Announcing the 2023 Skilling America Certification Cohort

Jan 30, 2023

NYATEP is excited to announce our 2023 Skilling America Certification cohort! This year's first cohort will be comprised of 28 participants from across New York State representing education, Local Workforce Development Boards, community based organizations, government agencies, labor unions and statewide coalitions.

NYATEP is proud to offer Skilling America a self-paced e-learning community; this training equips the workforce, education, and HR professionals with the necessary competencies to build a resilient workforce system. Skilling America is designed using a competency-based framework; courses include Career Coaching, Analysis, Leadership, and Partnerships. 

We are thrilled to be leading another group of talented and passionate workforce professionals and welcome them to the Skilling America community!


Sarah Aldrich
CSS Workforce NY 
Youth Navigator
REGION: Finger Lakes

Sarah Aldrich is a Youth Navigator for CSS Emerging Workforce located in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York. While this is a new position for Sarah, she's worked in Human Services her entire career.

Prior to this position, Sarah worked as a teaching assistant in the Salamanca City School District. Sarah's professional career also includes case management for developmentally disabled individuals, where she managed a medical alert program. Through this position, Sarah managed a two-county area in Western New York.

Sarah's human services experience spans all age groups and has equipped her to be versatile and able to adapt and work with all ages and needs. 

Luis Aristud
Phipps Neighborhoods
Workforce Operations Manager
REGION: New York City

Luis Aristud is an experienced workforce operations and project management professional. Driven by the opportunity to give back to the Bronx Community, he takes pride in providing the tools and resources needed to his colleagues to achieve Phipps Neighborhoods' mission. As the Workforce Operations Manager, Luis uses information and his critical thinking skills to evaluate workflows, identify the gaps, and propose to leadership the best course of action to fix the inefficiencies. His goal at Phipps is to bridge the gap between human service work and technology so that the team can work effectively.

Luis obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree at SUNY Plattsburgh, double majoring in Criminal Justice and Sociology. He had the intention of becoming a police officer, but his participation in AmeriCorps: NYC Service Corp pushed him toward a career in changing the lives of community members through nonprofit work.

Luis also attained his Master of Public Administration degree at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice, specializing in Human Resource Management. While in his MPA program, Luis came to realization that his true talent is in understanding how organizational structures, the people in them, and workflows impact the work on the ground.

Rosemary Avila
CNY Works, Inc.
Executive Director 
REGION: Central 

Rosemary Avila serves as the Executive Director of the Onondaga County Workforce Development Board and Career Center—CNY Works in Syracuse, New York.

Rosemary Avila has more than 10 years of experience in multicultural environments, the private sector, non-profit organizations, workforce development, and federal and local government. She was the Executive Director of the Tompkins County Workforce Development Board overseeing programs such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), disability resources, and the Summer Youth Employment Program. Previous to that role, she worked at the Center for Community Alternatives in Syracuse where she oversaw workforce programs for formerly incarcerated young adults and adults returning to the workforce. In addition, Rosemary served as the business relations liaison with second chance initiatives and young adults. Rosemary worked for the U.S. Department of State where she worked in Consular Affairs at overseas posts in Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, and Haiti.

Rosemary has an M.P.A. from Norwich University and a B.A. from the University of Florida. She is fluent in Spanish and Italian.


Sandra Bleckman
Rockland Community College
Director of Workforce Innovation & Industry Partnerships
REGION: Mid-Hudson

Sandra Bleckman joined Rockland Community College with a strong background in Workforce Development with an emphasis on building employer partnerships. Sandra most recently worked at the NJ Community College Consortium for Workforce & Economic Development, where she worked as the Director of Strategy & Workforce Partnerships with a focus on the Health Care sector. As the Director, she oversaw two Centers of Workforce Innovation that worked to build career pathways with aligned curriculum to be shared across educational partners.

