Introducing the 2021-2022 NYATEP Workforce Academy
for Policy & Advocacy Cohort

Achisimach (Chizz) Yisrael

Director of Workforce Development 
Haitian American Caucus
New York City

A native of Harlem, New York, Achisimach (Chizz) Yisrael is the workforce development director for the Haitian American Caucus (HAC). HAC is an international community development nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide the Haitian Diaspora in the United States and Haiti with access to information and resources that will foster self-development and success. As a program manager and program organizer, Chizz has a wide range of experience in workforce development. He served as an outreach worker and program manager for the first anti-gun violence program in New York. In his current role, he works to build and sustain partnerships with community leaders and local organizations to expand the reach of workforce development programs that address the needs of the Haitian American community in New York. Chizz has worked for more than a decade in workforce development, serving as a program director, and a senior manager. In addition to his work in workforce development, Chizz also serves on the board of directors for the Teachers College Community School Leadership Team, and previously on the board of the Community Life Head Start Center in Harlem. It is his goal to provide his community with the tools they need to succeed. Chizz is committed to social justice and strives to make a difference not only in the lives of others and in his own life but in also giving back to the next generation, by raising 11 children. Through his ambitious commitment to others, Chizz hopes to provide vital support for those in need by expanding into Real Estate.The skills he has acquired will allow him to provide a tangible service to the community and a meaningful opportunity for those who have been left behind. He is committed to building his career and growing as an individual. His compassionate, confident, and determined spirit will take him far in life.

Alyssa Bradley

Policy Associate
Center for Employment Opportunities
Capital Region 

Alyssa Bradley has been with Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) since 2018, and has recently transitioned into a Policy Associate role. She has presented on NYATEP webinars in the past centered around reentry employment. Alyssa has met with both local and state legislators in both her previous and current roles at CEO, and hopes this training can expand on her relationships and skills. She is excited to learn and grow within the Policy & Advocacy space. 

Amrika Sieunarine

Director, Center for College & Careers
The Guidance Center of Westchester

Amrika Sieunarine, has worked for The Guidance Center of Westchester (TGCW) for 2 years as the director of the Centers for College & Careers (CCC). Ms. Sieunarine holds a bachelor’s degree with Honors in World Politics from Hamilton College. She is a powerhouse organizer who has varied community organizing and youth development work experience in NYC, upstate New York and Kingston, Jamaica, as well as program management and research experience in Brazil, Ghana, Greece, Thailand, and India. She has years of experience providing quality services and support youth and young adult populations. Ms. Sieunarine specializes in program design and implementation, positive youth engagement, strategic planning, youth empowerment models, and community development.  Ms. Sieunarine is committed to providing access and opportunities for young people to build the confidence they need to be a voice for their own aspirations, needs, and concerns.

Bonnie Rice

Executive Director
Niagara County Workforce Development Board
Western New York 

Bonnie Rice is the Executive Director of the Niagara County Workforce Development Board.  Bonnie has a Master’s Degree in Education and over 20 years of experience in federally funded (WIOA) programs including On-the-Job Training, Customized Training, Classroom Training, Youth, and Business Services.  She also has private sector experience at two Fortune 500 companies.  Bonnie welcomes the opportunity to learn new strategies to meet the needs of local businesses and job seekers.

Cara Shousterman

Director of Technology of Technology Training Initiatives
LaGuardia Community College
New York City

Cara Shousterman is the Director of Technology of Technology Training Initiatives at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, NY. She has led numerous workforce development initiatives which aim to improve outcomes for individuals who face significant barriers to employment in the tech sector, including LaGuardia's TechHire program and CUNY TechWorks at Queensborough Community College. Her workforce areas of expertise include data analytics, software development, and IT/Networking. She holds a PhD in Linguistics from New York University.

