Judges

The judging panel, named below, includes experts in pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships, adult education, workforce development, and social services. Judges will score submissions according to the Stage 2 selection criteria.

Cherita Ellens

Cherita Ellens

President and CEO
Women Employed

Cherita Ellens is the CEO of Women Employed. She is a native Chicagoan and longtime advocate for Chicago women, youth, and families. Cherita believes that her purpose is to use her time, talent, and treasure helping the most marginalized gain self-sufficiency and full agency over their lives.

As CEO of Women Employed, Cherita leads an organization that, for nearly 50 years, has been dedicated to establishing equity for women in the workforce through affecting policy change, expanding access to educational opportunities, and advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces. Cherita has a Bachelor of Science, Speech Communications from Illinois State University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business.

Jukay Hsu

Jukay Hsu

Co-founder and CEO
Pursuit

Jukay Hsu is the co-founder and CEO of Pursuit, a social impact organization that trains adults with the most need and potential to gain their first tech job, advance in their career, and become the next generation of leaders in tech. Pursuit graduates are hired as software engineers by leading companies like Pinterest, Kickstarter, and Citibank, and on average go from making $18,000 to over $85,000 yearly.

Jukay serves as a Director of the New York City Water Board, the Vice Chair of Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Partnership for New York City Foundation. He was selected in 2020 as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Dr. Mary Alfred

Dr. Mary Alfred

Professor of Adult Education and Human Resource Development
College of Education at Texas A&M University

Dr. Mary Alfred is a Professor of Adult Education and Human Resource Development in the College of Education at Texas A&M University, where has has been a part of the faculty since 2006. Dr. Alfred’s primary research interests include sociocultural contexts of adult learning, social welfare and economic disparities among low-income and low-literate adults, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in education and the workplace. Since 2009, Dr. Alfred has also served as principal investigator and Executive Director for the Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning (TCALL). 

Dr. Alfred was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame in 2016 based on her research and leadership in the field of Adult Education. In 2020 she served as the President of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education.

Nicholas Wyman

Nicholas Wyman

CEO and Founder
Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation

Nicholas Wyman is the CEO and founder of the Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation, a global enterprise focused on exploring skills formation and workforce development trends.

An international expert and thought leader on career and technical education and the apprenticeship model, Nicholas started his career as an award winning apprentice, before attaining an MBA from Swinburne University and studying at Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government. He is a Winston Churchill Fellow, author of the award-winning book Job U, and a regular contributor to Forbes and other media.  He lives with his wife and two children in Southern California.

Sharon Bonney

Sharon Bonney

CEO
Coalition on Adult Basic Education

Sharon Bonney began her career with Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) as a part-time administrator in 2009, moving up in the organization to be appointed the organization’s first CEO in 2019. Sharon has helped advance the organization on a number of fronts, including managing efforts to move it from a 1,300-member group in 2009 to 28,000+ active members in 2021. 

She was the guiding force behind designing and implementing a new national conference model; developing new state, national and workforce partnerships with more than 100 organizations; rebranding the COABE research journal and a related research-to-practice initiative; and designing all new professional development offerings, including webinars that engage have engaged more than 5,000 members. Bonney also spearheaded the development of the internationally acclaimed, six-time award-winning Educate and Elevate public awareness campaign, which brought much-needed visibility to the value of adult education and increased funding for adult education.

Dr. Walter Bumphus

Dr. Walter Bumphus

President and CEO
American Association of Community Colleges

Dr. Walter G. Bumphus is president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges. He previously served as a professor in the Community College Leadership Program and as chair of the Department of Educational Administration at The University of Texas at Austin, holding the A. M. Aikin Regents Endowed Chair in Junior and Community College Education Leadership. From 2001 to 2007, Dr. Bumphus served as president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. He has also served as Chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College and President of the Higher Education Division of Voyager Expanded Learning. 

