June 21 Minneapolis


Minneapolis Convening Graphic

Working Together Employers and Educators + Skills Gap Solutions

General consensus seems to agree that there is a disconnect between educators and employers while addressing skills gap concerns, boomers retiring, millennials career choices, employee retention and the often overlooked ready to work talent pool who have generally been upskilled or reskilled.

This 2nd roundtable event included leadership discussions, guidance and workshop to learn how some companies are working directly with training institutions and together, how they can help you understand your role, the opportunities you and your company have and to learn new approaches to hiring.

8:30 – 8:45 Welcome

Beverly M. Riddick, Executive Director, Ready To Work Business Collaborative

8:45 – 9:15 Keynote

Guy Finne, Manager Human Resources, Mayo Clinic


9:15 – 9:45 -  Core Competencies – Core Score – Assess –  Hire – Train – Advances, 
Jamai Blivin, CEO, Innovate+Educate

9:45 – 10:15 - Career and Technical Education and Middle Skills Training – Addressing the Skills of Tomorrow With Education Alternatives
Mary Toner, Advisory Coordinator, CTE Business Career Pathways Academy
Karin McCabe, Outreach Director, McGough Construction


Educator & Employer Panel Discussions

10:30 – 11:15  4-Year College Partnership
Moderator: Angela Lurie, Sr. Regional Vice President, Robert Half

Craig Yolitz, Vice President Operations – Thomson Reuters
Kevin Tharp, Program Dir. for the B.S. in Digital Marketing Technology – Univ. of Wisconsin-Stout

Dena Lerra, Incumbent Program Manager and
Katherine Decelles, Academic and Career Coach – Partners Healthcare

Melissa Goldberg, Senior Workforce Strategist – College for America at Southern New Hampshire University

11:15 – 12:00  Community College Partnerships

Moderator: Josh Copus, VP & COO, National Association of Workforce Boards

Lori Tapani, Co-President/Owner – Wyoming Machine
Heidi Braun, Director of Workforce Development – Pine Technical College

Stephanie Royal, Exec. Dir. of Workforce Partnerships – LaGuardia Comm. College
Tom Ogletree, Director of Social Impact – General Assembly


11:15 – 12:00  Community College Partnerships

Moderator: Michelle Ufford, Executive Director, NE Minnesota Office of Job Training

Melanie Augustin, ZipCode Wilmington

Brian Hancock, Executive Director, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health – N.J.

Martha Laboissiere, Program Director, McKinsey – Generation Initiative

1:30 – 2:00  Panel: Employer-led Social Responsibility: Candidate Pipeline and Retention Improvement

Janette Smrcka, Information Technology Director, Mall of America

Nicolle Mills, Executive Director, Oasis

Worklab Innovations – Sustainable Workforce

Mindy Ysasi, Executive Director – The SOURCE

2:00 – 2:30  The Value in Apprenticeships

Daniel Villao – Department of Labor


2:45 – 4:30 Workshop: How to Build Collaborative Plans Between Employers and Educators

Employer Plan:

  • how to approach an educator
  • how to articulate workforce needs both internally and externally
  • willingness to invest time and dollars
  • willingness to calculate investment ROI

Employer Plan:

  • how to approach an employer
  • how to navigate compliance regulations
  • willingness to consider federal and state funding options

4:30 - 5:30 Networking




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Ready To Work Business Collaborative works cooperatively to help employers develop hiring best practices that target the long-term unemployed, underemployed, people with disabilities, military veterans, and Opportunity Youth.

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