Skip to main content
Home Programs Workforce Programs Greater Phoenix Workforce Leadership Academy

Greater Phoenix Workforce Leadership Academy

Why it matters

The Greater Phoenix Workforce Leadership Academy is a fellowship program for workforce development professionals in the Greater Phoenix area. In partnership between the Center for the Future of Arizona and the Aspen Institute, the Academy provides training and networking opportunities for workforce development professionals to learn new tools and collaboratively address common challenges. The Academy is supported by an Advisory Council of senior leaders from across the Greater Phoenix area representing organizations engaged in workforce development.

How it works

The ten-month Academy will run from May 2021 to February 2022 and is designed to strengthen the leadership pipeline and deepen collaborative relationships within local site areas so that Fellows and the organizations they represent are better able to advance the economic well-being of the people they serve. The twenty-four Academy Fellows will have the opportunity to work with leading practitioners from around the country, engage in leadership development activities, and use practical planning tools to develop effective workforce strategies and programs that build their local workforce system.

Our Partners

Academy Fellows

  • Audrey Bell-Jenkins— Workforce Development Manager, UMOM New Day Centers, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Katie Belous— Research Analyst, Pipeline AZ, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Colleen Bivona— Associate Director/Grants Manager, Grants Development and Management, Maricopa Community Colleges, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Miguel Fernandez— Professor, Chandler Gilbert Community College, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Eileana Gudiño— Community Development Director, Valley of the Sun United Way, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Kimberly Hanes— Regional Manager, Maricopa County, University of Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Jennifer McChristian— Site Director, YearUp - Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Jerry McPherson— Director of Economic Empowerment, Greater Phoenix Urban League, Phoenix, Arizona
  • James Montoya— Workforce Project Manager, City of Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Steve Navis— On-The-Job Training Supportive Services / Workforce Development Program Manager, ADOT Arizona Department Of Transportation, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Christine Niven— Director - Adult Education and Family Literacy Programs, Mesa Unified School District, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Leah Palmer— Executive Director, Arizona Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AzAMI), Mesa Community College, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Jose Patiño— Director, Education & External Affairs, Aliento Education Fund, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Terence "Dee" Pinkston— Deputy Director of Workforce Solutions, Chicanos Por La Causa, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Alison J. Rapping— CEO, Arouet Foundation, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Nathan Smith— Chief Program Officer, Phoenix Rescue Mission, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Mariana Torress— Assistant Program Officer, LISC, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Cathy Turley— Department Manager - Adult Education, Friendly House, Inc., Phoenix, Arizona
  • Terell Welch— Employment Coordinator, Arizona Department of Economic Security/EEA, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Andre Whittington— CEO & Principal Consultant, Opemia Consulting, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Ashley Wilhelm— Workforce Arizona Council Manager, Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity, Arizona Commerce Authority, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Richard Wilkie— Economic Development Director Pinal County Local Workforce Board Member, City of Casa Grande, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Steven Zylstra— President & CEO, Arizona Technology Council, Phoenix, Arizona

Arizona Advisory Council

  • Daniel Barajas— Associate Vice Chancellor, Workforce Development, Maricopa Community Colleges
  • Heather Carter— Executive Vice President, Greater Phoenix Leadership
  • Elizabeth Cole— Director of Outreach and Community Partnerships, Rio Salado College and [email protected] Maricopa County Workforce Board Member
  • Victor Contreras— Director, Workforce Solutions, Chicanos Por La Causa
  • Kristin Ferguson— Professor & Director, Center for Human Capital & Youth Development, Arizona State University
  • Jesus Love— Executive Director, Literacy Volunteers of America and [email protected] City of Phoenix Workforce Board Member
  • Jennifer Mellor— Chief Innovation Officer, Greater Phoenix Chamber
  • Liza Noland— Director of Rural Programs, Local First Arizona
  • Rob Stenson— Manager, [email protected] City of Phoenix
  • Katrina Thurman— Vice President, Mission Development, Goodwill of Central & Northern Arizona
  • Chevera Trillo— Administrator, Workforce Development, Arizona Department of Economic Security
  • Tina Wadham[email protected], Manager, [email protected] Maricopa County
  • Kweilin Waller— Deputy Director, Human Services, City of Phoenix
  • Kolu Wilson— Arizona Workforce Administrator, Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity

Key Funders

  • Walmart


Here are the 2022 Phoenix Business Journal Best Places to Work finalists

Posted on November 02, 2022 • Category: Story
By Greg Barr – Editor in Chief, Phoenix Business Journal

Arizona Daily Star: Arizona candidates need to heed voters’ voices

Posted on October 25, 2022 • Category: Op-Ed
By Sybil Francis – President & CEO, Center for the Future of Arizona

We invite you to continue the discussion and work with us.