Announcing 2024 Skilling America Certification Spring Cohort

Feb 26, 2024

NYATEP is excited to announce our Spring 2024 Skilling America Certification cohort! This year's first cohort includes participants from across New York State representing higher education, Local Workforce Development Boards, economic development and community based organizations.

Skilling America a self-paced e-learning community that equips 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! 


Adrianne Morton (She/Her/Hers)
University at Buffalo
Director, Research Impacts

Adrianne Morton is the Director for Research Impacts in the Office for Research Advancement (ORA) at the University at Buffalo (UB). She earned a doctoral degree in sociology of education from UB, a master’s in student personnel administration from Buffalo State, and a bachelor’s in liberal arts/ Sociology from D’Youville University. Adrianne has worked at private and State public universities, in nonprofit organizations, and as an independent grant consultant. She has held key roles as a higher education administrator, recruitment and retention of underserved and underrepresented students, course instructor, grant administrator, mentor, and life coach.

Within the nonprofit sector, she served as a development officer, compliance officer, liaison to community groups, local and national foundations, and government entities, as well as a transitional leadership coach. At ORA, Adrianne works in concert with other units to create opportunities and develop partnerships to facilitate the translation of UB faculty’s research for social benefits. She coaches faculty on the most effective ways for developing broader impact projects and DEI plans, be a strategic partner to faculty teams through proposal development, and mentor faculty to execute plans for moving the translational function of research projects in an inclusive and equitable manner.

Amanda Delaney (She/Her/Hers)
ERIE 21 at Le Moyne College
REGION: Central

An alumna of both Le Moyne College (B.S. Psychology & Education, Class of 2010) and Boston College (M.A. Higher Education Administration, Class of 2013), Amanda Miles learned quickly that she would like to spend her career working in Jesuit higher education. Upon completing graduate school, Amanda began her career as the Assistant Director for Student Programs at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, M.A. where she was responsible for a wide range of student activities and leadership programs. She returned to her Alma Mater, Le Moyne College, in 2015, where she spent four years working in the Advancement Division focused on annual giving, young alumni & student philanthropy. In 2020 she was hired to direct the College’s brand new ERIE21 (Educating for our Rising Innovation Economy) program— a comprehensive effort to diversify the CNY tech industry by providing training and access to career pathways for underrepresented individuals. Since 2020 she and her team have provided training and support to more than 1,000 individuals - ranging from fifth grade through adults- in the City of Syracuse.

Brianne Nobile (She/Her/Hers)
Workforce Development Board HMO
RADAR Case Manager
REGION: Central

My role within this organization is to help individuals complete Pre-Apprenticeship trainings and earn certifications to build their portfolios. My other obligations are providing supportive services to assist them in obtaining employment. The end goal is to get our participants enrolled in a Registered Apprenticeship, complete the Apprenticeship, and become a Journeyman. My duties also include following up on these individuals while they are in their Apprenticeships and ensuring they have all of the resources/services they need to be successful. I also have the opportunity to attend events and meetings to build more partnerships and connections with other agencies.

Bridget Benz (She/Her/Hers)
Finger Lakes Work Investment Board
Career Counselor
REGION: Finger Lakes

My passion is people. Helping people. Meeting individuals wherever they are in their lives. My experience and expertise lies in human services delivery, working with a variety of the toughest disciplines; Child Protective Services, Functional Family Therapy and Domestic Violence Advocacy. Her passion has evolved over the years and currently she serves as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act, Business Service Representative; Training Counselor in Seneca County - working with community members to improve lives within a holistic “whole life philosophy” perspective. Bridget earned her Masters Degree in Human Services/Counseling at the New York State University of Oswego and is a Certified Functional Family Therapist via Cayuga Centers, NY and has completed Certified Domestic Violence Core Competencies training. Bridget is a busy mother of three children and an active Seneca County Community member.

Carcini McCutcheon (He/Him/His)
Center for Employment Opportunities
Job Coach

Carcini McCutcheon is a dynamic professional committed to making a positive impact. In my role as a Job Coach at the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), I play a crucial part in supporting program participants, especially formerly incarcerated individuals, on their journey to secure transitional and permanent employment. Through direct support, I engage participants in discussions about their employment goals, use motivational interviewing techniques, and facilitate group sessions and workshops to build employment readiness skills.

As an Emerging Leaders Program Intern at CEO, I successfully secured a position in a competitive 12-week intensive paid internship program. In this role, I collaborated with team members to assist with program requirements, guided participants in job search activities, and maintained databases and professional relationships. My experience as a General Labor Worker at CEO further enriched my skill set, involving routine maintenance tasks, accurate documentation, inventory management, and collaboration with skilled tradespeople. With certifications in E-Class Drivers and an Equivalency Diploma, I am dedicated to continuous improvement and ready to contribute my skills and dedication to drive success in any professional setting. Join me on my journey of making meaningful contributions and achieving excellence as a Job Coach at the intersection of workforce development and social impact.

