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- Proverbs 3:5-6
September 2023
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Center for the Future of Arizona Introduces 2023 Southern Arizona Workforce Leadership Academy Fellows
By Alison Bailin - Tuesday Apr 11, 2023
Today, Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) announces the Fellows selected for its Southern Arizona Workforce Leadership Academy, a 10-month professional development program provided in partnership with Pima Community College and the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. The Southern Arizona Academy is designed to improve local economic mobility and workforce development efforts. Over the next year, the new Fellows will strengthen their networks, enhance their leadership, and create innovative solutions to the challenges workers and businesses face in Southern Arizona.

The workforce development system is a set of organizations and activities that prepares people for employment, helps workers advance in their careers, and seeks to build a skilled workforce to support employers and their local economy. Strengthening the workforce development system contributes to developing quality jobs and the education and training necessary to participate in a vibrant economy and develop meaningful careers. For this purpose, Workforce Leadership Academies are hosted in communities across the US and Canada and bring local leaders together for an in-depth series of shared learning and solution-building. The Southern Arizona Academy is the second Workforce Leadership Academy provided in Arizona and is made possible in part by the Aspen Institute and the Thomas R. Brown Family Private Foundation.

"Strengthening workforce development contributes to creating a stronger and brighter future for Arizona. A high-capacity, responsive, and adaptable workforce system is essential to developing and sustaining the equitable and strong economic growth that Arizonans want,” stated Dr. Sybil Francis, President & CEO of CFA. “The Academy program expands and strengthens the capacity of our local workforce leaders to address system-based challenges. We are pleased to partner with Pima Community College and the Aspen Institute to bring this important work to the Southern Arizona area.”

The 2023 Southern Arizona Workforce Leadership Academy Fellows were selected through a competitive application process and represent a range of nonprofit organizations, business associations, institutes of higher education, training organizations, and public agencies in the region. The Fellows are:

Nubert Boubeka, Founder & Board Member, Ambivium & American Red Cross, Southern AZ Chapter
Dr. Patty Diaz, Regional Director, Business & Educational Partnerships, Northern Arizona University
Ashley Dickey, Executive Director of Human Resources and Marketing, Benson Hospital
Danielle Duarte, Director Talent Management / WIB Board Development Chair, Hospitality Staffing Solutions / Pima County Workforce investment board,
Susan Elliott, Specialist, Workforce Development, MHC Healthcare,
Skylie Estep, Human Resource Manager of North America, Industrial Development Authority of the City of Sierra Vista
Manuel Felix, Founder & CEO, AZ Cyber Initiative
Mary Fleck, Regional Program Manager, State of Arizona, Department of Economic Security, Rehabilitation Services Administration
Kate Lemke, Workforce Development Administrator, Banner Health Plans
Emily McCarthy, Senior Director, Career Development, University of Arizona Student Engagement & Career Development
Selena McDonald, Workforce Development Administrator, Banner Health Plans,
Karla Morales, Vice President, Arizona Technology Council,
Jessica Normoyle, Director, Operations, JobPath, Inc.
Rhonda Pina, Deputy Director, Workforce Development, Pima County Community and Workforce Development
Jorge Rivero, Project Director, Equus Workforce Solutions,
Lisa Schlegel, Director, Business Development and Engagement, Pima Community College,
Ginny Seltenright, Director, Operations & Compliance Adult Basic Education for College & Career, Pima Community College
Demetry Simon, President of the Board, Industrial Development Authority of the City of Sierra Vista
Jenifer Sumner, Executive Director, Program Management, Southwest Technical Education District of Yuma,
Dr. Jordan Utley, Director, Education, Pima Medical Institute
Gladys Walker, Vice President, Human Resources, Leonardo Electronics

The Southern Arizona Academy officially launches on April 18, 2023, and culminates with a collaborative capstone project presentation in December 2023. As a peer-learning community, the cohort will experience educational and networking opportunities to help manage the challenges they face in responding to the current workforce system and address changes in technology, business norms, and policy. These senior-level workforce Fellows will work with leading practitioners from around the country, learn about practical planning tools, and collaborate to reflect on and develop effective strategies to strengthen the local workforce system.

“We at Pima Community College are honored to partner with Center for the Future of Arizona and the Aspen Institute in this endeavor,” said Ian Roark, Vice Chancellor of Workforce Development & Innovation at Pima Community College. “With the leadership and support of our Board and our Chancellor/CEO, Lee Lambert, Pima has become a national leader in workforce development and a key partner in the ecosystem. The Southern Arizona Workforce Leadership Academy will bolster our common work across organizations in strengthening and aligning key plans and projects and help us identify and develop the next generation of workforce development leaders our community needs.”

The Southern Arizona Academy will be led by CFA Workforce Development Director Holly Kurtz, CFA Workforce Development Project Manager Tennille Penaloza-Hagen, Pima Community College Dean of Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning Amanda Abens, and a local Advisory Council comprised of leaders from across the Southern Arizona workforce system.

Additional information on the Southern Arizona Academy, the 2023 Fellows, and the local Advisory Council is available at