Prior to this, Sandra worked at Fairleigh Dickinson University as the Director of the Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Talent Network, where she worked closely with employers to identify skills gaps and align education with industry to prepare a more skilled workforce within New Jersey. She also oversaw the Talent Development Center of Excellence which created curriculum and built career pathways within the sector.

Sandra has been an adjunct instructor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Hudson County Community College, and California State University, San Bernardino. Sandra received a BA in Psychology from Clark University and an MA in Administrative Sciences from Fairleigh Dickinson University. 

Alison Dickinson
Allegany County E&T Center
Senior Employment Counselor
REGION: Southern Tier

Alison Dickinson is the Senior Employment Counselor at Allegany County E&T Center. 

Alison's duties include working with job seekers to develop the job-seeking skills and job retention skills they need for lifelong success. Teaching in a formal classroom setting, developing resumes and cover letters, conducting employment assessments and job searches for Department of Social Services clients, referring and facilitating connections to service agencies, and conducting supportive follow-ups make up most of her responsibilities. The marvelous aspect of Alison's career is assisting our customers with the ever-changing opportunities and challenges of matching potential employers with potential employees.

Alison brings a varied background to her role, working for General Motors for eight years in Human Resources and then on the manufacturing floor as a first-line supervisor. Alison left GM to pursue a teaching degree in Secondary Education, leading to teaching at many local school districts, and entered Social Work through the local Arc, serving as a case manager for the developmentally disabled. Like many working people, I have had jobs in retail and at service-providing companies and agencies, sometimes working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Those experiences have allowed me to understand the struggles of our customers more deeply.


Kyle Hostetler
CNY Works, Inc.
Business Services Coordinator
REGION: Central

Kyle Hostetler is the Business Services Coordinator at CNY Works, Inc. in Syracuse, NY. Kyle's primary responsibilities revolve around building relationships with local businesses and connecting them with qualified jobseekers.

Kyle manages all on-the-job training and incumbent worker training contracts. Prior to joining CNY Works, Kyle spent time in both the public and private sectors working as the Re-Employment Services Coordinator at Capital Area Michigan Works in Charlotte, MI, and Field Technology Representative at OneAmerica Financial Partners in Indianapolis, IN.

Kyle is a graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, and currently lives in Auburn, NY, with his wife and daughter.

Emily Hough
Schenectady County Connects 
Employment and Training Counselor
REGION: Capital Region

Emily Hough has been an Employment and Training Counselor with Schenectady County Connects since August 2021. She works closely with temporary assistance recipients, individuals seeking financial aid for training, and various jobseekers.

Emily is currently on the Board of Directors for the Friends of Schenectady County Public Library and volunteers as a Publicity Chairperson. Previously, Emily was a Peace Corps Volunteer (2013-2015) in Indonesia, where she worked as a High School English Teacher in a low-income vocational high school where she taught confidence as much as she taught English.

Emily graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas College in 2012 with a dual major in Social Science (Human Rights Concentration) and Philosophy (Ethics Concentration).

Javon Joslyn
Rockland Community College 
Assistant Director of Workforce Development 
REGION: Mid-Hudson

Javon Joslyn is the Assistant Director of Workforce Development at Rockland Community College (RCC).

Javon joined workforce development in 2022 after seven years in Residence Life and Student Activities. With 12 years of experience in higher education, Javon understands the drive and encouragement students need to be successful. 

Olga Loaiza
Urban Resource Institute
Manager of External Partnership and Job Developer
REGION: New York City

Olga Loaiza has earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She is currently the Manager of External Partnerships and Job Development of the Economic Empowerment Program at the Urban Resource Institute (URI) in NYC. URI is a non-profit organization that provides services for survivors of domestic abuse and homeless families and supports them in working towards and obtaining economic stability, safety and sustainability.

Olga's education and career has always focused on her passion for cultivating new partnerships with other non-profit organizations and other referral sources to bridge the gap on some services/programs that are not currently available.

