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NAWB Forum 2019

At a Glance

This premier event for workforce system professionals will feature JFF led sessions, workshops, and conversations about navigating change.
Date March 23 - March 26, 2019
Location Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20009

Preparing Americans for the future of work is a defining issue of our generation. For industries experiencing change, developing talent is critical to staying competitive. Workers, meanwhile, are calling for training to help them secure quality careers. These pressures are creating new compacts between employers and workers and new responsibilities for talent developers—particularly, workforce boards.

Join us at NAWB Forum 2019, the premier event for workforce system professionals, on March 23-26 in Washington, D.C.

This year, JFF joins the event as an Exhibitor Sponsor, bringing our 35-year history of deep programmatic and policy work across education and workforce systems to address how workforce professionals are adapting to forces of change. We’re particularly excited to share promising practices that we’re seeing at workforce organizations as they evolve, adopt new training methods and strategies, and leverage technology to achieve greater efficiencies, serve more workers, and have more community-wide impact.

JFF Pre-Sessions

Integrating Technology Into Workforce Programs and Services

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Globalization 4.0, the Age of Automation, Globotics, and the Future of Work. These are all terms that Washington think tanks and Davos’ world leaders have coined to explain the complex issues related to the changing nature of work. Workforce professionals, however, are observing and responding to such changes in real-time, on the front lines. We understand the importance of digital skills for our clients; seek out new tools and resources to support our teams; and strive to adapt and modernize our strategies and services to meet the changing demands of workers, learners, and firms.

The issues often seem too complex and the available resources too limited and too scarce to effectively prepare for the future. In this session, we’ll connect and learn from one another’s practical experiences, exchange tools and resources, and apply newly acquired knowhow to creating action plans for using technology to confront an existing problem within your organization or workforce ecosystem.

When: Saturday, March 23, 10am – 2:30pm ET

Where: Jefferson East


  • Patti Constantakis, Consultant, Technology and Workforce Development, Digital Promise, San Mateo, CA
  • Josh Copus, Entrepreneur in Residence, JFFLabs, Washington, DC
  • Joan Lee, SkillRise Project Director, International Society of Technology in Education, Portland, OR
  • Jen Vanek, Director of Digital Learning and Research, EdTech Center @ World Education, Boston, MA

The Policy Chat & Annual Meeting

Join NAWB President & CEO Ron Painter and JFF’s Mary Claggett as they discuss the latest from Capitol Hill. Come ready with your questions to get prepared for Hitting the Hill on Tuesday.  

When: Saturday, March 23, 4pm – 5:30pm ET

Where: Lincoln


  • Ron Painter, President & CEO, NAWB 
  • Mary Claggett, Senior Director of workforce policy for the Workforce and Education Policy Group, JFF 

JFF Sessions

Making Apprenticeships Work for Opportunity Youth and Young Adults

Young adults who are disconnected from school and work are ideal candidates for pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships, given their need to earn an income while advancing in their careers. However, there are few apprenticeships that target this population. This session will explore how apprenticeships can be structured for opportunity youth and the roles that youth-serving community-based organizations can play in opening up these pathways for the population.

When:  Sunday, March 24, 10:30 am – 11:45 am ET

Where: Georgetown East

Moderator: Lili Allen, Associate Vice President, JFF, Boston, MA  


  • Stephanie Gambone, Executive Vice President, Philadelphia Youth Network, Philadelphia, PA  

  • Angelica Velasquez, Behavioral Health Program Manager, 1199c Training and Upgrading Fund, Philadelphia, PA

  • Eric Seleznow, Senior Advisor, JFF, Washington, DC

Diversity, Equity and Skills in the Workplace: A Growing Employer Imperative

Employers are seeking a highly skilled workforce and a diverse workforce that reflect the diversity of the country and the communities. The workforce is becoming more and more diverse and Workforce Boards are seeing more diverse clients seeking services. Diverse populations often face unique issues in the workplace and the community, but also need the skills to advance in the workplace. How does a Workforce board prepare clients who bring unique backgrounds and experiences to the workplace? What are employers doing to reach into their communities? How does a workforce board ensure all workers are provided the training and skill development needed by local employers? And how do boards assist employers with diversity needs and work with employers to accommodate these differences? This session will explore strategies that can meet the needs of clients with diverse, and many times under-served, backgrounds as well as employers who are seeking to diversify their workforce and provide upwardly mobile career opportunities to all workers.