Jarod Perkioniemi (He/Him/His)
ERIE 21 at Le Moyne College
Career Success Advisor
REGION: Central

Jarod Perkioniemi is an Army veteran, serving 13-years on Active Duty. Throughout his career, Jarod served in leadership positions, including leading two units on deployment. Post-military, Jarod has worked in higher education, both in career enhancement and entrepreneurship. He has five years experience working with non-traditional learners, including veterans, and underrepresented individuals.

Jennifer Fusco, M.S. Ed. (She/Her/Hers)
Island Harvest
Workforce Development Program Supervisor
REGION: Long Island

I hold a Bachelors and Master's Degree from Dowling College, Oakdale, NY and also permanent NYS Teaching Certification in Education Pre-K - 6 and English 7-12. As an educator/administrator in private educational institutions for over 20 years, I joined the Workforce Skills Development Institute in November 2023. I made a mid-life career change following COVID and a change in the educational climate. Since joining Island Harvest, I have helped to train and assist over 33 students graduate from our Warehousing & Inventory Control Program. Along with the students, I earned several certifications to include; NRF Rise Up credential in Warehouse, Inventory and Logistics, Serv Safe Food Handler Certificate as well as OSHA Forklift Truck Operator and the Electric Pallet Jack Certification. Each day is a new lesson and as a professional student, this is a great way to build a curriculum that is relevant and meaningful to our students. Seeing our students move forward with their future is the greatest reward of all.

Kate Oja (She/Her/Hers)
ERIE 21 at Le Moyne College
Associate Director
REGION: Central

Kate Oja is an energetic and enthusiastic professional skilled in the areas of program management and development, business development, economic development, higher education, innovation and entrepreneurship, mentoring and advising on the academic and careers sides. Experience with grant-writing and administration at local and state level. Passionate about community outreach and helping Syracuse be a great place to live! She has worked with Syracuse University, CenterState CEO, and now Le Moyne College. She has experience particularly focusing on underrepresented communities, including BIPOC and Veterans.

Lidia Irizarry (She/Her/Hers)
Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board, Inc.
Wayne County Employment and Training Workforce Specialist
REGION: Finger Lakes

I'm the Wayne County Employment and Training Workforce Specialist for Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board, Inc. I conduct assessments to select appropriate candidates, assist in job searches, facilitate job training, and promote career growth. I partner with local industries to enhance skills for employment opportunities.

Martha Bryant (She/Her/Hers)
Lehman College-CUNY
Industry Employment Specialist

Martha Bryant is deeply committed to fostering career opportunities for underrepresented STEM students. She is currently pursuing her passion as an Industry Employment Specialist as part of the CUNY Inclusive Economy initiative. Prior to this role, Martha worked with the United Negro College Fund and the University of Maryland Medical Center. Martha holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Bowie State University and a Bachelor’s degree from the Catholic University of America. Martha enjoys spending her free time in the company of family and friends.

Mary Holland-Bavis (She/Her/Hers)
Ithaca Area Economic Development
Workforce Program Manager
REGION: Southern Tier

Ithaca Area Economic Development (IAED) announced it hired Mary Holland-Bavis as Workforce Program Manager. In this novel role, Holland-Bavis is responsible for implementing workforce development programming that addresses the needs of local employers by aligning community partners and resource providers. Specifically, Holland-Bavis will provide tactical leadership to IAED’s ongoing ‘Direct to Work: Pathways to Manufacturing’ initiative and the future ‘Tompkins Build’ construction trades program. IAED President Heather McDaniel shared, “Mary’s diverse expertise and customer-focused mindset are an invaluable asset to IAED’s workforce program. McDaniel added, “I am confident she will do great things for employers in Ithaca and Tompkins County.”Holland-Bavis brings over 10 years of program and event management to the role. Her most previous work focused on stakeholder relationships and the planning and delivery of initiatives, events, and awards at the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce. Holland-Bavis has worked in similar capacities for Ithaca College and Syracuse University. Holland-Bavis received a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from SUNY Fredonia and an M.Ed. from SUNY Buffalo. About Ithaca Area Economic Development Ithaca Area Economic Development (IAED) is a private non-profit economic development organization serving Ithaca and Tompkins County. It is New York State’s first and only Accredited Economic Development Organization, one of only 75 across North America. Since 1964, IAED has endeavored to attract, retain, and grow companies that provide high quality employment, and strives to create a supportive environment for businesses and entrepreneurs. For more information, visit

Melissa Goncalves (She/Her/Hers)
Soulful Synergy
Program Manager
REGION: Mid-Hudson

Melissa Goncalves is a dynamic program management professional with a proven track record in driving impactful initiatives within non-profit and educational sectors. As a Program Manager at Soulful Synergy in New Rochelle, Melissa oversees workforce development programs spanning New Jersey and New York State, focusing on skill enhancement and employability. Her strategic involvement in the New Rochelle Forward program has provided hands-on construction training and job placement support to cohorts of 20-30 participants.

