Wisell, Executive Director, Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education, Valhalla, NY -- Teresita Wisell is the Vice President and Dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development at Westchester Community College, overseeing a broad portfolio of programs and services for both immigrants and native born students. She also serves as Executive Director of the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education (CCCIE), a national network of community colleges and leading professional and research organizations committed to strengthening and expanding programs and services for immigrants and leveraging the role that community colleges play in successful immigrant integration. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Spanish and an MBA in Marketing from Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Dr. Chito Cajayon, Vice Chancellor of Economic & Workforce Development, LA Community College District -- Dr. Chito Cajayon is the Vice Chancellor of the Los AngelesCommunity College District's (LACCD) Economic & Workforce Development Department. He brings close to 20 years of workforce and economic development experience to the district's nine community colleges, which he applies on a daily basis to develop local, regional, and statewide initiatives. His department works closely with all district colleges and provides support in procuring local, state and federal grants. In the last 4 years, Dr. Cajayon's assistance has exceeded $19 million dollars in workforce development-related grants and contracts. He is responsible for forming multiple industry-driven intermediaries and developing innovative contract education strategies that deploy technology-based solutions. He represents the district in local, state, and federal-level advocacy efforts. He has been instrumental in establishing national and international educational partnerships and is recognized as being a partnership developer for multiple regions across the state. Dr. Cajayon holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Cal State University-Long Beach, a Certification in website development, a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Cal State University-Dominguez Hills, and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Southern California.
  • Audry E. Dow, VP, External Affairs and Operations, The Campaign for College Opportunity, Los Angeles -- Audrey Dow currently serves as the Vice President of External Affairs and Operations for The Campaignfor College Opportunity.  She is responsible for leading a community engagement strategy for an unprecedented, statewide, bipartisan coalition that seeks to ensure a college education for millions of California students and a healthy economic future for the state.  She is also responsible for an all inclusive media campaign positioning higher education as a critical issue in California for all sectors. In 2010, her work helped secure passage of historic transfer reform legislation that will make it easier for community college students to transfer to the CSU system.  She also successfully launched the One Million More College Graduates by 2025 campaign, a public awareness campaign outlining higher education policy priorities for California’s Governor. Audrey is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Policy and Management.  She received her Master’s in Public Affairs with an emphasis in Domestic Policy, and a certificate in Urban Policy, from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.  She is a member of the Princeton Interview Committee for Southern California and an active member of Princeton’s Students and Alumni of Color.  She is a former fellow of the Women’s Policy Institute of the Women’s Foundation of California, serves on the Advisory Board of New Futuro and College Summit, is a member of the CSU African American Initiative, and recently served on the CEO for Cities National Talent Dividend Annual Conference steering committee.
  • Laura Barrera, President, LB Consulting -- Laura Barrera is a public and government relations expert with more than 20 years of experience. Ms. Barrera has worked for many high profiled elected officials including California State Controller John Chiang, State Assembly Member Marco A. Firebaugh, Los Angeles Councilmember Jose Huizar, and consulted on projects impacting real-estate development, construction, education, social services, environmental and transportation. She has worked with multiple corporations, municipalities, counties, school districts, nonprofit organizations and in multiple states on project and stakeholder engagement. She has a vast network of relationships with local, state, and federal elected officials, corporations, community leaders and is astute in strategic coalition building.Ms. Barrera earned a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from California State University, Humboldt, where she graduated with honors and was awarded the prestigious David Kalb Award for Excellence in Government Leadership. She also studied at Guangxi University in China. Her extensive community involvement includes serving on several nonprofit and private boards and volunteering with the East Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Girls Today, Women Tomorrow, Relay for Life and Hispanas Organized for Political Equality.