Christine Blanch

Coordinator of Workforce and Career Services
South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation 
New York City

Christine L. Blanch has been proudly serving the people of New York for over a decade. Christine started her work in community development at the Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Centers (SEBNC). During her five years of service to SEBNC in their OST Middle School program, she further served as a Group Leader and Activity Specialist. She then continued facilitating and developing the youth of the Bronx at the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. (SoBro) through her work as the High School and Middle School Program Coordinator of their programs at Archimedes Academy. She also served as Senior Team Leader in SoBro’s Hydrant Education Action Team (HEAT)  program managing staff and leading groups of young people aged 14 to 24 in community outreach and advocacy to combat illegally opened fire hydrants throughout neighborhoods in the West Bronx and Washington Heights. Christine served as Placement Coordinator, in their Learning to Work program at Crotona Academy focusing her efforts on over aged and under credited high school students connecting them with opportunities in career training, job placement, and college preparation. Choosing to take her skills and abilities to the general adult population, Christine most recently served as an Account Manager and Career Coach for the Bronx Workforce1 Career Centers funded by the NYC Department of Small Business Services connecting New York residents with local opportunities in the private and public sector where she worked passionately for four years. In 2021 she returned to the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, to serve as the Coordinator of Workforce and Career Services where she serves her staff and the resident of the Bronx in coordinating and overseeing an ever-growing portfolio of career trainings, employment opportunities, and candidate development services.  Christine L. Blanch aspires to apply the training, skills, and partnerships developed through her completion of the NYATEP Workforce Academy for Policy and Advocacy to enhance poverty reduction and intervention services to marginalized populations in this Post-Pandemic economy.

Dana Lennon, Esq. 

Senior Director of Allied Health Programs
Hostos Community College
Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development
New York City 

Dana J. Lennon, Esq. is the Senior Director of Allied Health Programs at Hostos Community College's Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development.  She oversees the Allied Health Career Pipeline Program and the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program.  She also helps provide strategic and operational leadership for the division. Ms. Lennon’s nonprofit and healthcare career expands over 15 years.  Her experience includes strategic planning, grant writing, program development and ensuring compliance to grants, contracts and government rules and regulations.  She also oversaw the financial and operational management of grants totaling over $32 million. Ms. Lennon currently serves on the Board of the Continuing Education Association of New York.  She has also served on the Bronx Community Board 8, New York Coalition of 100 Black Women and the New York University Alumni Association.  Ms. Lennon served as a volunteer attorney for CUNY Citizenship and Immigration Project and for inMotion, Inc. Justice for all Women. Dana J. Lennon, Esq. is a native New Yorker.  She received a BS in Information Systems from New York University, a JD from Brooklyn Law School and is licensed to practice in New York State.  Ms. Lennon is also a licensed New York Real Estate Broker.

David Seeley

Executive Director 
Rochester Works!
Western New York

Dave Seeley serves as the Executive Director of RochesterWorks. In that capacity, he helps manage the Monroe County workforce development system, helping ensure that the region’s workforce meets the demands of its economy. Prior to coming aboard at RochesterWorks, Dave served as the elected Town Supervisor of his hometown of Irondequoit for over five years. He has also served in various roles in State Government, including Senior Advisor for former Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, and as a Regional Representative to former Governor Cuomo. Dave is a 2003 graduate of Allegheny College (PA) and a 2014 graduate of SUNY Brockport’s Master of Public Administration program.

Denia Tavarez

Senior Director of Adult Workforce Programs
Commonpoint Queens
New York City

Denia Tavarez is the Senior Director of Adult Workforce Programs at Commonpoint Queens The Hub. Her 10 years of workforce services experience includes managing and developing vocational training and educational programs, business partnerships, and community partnerships in Queens and her native Lower East Side. Denia has developed relationships with leaders in the public and private sector due to her experience managing federally/state-funded programs (SNAP E & T Venture programs, WIAO, DYCD, NYCHA REES Partnership) and privately funded programs including Kresge Foundation, Robin Hood Foundation, CWE, JobsFirst, and the UJA - Federation Association. At Commonpoint Queens - The Hub, she currently manages 4 career pathway programs ( Healthcare, Culinary Arts, Information Technology, and Building Maintenance/Construction), an ESOL program, an Adult HSE/ TASC program, and a direct job placement assistance program. She has BBA from Pace University and Professional Human Resource Certification. During her spare time, Denia volunteers as a Junior Advisory Board Member for the Cornelia Connolly Center for Education located in the Lower East Side and is a 500 hour Certified Yoga Instructor. She partners with local organizations to host health and wellness workshops that encourage BIPOC to learn and develop their own self-care practices such as yoga, meditation, or mental health counseling.  