Olga has over 10 years of assisting special needs participants transitioning from public assistance to the workforce, where they can achieve their highest potential and gain financial independence. 

Angel Luis Roman
NYC Department of Youth and Community Development
Director, WIOA Train & Earn Programs
REGION: New York City

Angel Luis Roman has 25+ years of experience in workforce development and career management within the government, higher education, non-profit, and private sectors. Currently, he serves as Director of WIOA Train & Earn Programs at DYCD, where he manages a portfolio of DYCD-funded providers that deliver occupational training services for young adults, aged 16-24, who are not employed, not in school, and reside in New York City.

Angel is a Certified Career Counselor through the National Career Development Association and has a Master's degree in Counseling and Career Development from Hunter College.

For the past 16 years, Angel has also served as an Adjunct Lecturer at the City University of New York, where he teaches courses for students pursuing AAS and BS degrees in Human Services. Angel is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Career Counselors Association, Career Counselors Consortium Northeast, and the National Career Development Association.

Tatanisia Lumley
Building Skills NY
Manager of Training and Operations
REGION: New York City

Tatanisia Lumley is a non-profit workforce development professional passionate about working with diverse populations and creating career pathways for jobseekers within the construction field. Career coaching, support services, job placement, and retention are all means in which Tatanisia fulfills the organization's mission towards independence and sustainability for NYC trainee/worker prospects.

Before joining Building Skills NY, Tatanisia served as Program Coordinator for BronxWorks Strong Fathers, Stronger Families program, working to maximize training and employment outcomes for custodial and non-custodial fathers and mothers.

Since joining the Building Skills NY team in 2018, Tatanisia has worked tirelessly to connect jobseekers to advanced skills training and employment opportunities while also providing quality case management services.   

Erin McDonald
CNY Works, Inc.
Disability Resource Coordinator
REGION: Central

Erin McDonald is the Disability Resource Coordinator at CNY Works, Inc. in Syracuse, NY. Erin graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from Syracuse University in 2017 and has been working in the field of employment since.

Beginning her career in supported employment for individuals with developmental disabilities, Erin worked for Liberty Resources and OCL before joining the team at CNY Works in June 2020. Erin has coordinated pre-employment training programs for jobseekers with disabilities, including Pathway to Employment and Community Prevocational training programs.

Erin currently provides disability resource coordination and benefits advisement to jobseekers in Onondaga County under the New York Systems Change and Inclusive Opportunities network and coordinates the agency's Ticket to Work program.


Kelly McGowan
CSS Workforce NY
Emerging Workforce Youth Program
REGION: Southern Tier

Kelly McGowan has extensive experience both in Human Services and as a Manager. Kelly has a Master's Degree in Management and Bachelor's Degree in Community and Human Services. Kelly has worked for many years in the field of developmental disabilities, specifically in service coordination and self-direction. I was also a self-employed broker for several years assisting people with disabilities to direct their own services before deciding to choose another path of working with people by coming to the vocational arena.

Kelly has worked for CSS Workforce NY for three years. Her first two years as a Navigator before becoming the Program Manager just a little more than a year ago. Kelly has worked with several youth who have gone on to complete their education and/or become gainfully employed and later come back and talked about what a blessing this program has been to them in their journey.

Kelly considers herself very lucky to have found employment in a second field that she enjoyed as much as the first, with a company that values many of the same things. Kelly looks forward to assisting today's youth in exploring opportunities to move forward into careers that allow them to be self-sustaining and that they hopefully find as enjoyable as she finds hers.

Lyndsey Mesler
Allegany County Employment & Training 
Senior Employment & Training Counselor
REGION: Southern Tier

Lyndsey Mesler, Senior Employment & Training Counselor, is passionate about working with low-income families to help them overcome barriers that prevent them from working.

Lyndsey's ultimate goal would be to help find a resolution to the transportation barrier in our small, rural county. Lyndsey tries her best to keep a positive attitude and believes if someone is late to their appointment, we should give them a positive affirmation; we don't know the hurdles they had to climb to get there.