Formerly, Melissa served as an Assistant Camp Director at The Boys’ Club of New York, managing strategic planning and facility operations at Harriman Base Camp. Her dedication ensured a safe and enriching environment for 80-100 campers, implementing safety protocols and fostering environmental stewardship.

Currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at Fordham University, Melissa combines her diverse experience in program leadership, operations management, and community engagement to drive positive social impact. A member of esteemed professional associations, Melissa is committed to continuous learning and contributing to meaningful change in communities.

Najwa Webster (She/Her/Hers)
ERIE 21 at Le Moyne College
Workforce Success Administrator
REGION: Central

Najwa Webster is a learner, educator, and coach. As a teacher and full-time non-profit professional, she found herself excited to support the professional development of her peers and fellow employees—with this realization, Najwa dove into coaching, facilitating training, and workshop/training facilitation. Now she serves as the Workforce Success Administrator for ERIE21 at Le Moyne College, where she supports Adult Learners as they achieve academic success in Cybersecurity and Computer Programming certificate programs. Additionally, she serves on the Stanford University Graduate School of Education Alumni Board, which strives to connect educators across the world to develop a larger professional learning community.

Sangita Shrestha (She/Her/Hers)
CAMBA Refugee Services
Assistant Program Manager
REGION: New York City

I am Sangita Shrestha. After finishing my Masters in Anthropology from Nepal and Masters in Peace and Conflict research from Germany, I moved to USA in 2011. I have worked in various field from teaching to administration and program management. Currently I am working at CAMBA as an Assistant Program Manager in the Workforce Department since 2016. I worked with different program with various clientele eg, refugee, asylee, immigrant professionals, young adults form 18-24, and Ukrainian Humanitarian parolee. In my eight years in CAMBA I connected clients with various opportunities from job placement to career pathways to trainings. I am handling couple of trainings at CAMBA like Security Guard Training, OSHA 30, SST 10 and HVAC&R trainings. My job requires me to work with clients to facilitate the development, implementation and evaluation of assigned programs; monitor and analyze specific aspects of workforce program development and implementation; create, review relevant documents and reports, present statistical data report gathered from diverse sources, identify problems and issues to be addressed and recommends corrective actions, trouble shoot the problem; create relationships with universities, companies, and other organizations related to the program’s mission and lead corporate partnership development efforts and develop new employment contacts. I also do undertake outreach and market the program to the community in order to recruit clients and represent CAMBA at community events; participate in training workshops, seminars, presentations and collect data using various tools from google form to survey monkey.

Sarah Roby (She/Her/Hers)
HMO Workforce Development Board
Case Manager for RADAR Grant
REGION: Central

My name is Sarah Roby and I am a Case Manager for project RADAR at HMO Workforce Development Board. I help participants with barriers gain trainings and supportive services needed for employment. My goal is to help people find employment in careers that they will enjoy. I want them to find a career that they are passionate about. I enjoy watching our participants succeed and making it past their barriers.

Sendie Juste (She/Her/Hers)
Queens Community House
Job Developer
REGION: New York City

My name is Sendie Juste and I am a 32-year-old dog mom. Close ones would describe me as outgoing, spontaneous, passionate and funny. I have a passion for helping others because I believe giving back helps keep things in perspective, it creates a sense of belonging, it feels good, and studies have shown that helping others can help you live longer (which I want to for my fur baby, Benjii). I moved to Houston, Texas in 2019 to start my professional career as a Career Services Advisor at a Vocational Institution. I got to work with a diverse population and during my time there, I learned a lot about job placement, how to support an individual looking for employment, and I was able to help my students start their medical professional careers. I decided to move back to New York in October because I missed my family so much. Also, to be quite honest, I just couldn't take another 100+ degree day.

Valentina Czochanski (She/Her/Hers)
CAMBA Refugee Services
Program Manager
REGION: New York City

Valentina is a program manager with 4+ years of experience in the non-profit sector, having worked with organizations like the New York Legal Assistance Group and the Red Cross of Greater New York. Valentina currently works with CAMBA Refugee Services / Workforce Development in Brooklyn, supporting new New Yorkers as they pursue self-sufficiency goals and early employment and/or work towards entering the professional workforce inthe city. Valentina graduated from the University of Vermont with majors in Global Studies, Sociology, and Italian and has used her skills to support individuals who have been impacted by forced migration and the criminal legal system.