Dr. Darlene Williams

Chief Executive Officer 
Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow
New York City

Dr. Darlene Williams, CEO of Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT), is a visionary and transformational leader committed to empowering vulnerable communities and issues related to social injustice. Her career in nonprofit organizations, NYC government, and as an Associate Adjunct Professor at LIU guides her commitment to anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Prior to OBT, Dr. Williams served as the inaugural Chief Program Officer at Women in Need (WIN). Leading efforts to transform the lives of NYC homeless women and children by providing safe housing and critical services, helping families rebuild their lives and break the cycle of homelessness. Dr. Williams earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy & Administration with honors from Walden University, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from MCNY, and a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from Audrey Cohen College. Memberships: Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Board of Directors of Black Agency Executives, and Community Coalition on Mental Health. 

Fatma Ghailan

Director of Community Learning
Queens Public Library
New York City

Fatma Ghailan serves as Director of Community Learning at the Queens Public Library. Fatma currently oversees Adult literacy programs including ESOL; Adult Basic Education; High School Equivalency, Digital Inclusion & Technology Training initiatives; and Career Pathways and Entrepreneurial training and services. She holds a Masters in Strategic and Operational Marketing and a second Masters in TESOL. She has worked in adult as well was K-12 education for over a decade. She has sound knowledge of the best practices for adult education, and has worked closely to manage and integrate services in a collaborative effort to ensure that learners have access to high-quality instruction and services. Fatma is dedicated to providing quality programming that meets the current needs of the community. Fatma's diligence, passion and dedication to leadership and social justice motivate her work on a daily basis. 

Frank Munoz

Director of Academic Affairs
Bronx Educational Opportunity Center
New York City

Frank Munoz believes that the transformative power of education can create an everlasting positive impact at the individual, family, and community levels. Mr. Munoz is a life-long learner. He holds degrees from Union College and Louisiana State University. Presently, he is pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the American College of Education. In addition, Mr. Munoz has served in numerous capacities at the SUNY Bronx Educational Opportunity Center. Currently, he serves as the Director of Academic Affairs. Over the years, Mr. Munoz has made valuable contributions to his local and surrounding communities, through his assigned duties and personally. He has spearheaded many community events, including voter registrations drives, labor union meetings, job and health fairs, advocacy, and philanthropic initiatives. He has also served on the board of directors of several local nonprofits. His involvement has earned him well-deserved recognition by NYC and NYS elected officials, CUNY and SUNY.

Heather Hanlon

Director of Placement Services
VISIONS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

For the last six years, Heather Hanlon has worked for VISIONS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the workforce department, currently serving as the Director of Placement Services. Heather is an advocate for the disability community and a liaison to employers who want to diversify their workforce. During her time at VISIONS Services she has helped build a team that provides the most robust and successful employment services to blind and visually impaired job seekers in all of New York State, she has partnered with some of the world’s largest employers to start diversity hiring initiatives / robust disability accommodations departments and continues to break down barriers for job seekers with disabilities one at a time. Prior to joining VISIONS IN 2016, Heather worked for nearly 10 years providing employment and training to adults that were re-entering the workforce, at Community based organizations. Heather Graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Mental Health from Daemen College.

Irene Lew

Policy Analyst
Community Service Society of New York
New York City

Irene Lew is a Policy Analyst at the Community Service Society of NY, where she conducts research and writes about labor, workforce and education issues affecting the economic mobility of low-income New Yorkers. Her recent research has focused on expanding protections for app-based gig workers and other low-wage workers, as well as the inequitable economic impacts of COVID-19. Irene has also worked on reports related to the lack of diversity in the city’s tech sector, awareness of paid leave and other labor standards; and the barriers facing New York City’s out-of-school, out-of-work young adults in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Prior to CSS, Irene was a Research Analyst at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, where her research centered on housing challenges faced by low-income households. She has a master’s degree in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from The New School.

