NYATEP's Workforce Acceleration Institute for Leaders of Color (WAI)

NYATEP is thrilled to announce the NYS Workforce Acceleration Institute for Leaders of Color (WAI) in partnership with Cornell University, New York State Urban League, Asian American Federation and the Hispanic Federation.

About the WAI Institute:

This twelve month leadership intensive will elevate individuals by: developing equity-focused leadership competencies; developing an in-depth knowledge of statewide and national workforce policies; building a network of leaders across the NYS workforce system; and identify policies that break down systemic barriers that have kept individuals of color within the NYS workforce system from advancing and making an impact within their local communities.

Focus & Initiatives:

  • Expand OR Elevate equity-focused leadership competency
  • Developing an in-depth knowledge of statewide and national workforce policies
  • Build a network of leaders across New York State workforce system
  • Identifying and break down policies that have kept individuals of color within the New York State workforce system from advancing and making an impact within their local communities

Meet our 2023-2024 WAI: Leaders of Color Cohort!

Tiffany Richardson  She/Her/Hers
Tiffany is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in her local community. Her workforce experience is grounded in personal experience of trying to find work and opportunity in a city that has lacked diversity. She has worked with the Health Department, local DSS, NYSDOJ and local nonprofits to identify the barriers faced by women, minorities and impoverished people. She is a board member of Johnson Park Center, Upstate Family Health Center and Zonta International. 

Hafida Rasool She/Her/Hers
Hafida has focused her career on helping others build skills. She is a Project Manager at Public Works Partners, a WBE/DBE-certified urban planning and consulting firm, where she works with public sector clients to execute projects that advance organizational health. She has a Master's in Public Administration from the City College of New York.

Dr. LaTasha Hamlettcarver She/Her/Hers
Dr. LaTasha Hamlett-Carver, a seasoned workforce development professional, currently serves as the Assistant Dean of Workforce Development at SUNY Westchester Community College, also holding the prestigious Jacqueline & Allen Stuart Endowed Faculty Chair. During her tenure at the Westchester Putnam Workforce Development Board (WPWDB), Dr. Hamlett-Carver played an instrumental role in securing substantial public workforce grants.  Dr. Carver's academic accomplishments includes a doctoral degree from St. John Fisher University. Leveraging her extensive experience, she has adeptly designed and managed workforce, education, and social service programs. Through strategic collaborations with businesses and community organizations, she actively drives dynamic workforce initiatives, addressing the needs of youth, adults, and professionals pursuing specialized training and degrees

Emily Melendez She/Her/Hers
Emily Melendez is the Business Development Supervisor with Say Yes Buffalo’s newest program in partnership with CareerWise, Modern Youth Apprenticeship Program which focuses on giving inner city students a unique opportunity to enter the workforce. Emily also serves as a mentor to high school students preparing to start their collegiate journey with both Say Yes Buffalo and BuffaloPrep. She was previously a Bilingual Family Support Specialist working across multiple Buffalo Public School sites for 6 years providing care management services to students struggling with academic success and school attendance. Emily has also contributed to the movement of Say Yes Buffalo’s Mobile Health Clinics that services 19 Buffalo Public Schools and provided more than 100 students with medical care. Ms. Melendez relocated to Buffalo, NY at a young age with both her parents who migrated from Puerto Rico. As a first generation college student, she is a proud Hutch-Tech High School alumna and HEOP graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Daemen University. Emily has graduated from two leadership programs with Say Yes Buffalo and West Side Promise Neighborhood earlier this year and is a current cohort member of the 2023 You Can’t Fail Learning Community. She is an active member in the Hispanic Women’s League.

Cal Trumann They/Them/Their/Themself
Cal Trumann is the Education & Careers Coordinator at New Yorkers for Clean Power, and the workforce development point person for the Mid-Hudson Valley Clean Energy Hub. With over fifteen years of experience in the green workforce, Cal is dedicated to equity and bringing under-prioritized voices into renewable energy conversations and workplaces. Cal hosted the 2019 Climate Action Film Festival, and is convening Clean Energy Career Summits across the Hudson Valley. They have served on the Climate Smart Kingston Commission and the Ulster County Climate Smart Committee. Cal lives in an all-transgender intentional community that they co-founded in 2018. Outside of work, Cal enjoys playing music, growing unusual legumes in the garden, and improving their Spanish skills.