When: Sunday, March 24, 12:30pm – 2:00pm ET

Where: Lincoln

Moderator: Eric Seleznow, Senior Advisor, JFF


  • Harin Contractor, Director, Workforce Policy, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Washington DC

  • Kirkland Murray, President and CEO, Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation, Millersville, MD

  • Laura Beeth, Vice President Talent Acquisition, Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis, MN Chair, Governor’s Workforce Development Board (MN)

  • Tadd Wamester, Director, New Americans Initiative, (NY)

Developing an Apprenticeship Inclusion Model (AIM) to Expand Career Pathways for People with Disabilities

As apprenticeships diversify, they also offer new talent development opportunities for people with disabilities (PWD). This panel will introduce a new DOL pilot project that is building a community of practice around inclusive apprenticeship models that recruit and hire people with disabilities. Panelists will offer practical strategies that workforce boards and their business and education partners can use to expand the diversity of apprenticeship programs. This session will also showcase learnings from an existing registered program where a WDB has partnered with a major employer to help PWD secure employment in manufacturing occupations with established career ladders.

When: Sunday, March 24, 3:00 pm – 4:15 pm ET

Where: Columbia 6

Moderator: Vinz Koller, Senior Strategist for Capacity Building, Workforce, Social Policy Research Associates, Oakland, CA  


  • Tom Hooper, Associate Vice President, JFF, Boston, MA  

  • Carolyn Jones, MBA, CWDP, Senior Policy Advisor, Youth Team, Office of Disability Employment Policy, Department of Labor, Washington, DC  

  • Daniel Bustillo, Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP)

  • Debby Hopkins, Chief Workforce Officer and Program Director, Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board

Navigating Change and Charting a Path of Progress

Workforce boards and American Job Centers have been a national resource for millions of Americans over several decades. Though, as we consider the effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on work and workers, it is clear that more people will turn to us for more help. Transformation is underway.

This session is designed for attendees who are perplexed by the complexity of the issues that their organizations and their communities face. It’s for those that are committed to making changes that lead to progress, opportunity, and economic advancement for all. How can the workforce system prepare for the future? Are we ready? Do we have the right tools, the right mindset, and the right technology to confront the future?

Together, we’ll consider how we can be more agile and adaptive as people and as organizations. We’ll explore the disruptive nature of technology, but also learn how to harness digitalization strategies to empower our clients, our teams, and our communities to thrive.

When: Monday, March 25, 1:15 pm – 2:45 pm ET

Where: Jefferson East

Moderator: Josh Copus, Entrepreneur in Residence, JFFLabs


  • Maria Flynn, President and CEO, JFF, Boston, MA
  • Silja Kallenbach, Vice President, World Education, Boston, MA
  • Dawn Karber, COO, Spokane Workforce Council, Spokane, WA
  • Joseph South, Chief Learning Officer, International Society for Technology in Education, Portland, OR

Building Better Systems Through Shared Data and Workforce Intelligence

In many states, workforce boards and community colleges are coordinating employer outreach, designing programs and building services for employers and job seekers. At the heart of many successful efforts is an integrated data system that encourages and supports information sharing and collective decision-making. Participants will learn about current and emerging efforts, how buy-in can be achieved among leaders across systems and will come away with an understanding of how data and technology can be leveraged to improve organizational outcomes.

When: Monday, March 25, 3:00 pm – 4:15 pm ET

Where: Monroe

Moderator: Jennifer Freeman, Director, JFF, Boston, MA  


  • Christian Lagarde, President, Lagarde Consulting Group, Washington, DC  

  • Josh Copus, Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR), JFFlabs, Boston, MA  

  • Dawn Busick-Drinkard, Consultant, Dawn Drinkard Consulting, Jefferson City, MO  

  • Kelly Folks, Workforce Director, Arapahoe/Douglas Works! Centennial, CO