Jaime Franchi

Government Relations Liason
Island Harvest Food Bank
New York City

Jaime Franchi is an award-winning communications professional with experience in government, investigative journalism and media relations. She formerly served the Suffolk County Executive as Deputy Communications Director for Strategic Planning, where she was responsible for planning media events and communication strategy, responding to media inquiries, crafting editorials and contributing press materials. Prior, she worked as the Associate Public and Media Relations Director at Long Island University. Her additional responsibilities included serving alongside Congressman Steve Israel at the Global Institute at LIU, coordinating programmatic events for the University that included such notable guests as President Bill Clinton, General David Petraeus and Vice President Joe Biden. The former Executive Editor for the Long Island Press, Jaime was recognized as a 2016 recipient for Writer of the Year by the New York Press Association and won numerous awards for her coverage of education, politics and feature stories by the Press Club of Long Island, a chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Jaime’s work has been published in the New York Times, Salon and Huffington Post. Jaime is a contributing author to two award-winning anthologies, including “These Winter Months, The Late Orphan Project” and “Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox.” Jaime graduated from Dowling College with honors in English Literature and attended the graduate program for English Literature at Hofstra University. Jaime is deeply dedicated to the Long Island community, proudly serving on the advisory board for Long Island University’s Not-For-Profit Shared Services Committee, on the gala committee for the Long Island chapter of the American Red Cross and on the Executive Board for Operation V.E.S.T., a non-profit dedicated to eradicating veteran suicide. Jaime lives in Islip Terrace, New York with her two children. 

Jaimi Stapf

Programs Manager
Jewish Family Services of WNY
Western New York

Attended Michigan State University and received a BS in Psychology before returning to Western New York to pursue a career in Human Services. Jaimi has worked at numerous community agencies throughout Niagara County making connections and gaining understanding of the needs of the community. “Make a difference today for someone who is fighting for their tomorrow “- Jim Kelly, is the motto which Jaimi strives to work within when working with her community. Attending the NYATEP Workforce Academy for Policy and Advocacy will provide the understanding and skill to be able to navigate the complex systems which dictate the services that are available to the community.

Jason Miller

Executive Director
Cattaraugus–Allegany Workforce Development Board
Southern Tier

Jason Miller is the Executive Director of the Cattaraugus–Allegany Workforce Development Board. He has been with the Workforce Development Board for 15 years, first serving as the Fiscal and Program Monitor for 12 years before being promoted to Executive Director. In his time with the Workforce Development Board, Jason has been involved in the budgeting process, policy making, program monitoring and fiscal oversight of an annual budget of slightly over 1 million dollars of Federal Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act funding. Jason is a graduate of Allegany Central School. He attended SUNY Fredonia and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He is a graduate and former Board Member of Leadership Cattaraugus. Jason currently serves on the boards of Literacy West, NY and Directions in Independent Living. Jason lives in Olean with his wife, Jennifer and their two children, Mikayla and Caden.

Katie Masi

Manager of Income Building
Women In Need (WIN)
New York City

Katie Masi has been working in workforce development for five years. Currently, she serves as the Manager of Income Building at Women in Need (Win).  Katie has been with Win for over four years; prior to becoming Manager, Katie was the Income Building Specialist in two of Win’s East Harlem shelters. Katie works closely with Win’s Research, Evaluation & Strategic Learning team on evaluating grants and programs. Outside of her work at Win, Katie is a Board Member of the A.L. Mailman Foundation and a founding member of Fashion of Tomorrow.  Katie has a Masters of Arts in International Affairs, Governance and Rights from The New School and Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies, Human Rights Studies from Trinity College in Hartford, CT.