Antoinette Gregg She/Her/Hers
Born in Charleston, South Carolina, and resident of New York City for over a decade, Antoinette J Gregg has worked across New York state serving education, racial justice and workforce development organizations to fund their missions and increase awareness of their work. She has worked within the tech workforce arena for more than 2 years helping to bridge the gap in technology and racial equity through technical training and job placement. She leads institutional, corporate, individual and government fundraising and relationships across New York City and has participated in legislative visits locally, at the state level and on a national scale to move policies that decrease unemployment in BIPOC communities and increase workforce dollars to tech nonprofits. Antoinette holds a B.S in Sociology, and a M.S. in Quantitative Methods where she has written about the practical dissemination of Reparations, and is an alumna of the Cause Effective Fellows Program: Advancing Leaders of Color in Fundraising as well as the NYATEP Workforce Academy of Policy and Advocacy. She believes that racial equity through workforce development is a commonsense solution to closing the gap in economic mobility for Black and Brown New Yorkers.

Stella Rwanda She/Her/Hers
Ph.D. Director, Le Moyne College HARC. A former Literacy and English as a New Language (ENL) professor at Le Moyne College, Stella Rwanda, Ph.D., is the Director of the Le Moyne HARC (Healthcare Advancement Resource Center). Adept at managing grant-funded programs with an eye for efficiency and quality, Dr. Rwanda leverages over a decade of national and international experience in the higher education and non-profit sector to oversee HARC’s programs and operations. She is also responsible for teaching, advising, mobilizing, and engaging foreign-trained medical graduates in transformative learning outcomes and re-entry into healthcare professions in the U.S. Born and raised in Kenya, Rwanda started her academic career at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2008, and later moved to Syracuse University in 2013 and Le Moyne College in 2018. Having spent several years working in higher education, she honed a robust sociocultural understanding of the need for culturally competent initiatives that support learners and communities experiencing difficulties that lead to social marginalization, cultural and linguistic exclusion, and ongoing precarity. Rwanda’s research interests include literacy education, multicultural and refugee education, teacher education, and bi-multilingual students’ out-of-school literacy practices. Her scholarly work has garnered national and international recognition in the U.S., England, Finland, Kenya, Italy, and Spain. Rwanda completed her B.Ed. and M.Ed. at Kenyatta University and a Ph.D. at Syracuse University in literacy education, where she was named the William D. Sheldon Fellow in 2017. Rwanda has worked extensively with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to engage refugee and immigrant children, youths, and families in transformative learning outcomes in Kenya and communities in the U.S. A member of the UNESCO task force and the Interagency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), Rwanda is actively involved in policy formulation and implementation at national and international level. She has also served in various initiatives focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion at Le Moyne and in communities in the central N.Y. region. She runs the Literacy, Art, and Photography Project (LAPP) and the SAFE driving programs in the Syracuse community. Her other interests include traveling, swimming, biking, kayaking, camping, and spending quality time with her family.

Melissa Martinez She/Her/Hers
Workforce development professional with extensive experience within the private and not for profit sectors focusing on remediating barriers for New Yorks and helping them achieve self-sufficiency through economical mobility.

Charles Callaway He/Him
Charles Callaway is a resident of West Harlem. As the Director of Workforce Development and head of the Green Institute at WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Charles taps into his many years of working with and leading empowerment programs throughout Harlem. At WE ACT, he has recruited and trained 2,031 people in 30-hour of OSHA and 32-hour of asbestos handling classes for the construction industry along with more than 100 in solar installation certification classes. As a result of this, more than 200 now have jobs, including 168 community members working in the construction field and 98 in the solar industry. Charles has also been instrumental in developing a solar workers cooperative, SUNS: Solar Uptown Now Services, with his solar trainees, and they have installed 18 megawatts of solar power to date and serve for other solar companies. Charles previously served as WE ACT’s Director of Organizing, playing a key role in organizing residents around significant issues in the community and helping them understand the importance of advocating on its behalf. He worked with Harlem residents on the Columbia University expansion and 125th Street rezoning. Charles also worked with the Mother Clara Hale Community Taskforce and the MTA to build the first green bus depot in Harlem.

NYS Workforce Acceleration Institute for Leaders of Color (WAI): Advisory Committee Members:

  • Alejandro Mendoza, Optimax
  • Damien Howard, Per Scholas
  • Diana Caba, Hispanic Federation
  • Erika Hill, Vision Street Research
  • Jonathan Jones, City of Albany
  • Juhanna Rogers Center State CEO
  • Liliana Polo-McKennna, Independent Consultant/Former CEO of Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow
  • Marissa Martin, Advocacy Institute
  • Patricia Robinson, Greater Jamaica Development Organization/ Audacy Inc., The Block 94.7 FM
  • Paula Bailey, Grant Associates
  • Retha Fernandez, Suffolk County
  • Tomasine Oliphant, Dutchess County Community College
  • Joo-Ann Yoo, Asian American Federation
  • Shalima McCants, NY Urban League

The Workforce Acceleration for Leaders of Color Institute has been made possible through the generous support of: