Innovating Georgia’s Workforce Pipeline Conference

Innovating Georgia's Workforce Pipeline Conference

Conference Information

Nearly 300 stakeholders from across industries gathered for the Innovating Georgia’s Workforce Pipeline Conference Nov. 1-2 at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel in Athens. With more than 24 breakout sessions and approximately 70 speakers, the sold-out event was an opportunity to learn about promising practices and emerging ideas to boost the state’s workforce.

Sponsored by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, the conference brought together partners in workforce development, education, business and economic development.

The conference also provided networking opportunities among attendees, which included economic developers, chamber of commerce leaders and members, K-12 and post-secondary educators, CTAE representatives, and business representatives.

Speakers & Topics

Attendees explored strategies for supporting youth as they transition from education to career. They also heard from national and state innovators, including Jennifer Pocai from Ascend at the Aspen Institute, who gave the keynote presentation on “Supporting Parents through Workforce Pathways: A Key Talent Pool in Georgia.” Croom shared why parents are a key population for workforce programs, relevant two-generation (2Gen) work happening in the state, and how practitioners can better address their needs.

Additional plenary speakers included Lloyd Avram, president of the Georgia Association of Manufacturers (GAM); Katie Kirkpatrick, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC), and Jenny Taylor, VP of Career Services and Chief Mission Officer of Goodwill of North Georgia.

Breakout session topics included “Collaborative Partnerships for Education Equity,” “Attracting Talent Through Vibrant Communities” and “Georgia’s Changing Demographics and Their Impact on Georgia’s Workforce.”

Conference Sessions 

View the Agenda

  • Building and Sustaining Effective Education and Business Partnerships
    Speakers: Liz Campbell, Director of Chapter Development, Atlanta Electrical Contractors Association; Ashton Watt, Director of People Operations, Eckardt Group; Valery Lowe, Director of College & Career Development, Forsyth County Schools

  • Leveraging Apprenticeships for Workforce Solutions
    Speakers: Shelly Meierarend, Client and Academic Initiative Skills Leader for North America, IBM; Irvin Clark, President, Southern Crescent Technical College; Danny Mitchell, HDCI Program Manager, Technical College System of Georgia, Office of Workforce Development

  • Workforce Housing, the Missing Middle, Inventory Crisis - What is this all about?
    Speakers: Katherine Moore, President, Georgia Conservancy; Margaret Lacy, Economic Policy Manager, Georgia Association of REALTORS; Chris Denson, Director of Policy and Research, Georgia Public Policy Foundation

  • How to Get a Teacher Externship Program Off the Ground
    Speakers: Asher Dozier, Vice President of Economic Development, Newton County Development Authority; Tim Schmitt, CTAE Director, Newton County Schools; Joe DeCocco, Head of Human Resources & Environmental Health and Safety, Verescence; Shamus Mulvihill, Plant Manager, SRG Global

    • No presentation available

  • Getting Down to Basics - Accounting Demystified
    Speaker: Tracy Arner, Assistant Director; Governmental Training, Education, and Development, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia

  • Why Data Visualization Matters
    Speaker: Brian Simmons, Public Service Assistant, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia

    • No Presentation available

  • Innovative and Agile Strategies to Recruit and Retain Talent
    Speaker: Drew Epting, Regional Manager, MAU Workforce Solutions

  • Economic Development for Workforce Development Professionals
    Speakers: Matt Colvin, UGA; Serra Hall, Executive Director, Newton County Industrial Development Authority; Ryan Waldrep, President, Dublin-Laurens County Development Authority

    • No presentation available

  • Professional Leadership Development: Tips and Tricks to Advance Your Leadership Skills
    Speaker: Marci Campbell, Public Service Associate, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia

  • The Impact of Georgia's Changing Workforce Demographics
    Speaker: Taylor Hafley, Applied Demographer, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia

  • Workforce Solutions through WIOA: Leveraging Federal Programs for Local Success
    Speakers: Rebecca M. Hunt, Public Service Faculty, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia; Brandon Ona, Business Services Director, Office of Workforce Development, Technical College System of Georgia; Breezy Straton, Vice President, Elevate Douglas Economic Partnership; Tiffany Andrews, Director of Workforce Development, Middle Georgia Regional Commission

    • No presentation available

  • Be Pro Be Proud
    Speakers: Misti Martin, President/CEO, Cherokee Office of Economic Development/Be Pro Be Proud; Heath Tippens, Vice President, Cherokee Office of Economic Development/Be Pro Be Proud; Shawna Mercer, Workforce/Communications Manager, Cherokee Office of Economic Development; Justina Brown, Project Manager , Be Pro Be Proud GA; Reggie LaGrone, Tour Manager, Be Pro Be Proud; Matthew "Hutch" Hutcheson, Tour Driver, Be Pro Be Proud

    • No Presentation available

  • Employing Returning Citizens
    Speakers: Brenda Smeeton, Legal Director, Georgia Justice Project; Phil Sutton, Vice President, KUBOTA MANUFACTURING OF AMERICA CORP; Shane Sims, People Living in Recovery (501 (c) 3 nonprofit); Lloyd Martin, Senior VP of Operations, CKS Packaging; Holly Lynde, Public Service Faculty, Carl Vinson Institute of Government

    • No presentation available

  • Collaborative Partnerships for Education Equity: Building the Workforce of the Future
    Speakers: Teresa Cobb; Deirdra Cox, Founder/President, Community Sustainability Enterprise; Angie Lewis, Interim Executive Director of the Office of College and Career Readiness, Savannah-Chatham Public School System; Simone Byron, Executive Director, Georgia ProStart; Dana Render, Director of Human Resources, Trees Atlanta; Rhonda Anderson, Director of Curriculum and Program Planning, Community Sustainability Enterprise

    • No presentation available

  • Demystifying How to Hire Young Adults Under Age 18
    Speakers: Jenny Houlroyd, Certified Industrial Hygienist , Georgia Institute of Technology; Barbara Wall, Director of Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education, Georgia Department of Education; Charles Bowles, Director of Safety and Human Resources, Two State Construction/Thomson Roofing Company; Brian Cooksey, Director - Workforce Development, Shaw Industries

  • Attracting Talent Through Vibrant Communities
    Speakers: Danny Bivins, Senior Public Service Associate, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia; Kaitlin Messich, Public Service Associate, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia

  • Creating Inclusive and Supportive Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities
    Speakers: Monique Bell; Gloria Puentes, Director of Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Sodexo; Alexis Szelwach, Transition Coordinator, Destination Dawgs, University of Georgia

  • Free Georgia Data Resources
    Speakers: Rebecca M. Hunt, Public Service Faculty, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia; Marion Phillips, Research Supervisor, Community & Economic Development, Georgia Power; Jackie Lundberg, Chief Operating and Data Officer, Governor's Office of Student Achievement; David Evans, Database Architect, Governor's Office of Student Achievement

  • Supercharge Your Community Through Leadership Development
    Speakers: Matt Bishop, Director, J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development; Valencia Williamson, President/CEO, Clayton County Chamber of Commerce; Debbie Jones, Executive Director, Thomson-McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce; Andrea Belton, Alumni and Past Chair, Leadership Glynn

    • No presentation available

  • Proactive Employers: How to Recruit and Retain Today's Talent
    Speakers: Steph Strickland, Director of Talent Acquisition, Landmark Properties; Jamal Jessie, Workforce Development Manager, Georgia Power Company; Tracy Suber, Vice President, Education, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital

  • Economic, Workforce, and Social Impact at the Speed of Trust
    Speakers: Jenny Taylor, Vice President Career Services and Chief Mission Officer, Goodwill of North Georgia; Brett Lacy, Workforce Division Manager, Select Fulton; Joy Wilkins, Facilitator, Metro Atlanta eXchange for Workforce Solutions (MAX); Pooja Tripathi, Director of Workforce Initiatives, The Manufacturing Institute

  • Introduction to Program Evaluation
    Speakers: Danielle Augustine, Research Associate, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia; Karen DeMeester, Public Service Associate, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia

  • Community-Led Workforce Planning, Georgia Workforce Planning Guide Overview
    Speakers: Joseph Lillyblad, Education and Workforce Development Manager, Georgia Power; Michele Johnson, President/Executive Director, Greater Vidalia Chamber of Commerce/Toombs County Development Authority; Barry Dotson, Vice President for Student Affairs, Southeastern Technical College

Thanks to Our Sponsors

Sponsors include MAU Workforce Solutions, Amazon, Atlanta Gas Light, Georgia Power, Georgia Realtors, and Shaw Industries. Additional support is provided by the Atlanta Electrical Contractors Association, Electric Cities of Georgia, Georgia Association of Manufacturers, Goodwill of North Georgia, Jackson EMC and Textron.