KenTara John

Director of Brooklyn Networks
Brooklyn Workforce Innovations (BWI)
New York City

KenTara John has extensive experience in Brooklyn nonprofits. KenTara was initially hired as a Program Coordinator for the Brooklyn Networks program in 2013, one of the skilled based programs that Brooklyn Workforce Innovations (BWI) offers to NYC underemployed and unemployed individuals.  Prior to coming into the role, she worked on the Project Hope grant which connected survivors of Hurricane Sandy to housing and redevelopment services and provided counseling to students that had been directly impacted by the storm. KenTara has experience working as a Talent Manager, recruiting individuals to work for New York City Department of Youth and Community Development funded afterschool programs in the East New York and Cypress Hills neighborhoods of Brooklyn. From working with people with disabilities, empowering adults to access high school equivalency diplomas as an Adult Education Instructor she understands the importance of partnering with underserved populations. KenTara returned to BWI as the Program Director of the Brooklyn Networks workforce development program in 2018 and her current responsibilities include program development, supporting recruitment and job placement efforts and general oversight of Brooklyn Network’s daily programmatic operations. She graduated magna cum laude with her MPA at Long Island University and a proud graduate of Queens College, she seeks to continue echoing the importance of equity and quality access in workforce development and beyond. 

Lena Bhise

Senior Policy Manager
New York City Employment & Training Coalition
New York City

A former media professional, Lena brings over a decade of varied work experience and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy. Passionate about improving New York City for everyone, Lena joined NYCETC in January 2021 as the Senior Manager of Policy and Campaigns. She heads up NYCETC’s special project-based policy work, such as the NYC Inclusive Growth Initiative. In addition, she supports the formation of NYCETC policy and advocacy positions and fosters broader partner engagement. A New Jersey native, Lena received her Bachelor’s Degree in History with minors in Journalism and Anthropology from New York University in 2005. After college, Lena worked as a sports television producer in New York City and Los Angeles, and gained invaluable skills in storytelling, project management, and communication. In her 10+ years in the media industry, Lena honed in on stories about youth, women, and people of color. In graduate school at USC, Lena focused on community-oriented policy initiatives for women and people of color, both in the classroom and with a social impact fellowship. Lena’s love for New York City extends to her lifelong fandom of the New York Mets and New York Giants (although that love may not extend back).  The US Open is another story altogether.

Liza Ochsendorf

Director of Employment & Training 
Warren County Employment & Training Administration
Capital Region

Liza Ochsendorf is the Director of Employment & Training for Warren County, NY.  She oversees the county operations of WIOA Title I programs in the Warren County Career Center and works closely with local and regional leaders and partners to address barriers to employment such as child care, housing, transportation, skill deficits, etc.  Her work in addressing local industry needs has led to stronger private-public sector partnerships to problem solve collaboratively for short and long-term solutions to workforce challenges.  Her passion for workforce development and economic development is rooted in community collaboration, effective communication, and clear goals and desired outcomes for all stakeholders.  Liza has 14 years of experience working in urban education in Washington, DC where she oversaw Life Skills programs and was instrumental in implementing Restorative Justice practices to build community. Liza is a graduate of Syracuse University and received a BS in Child & Family Studies.  She resides in Glens Falls, NY and serves on the Board of Directors for the Tri-County United Way, the Executive Board for the Saratoga-North Country Continuum of Care, and the Park Theater Foundation Board.

M. Elizabeth Harris

Director of Enrollee Services
City of Albany, Department of Youth & Workforce Services
Capital Region

Elizabeth Harris, M.S. Ed., Director of Enrollee Services, Youth & Workforce Services in Albany, NY (DYWS) has over 20 years of experience in program development, grant management, partnership collaboration and service delivery design for youth and adults in the Capital District combined in her current and prior positions. As Director of Enrollee Services, she is responsible for the program administration and development of the city’s Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds, which provide funding assistance for individuals to earn industry specific credentials and HSE /Post-Secondary degrees. The DYWS is charged to provide enhanced employment opportunities for job seekers and foster a quality workforce for businesses in the Capital Region. Ms. Harris holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Political Science and Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology and Curriculum Development in Education from the University at Albany, SUNY. A native of Albany, Ms. Harris is the proud parent of two adult daughters and a grandparent to one amazing granddaughter. “What I love most about my job is that we as a team help transform lives by empowering individuals to pursue their passion through training and employment advisement.”