Danielle Mitchell
Schenectady County Connects
Senior Employment & Training Counselor
REGION: Capital Region

Danielle Mitchell, Senior Employment & Training Counselor for Schenectady County.

Danielle has a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice, with a minor in Sociology at the University of Albany. Danielle has over nine years of experience working with at-risk youths and families and is well-known throughout the community of Schenectady for being involved in youth activities, standing for equity amongst our young people, and promoting educational advancements through outreach.

Danielle's current work includes working within Schenectady City School District to promote employment preparation, awareness, and skills among students.   

Andre Nichols
Oswego County Workforce New York
Employment Specialist
REGION: Central

Andre Nichols is an Employment Specialist with Oswego County Workforce New York.

In Andre's short time within workforce development, he's strived to be an active agent in connecting jobseekers with the resources needed to create significant tangible change. As Andre continues his professional career, he's excited to learn and grow. 

Michele Oliva
Town of Oyster Bay
Employment Counselor
REGION: Long Island

Michele Oliva has worked as Employment Counselor at the Workforce Partnership for the past five years. In this role, she conducts weekly orientations of our programs and assists customers with honing and gaining marketable skills through interviews and assessments. Michele also assists customers lacking marketable skills for training in demand fields of employment.

Michele holds a Master's Degree and permanent certification in Special Education and Literacy, as well as a Bachelor's in Elementary Education. Michele previously worked as High School Special Education Teacher in Queens, NY, and as a Special Education Teacher in a pre-school setting on Long Island.

Michele is always searching for ways to learn and improve her ability to assist people with their careers and is very excited to take part in this training. 

Patrick O'Malley
Town of Oyster Bay
Employment & Training Counselor 
REGION: Long Island

Patrick O'Malley has worked in his Department as an Employment & Training Counselor for over two years. During this time, Patrick has helped many clients receive approval for federal grants that goes towards their career training and finding a full-time career.

Patrick believes that by helping clients receive the proper training, he's helping industries and businesses hire employees with the relevant skills or licenses they are looking for.

Patrick holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Long Island University in 2017, which I have used to forward my administrative experience.  

Jeanette O'Neil
Columbia-Greene Workforce
Assistant Director
REGION: Capital Region

Jeanette has a very diverse background, professionally and academically. Jeanette has navigated the fields of Hospitality, Retail Management, Newspaper Media, Advertising, and Not-for-Profits, often concurrently, before becoming a Workforce Professional.

This diversity allows Jeanette to understand workforce topics implicitly and intuitively. Academically, Jeanette believes her Bachelor's in Anthropology and Graduate work in Art History gives her a unique perspective on people and their place within a cultural framework.

Ashely Ortiz
Jericho Project
Career Counselor
REGION: New York City

Ms. Ortiz oversees the day-to-day operations of our Rapid Re-housing employment and training programs by working with Young adults, planning daily activities, and data collection.

Ms. Ortiz graduated from Monroe College in 2021 with a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management. 

Rebecca Preusser
Columbia-Greene Workforce
Assistant Director
REGION: Capital Region

Rebecca Preusser, Assistant Director of the Columbia Greene Workforce Office, is a highly motivated and skilled professional effective at working with diverse populations. Rebecca is passionate about providing quality, meaningful support and services to individuals. Along with being dedicated and passionate in working with young adults between the ages of 18-24, building relationships and offering opportunities in career exploration, skill development, secondary education, financial literacy, and leadership.

Prior to Rebecca's position at Workforce, she has 20 years of experience working in the adoption field for a not-for-profit organization. The most rewarding aspect of her position was uniting families. Among many of her duties, she frequently visits partner agencies, orientations with families abroad, and presents at conferences.

In Rebecca's free time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family and pets.  

Linda Scalera
Town of Oyster Bay
Job Developer
REGION: Long Island

Linda Scalera has over 14 years in her current department; she's worked as an Employment and Training Counselor for 11 years and as a Job Developer for the last three years.