Malik Sammons

Lead Capacity Builder
YouthBuild NYC Collaborative
New York City

Malik Sammons is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University. As a student a large focus of his was dedicated towards how he could advocate for his peers through action-oriented clubs and organizations. Currently, Malik works for YouthBuild’s New York City collaborative where he is fighting to help in the process of making sure out of school, out of work (opportunity youth) youth have a better opportunity to enter the workforce and start their journey toward a successful career and further themselves as empowered adults. With his passion for advocacy Malik looks to eventually enter into a career as a public interest attorney to help those who typically aren’t in positions to advocate for themselves.

Maricela Brea

Director of Workforce and Inter-Government Relations
Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD)
New York City

Maricela Brea is a collaborative leader with extensive experience in advancing quality of programs and services, and empowering others to make a difference. Currently, Maricela serves as Director of Workforce and Inter-Government Relations for NYC: ATWORK, the first public-private workforce initiative for New Yorkers with disabilities at the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD). Her vast experience in workforce development, program management and education has allowed her to lead on the inclusion for people with disabilities in city government.  Receiving recognition for her work she was awarded the 2019 Women of New York Government Above and Beyond Award from City & State NY. Prior to joining city government, Maricela spent 17 years working in the non-profit field and 7 years in higher education.  Maricela holds a Professional Diploma in Counseling and Personnel Services, and a Master of Science in Education from Fordham University, Graduate School of Education.

Molly Tocin

Operations and Corporate Engagement Manager

Molly Tocin is the Operations and Corporate Engagement Manager at the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP), a nationally recognized, leading nonprofit membership organization in the field of workforce development. She continues to grow the organizational corporate engagement in membership, fundraising and training capacities. Molly has had a successful career in development as she has continually raised funds for three leading capital region organizations and municipalities. Throughout her career, Molly has raised funds for educational workforce development in the arts for Proctors Collaborative, large scale free public concert series for the City of Albany Special Events department and pushed heart and brain health through advocacy with the American Heart Association. She has worked continuously with local and national organizations to raise awareness and highlight important causes that affect so many! Molly is a graduate of SUNY Albany with a degree in History and minor is Education as well as a wife and mom of 2 strong and independent little ladies. 

Nathan Mandsager

Chief Operating Officer
Pine Ridge Industries (PRI)
Capital Region

Nathan Mandsager serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Pine Ridge Industries (PRI), a division of Schenectady ARC. PRI is a production and manufacturing hub that partners with businesses to assemble, pack, & ship their products around the world while deploying people with disabilities as an extension of their workforce. As a social enterprise expert, Nathan is utilizing his experience and skills to lead his team of 50+ employees in this division of Schenectady ARC toward future growth. Nathan’s career has been marked by leading a variety of programs, business services, and initiatives aimed at empowering employment by focusing on retention and productivity while supporting individuals in workforce preparation and career advancement.  When not working, Nathan enjoys spending time with his wife in the mountains and investing in his two kids as they transition into adulthood. 

Rasheeda Edmonds

Director of the Summer Youth Employment Program
United Activities Unlimited
New York City

Rasheeda Edmonds is the Director of the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) for United Activities Unlimited. Rasheeda graduated from Brooklyn College, with her B.A in Psychology and Child Development. In her time at the organization, she has overseen the special initiative contracts that focus on supporting at-risk youth in gaining and retaining summer employment. In this role, Rasheeda has created partnerships and maintained relationships with community organizations that provide services to the youth. She has been able to support youth in a holistic manner from mentorship, addressing the barriers to employment, while ensuring they receive equitable opportunities. Rasheeda is passionate about youth workforce development because the work we do creates opportunities for the youth, advocates for equity, and provides the youth with meaningful experiences that have positive impacts on their growth.  Rasheeda has been recognized for her leadership, resilience, and commitment to serving our youth populations.  

Rebecca Simison

Associate Vice President for Research and Policy
New York State Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health

Rebecca Simison is the Associate Vice President for Research and Policy at the New York State Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health. A recent graduate of the University at Albany, with a Bachelor degree in American Politics and World History. Rebecca  worked as a Legislative Aide in the office of Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, and has interned for political campaigns, Congressional offices, and at EMILY’s List in Washington, DC. She aims to advocate for those who are economically disadvantaged, especially for People of Color and the LGBTQ+ community for access to essential resources.  

Roberta Davis

Assistant Director of Employment and Training
Capital Region

Roberta Davis is the Assistant Director of Employment and Training at L.E.A.P. where she has been employed for over 10 years. As the Senior Employment Counselor she was instrumental in the process of building a public portal to make applying for services easier for our clients. Roberta created a local program utilizing the Bridges out of Poverty philosophy where clients participated in problem-solving discussions and investigations to help people find their own way out of poverty. Her goal is to be a strong proponent in helping families become more self-sufficient. The work L.E.A.P does helps to provide the local community with the programs and services needed for creating a better future. Glens Falls has been her home for years. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education from SUNY in Plattsburgh. Roberta’s interests include reading, and spending time with her 5 adult children and 8 grandchildren.

Ron Loveland

Summit Safety & Efficiency Solutions
Long Island

Many manufacturers that Ron speaks to have challenges with Safety, rising costs, late deliveries, quality  problems, shrinking margins, flagging sales and shortage of cash. Ron’s business, Summit Safety & Efficiency Solutions, uses Safety, Quality & Industrial Engineering techniques to address these issues through  Safety, Quality and Efficiency improvement. Ron has over 30 years of manufacturing, Industrial Engineering, change management, leadership, general management, and operations experience, including over 10  years of training and consulting accomplishments. As a West Point graduate, former Army officer, and business manager, Ron brings a wealth of management, leadership and change management experience to his  clients. One of Ron’s most recognizable positions was as a product line manager of the Black Hawk helicopter at Sikorsky Aircraft. In his current role, Ron runs a Safety, Quality & Industrial Engineering training  and consulting firm, helping manufacturers, distributors and construction clients to improve safety, productivity, free up working capital and accelerate top line growth. Summit has assisted many NYC metro firms to take advantage of Local, State and Federal grant opportunities, R&D Tax Credits, sales tax recovery and implement improvement strategies to improve productivity,  free up working capital and accelerate top line growth. In 2019, Ron took a busload of students from Hauppauge High Schools to four manufacturers in the Innovation Park at Hauppauge (aka the Hauppauge Industrial Park) to introduce them to the great careers in manufacturing right in their backyard. In 2020, Ron headed up a virtual Manufacturing Day connecting 80 manufacturers to 60+ schools & students with over 200 registered for the event. Again, in 2021, Ron ran the Long Island celebration of Manufacturing Day which connected 40 manufacturers to over 150 educators, students, representing 60+ schools  and local colleges.  The number 1 issue for Long Island manufacturers, distributors and other businesses is finding skilled labor.  To address that concern, I am looking for ways to help schools prepare students & job seekers for work in  manufacturing. I look forward to working with NYATEP to fill these gaps.

Samir Fayyaz

Workforce Development Consultant in Research & Policy
1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds (TEF)
New York City

Samir Fayyaz, MA in Government and Politics is a Workforce Development Consultant in Research & Policy at the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds (TEF). In his role as policy workforce consultant, Samir helps develop advocacy strategies related to higher education and workforce development within healthcare, stays up-to-date on state policy trends and help articulate how TEF can contribute to the debate, and collaborates with external stakeholders including unions and employers to develop advocacy strategies that address workforce education in healthcare.Prior to working at TEF, he was Lecturer and Chief Academic Advisor in the Political Science and Legal Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Thom Kleiner

Executive Director
Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board
Mid-Hudson Region

Thom Kleiner has been the Executive Director of the Westchester-Putnam Workforce development Board since 2018.  He is responsible for directing all aspects of the workforce development and career center system including program development, staffing, operations, budgeting and fiscal management.  He partners with economic development agencies, academic institutions, not for profits and business partners to identify hiring needs and skills gaps and optimizes opportunities for job seekers in Westchester and Putnam counties.  Previously he was Hudson Valley Regional Representative for the Commissioner of the NYS Department of Labor and Deputy Director of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council.  Prior to that, he was a seven term Town Supervisor in the Town of Orangetown in Rockland County.