In these capacities, she has assisted businesses in enhancing their productivity and competitiveness. Linda has coordinated resources that meet businesses' needs and facilitate employment opportunities for job seekers. She has also facilitated the administration of multiple multi-million dollar grants and several smaller grant-funded projects on federal, state, and local levels.

Linda has administrative experience and is familiar with all aspects of the WIOA program. Linda holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work. Prior to working in the Town of Oyster Bay, she worked in Human Resources. Linda possess over 20 years of employment in Social Services, Workforce Development, and Project Management.

Prabhu Sigamani
Director of ROC-NY
REGION: New York City

Prabhu joined ROC-NY in Jan 2010 as a case manager and, in 2014, transitioned to do policy work. In 2020 he became the director of the chapter; he comes with 12 years of experience. Prabhu graduated BA Cum Laude from NYACK College, majoring in Theology. He continued his education at New York Theological Seminary and earned his Masters in Divinity. Prabhu received a certificate in Project Management, Complex Decision Making from Cornell University. Prabhu was recognized for his work during the pandemic in 2021 by New York Labor Power 100. He visions to make service, education, and knowledge accessible to restaurant workers, which will lead to industry transformation.

Prabhu is also an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, currently ministering at Farmingville UCC. He serves on the Advisory Board for Worker Justice Project, a non-profit that works to improve day labors' lives.

Jaclyn Stowe
Monroe 2 Boces Center for Workforce Development
Student Support Services Advisor & Outreach Specialist
REGION: Finger Lakes

Jaclyn Stowe has a Masters in elementary education and spent seven years teaching grades K-6.

Jaclyn transitioned to an advisor and outreach role in adult education last summer and is pursuing a Master's in Marketing Communication Leadership.


Austin Tipping
WIB Inc dba Chautauqua Works
Disability Resource Coordinator
REGION: Western New York

Austin Tipping is the Disability Resource Coordinator at Chautauqua Works in Chautauqua County, New York. He serves as a point of expertise on disability benefits, public programming, and advocacy within the New York Systems Change and Inclusive Opportunities Network.

A graduate of the University at Buffalo's Public Health program, Austin uses his knowledge of project planning and implementation to further NYSCION and create stronger collaboration with partners in the local community.

Not being a Buffalo native, UB was Austin's first taste of Western New York. After graduation, Austin settled in Fredonia and continues to happily be a part of the community he now calls home.

Evan Vega 
Oswego County Social Services 
Employment Specialist 
REGION: Central 

Janelle Williams-Como
Yates County Workforce Development
Employment & Training Counselor/Business Services Rep
REGION: Finger Lakes

Janelle Williams-Como is an Employment & Training Counselor and Business Services Representative for Yates County Workforce Development. With over 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector, she is passionate about devising creative solutions to help individuals and businesses in her local community.

When Janelle's not empowering others to live their best lives, she can be found playing piano, singing, or tending to her plants. 

Jenni Zulkosky
BOCES 2 Center for Workforce Development
Student Support Advisor and Outreach Specialist
REGION: Finger Lakes

There are so many possibilities out there. Jenni's passion is seeing people find their niche, connecting their strengths and unique abilities to a career they can get the most out of and give the most back. She recognizes there are many different pathways to career success for everyone.

Jenni is grateful to have joined the BOCES Center for Workforce Development team in early 2022 as a Student Support Advisor and Outreach Specialist. Jenni is part of the marketing team and recruits for their Career and Tech programs that provide training for in-demand fields while she supports students through the duration of the courses. She uses her experience working as a Marketing and Integrations Specialist previously for a luxury mountain home and cabin rental company in North Carolina.

Jenni graduated Summa Cum Laude with her BA in Communication Studies and Design from State University of New York at Oneonta. There is a special place in her heart for skilled trades, as she has worked on numerous residential construction projects with her father and installing pools with her uncle.