In 1992, Dr. Bumphus was recognized as a distinguished graduate from both Murray State University and The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Bumphus has worked collaboratively with three presidential administrations and received the ACCT Marie Y. Martin CEO of the Year Award, chaired the AACC Board of Directors, and received the AACC Leadership Award.

Wendi Copeland

Wendi Copeland

Chief Strategic Partnership Activation Officer
Goodwill Industries

Wendi Copeland is Goodwill Industries International’s Chief Strategic Partnership Activation Officer. Her team’s portfolio includes partner engagement, government relations, and philanthropy. Over her 30+ year workforce development career, Copeland has led rapid growth of business and mission lines in three non-profits. She also serves on numerous national advisory and work groups that focus on equitable credentialing, career advancement, incumbent worker upskilling, and economic mobility. She has a B.S. in Sociology and M.S. in Counseling Psychology.

Stage 2 review panel

The Stage 2 expert review panel scored submissions according to the Stage 2 selection criteria and advanced the leading submissions to the judging panel.

  • Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, Senior Fellow, National Skills Coalition
  • Anne Pfleger, President, National Association of Women in Construction
  • Antiqua Cleggett, Executive Director, Alabama Works
  • Daniel Serota, Manager of Public Affairs, Aon
  • Edison Friere, Director of Gateway Initiatives, JEVS Human Services
  • Jason Simon, Director, Advancement Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative
  • Josh Christianson, Project Director, Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship
  • Keighan Gunther, Assistant Vice President, LaunchCode
  • Kristina Szczyrbak, Executive Director, West Virginia Women Work
  • Laura Dresser, Associate Director, Center On Wisconsin Strategy, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Maria del Mar Cabiya, Director of Apprenticeship Strategies, Philadelphia Works
  • Mitch Fittro, Education & Workforce Manager, The Health Education and Resources Institute
  • Monique Pascual, Director, Apprenticeship & Instructional Service Agreements, City College of San Francisco
  • Orrian Willis, Senior Workforce Development Specialist, City and County of San Francisco
  • Sean Murphy, Senior Manager, Grant Portfolios, Walmart Foundation
  • Shannon Jahn, Employer Services Liaison – IT/Healthcare, City and County of Denver
  • Tony Davis, Senior Director, Workforce Initiatives, The Manufacturing Institute

Stage 1 review panel

The Stage 1 expert review panel scored submissions according to the Stage 1 selection criteria and selected finalists to progress to Stage 2.

  • Christine Carpenter, Vice President of Engagement, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning
  • Daniel Bustillo, Executive Director, Healthcare Career Advancement Program
  • Dayanna Torres, Director of Community Solutions, Jobs First NYC
  • Deborah Kobes, Senior Director, Jobs for the Future
  • Eli Dvorkin, Editorial and Policy Director, Center for an Urban Future
  • Erik Antokal, Assistant Vice President, Programs, Nontraditional Employment for Women
  • Erin Johanson, Research Director, Jobs with Justice
  • Frieda Molina, Deputy Director, Low-Wage Workers and Communities Policy Area, MDRC
  • Gina Wells, Senior Analyst, Maher & Maher
  • Jason Simon, Director, Advancement Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative
  • Jon Chan, Engineering Manager, Stack Overflow
  • Joshua Modlin, Director, Earn and Learn California Apprenticeship Initiative
  • Katie Spiker, Director of Government Affairs, National Skills Coalition
  • Kelly Kupack, Executive Director, Oregon Tradeswomen
  • Lark Jackson, Gender Equity Center Program Manager, National Center for Women’s Equity in Apprenticeship & Employment
  • Lauren Andersen, Executive Director, NYC Tech Talent Pipeline
  • Laurie Kierstead-Joseph, Workforce Development Chair, Coalition on Adult Basic Education
  • Molly Bashay, Senior Policy Analyst, Postsecondary Education and Workforce Development, The Center for Law and Social Policy
  • Myriam Sullivan, Director, Center for Apprenticeship and Work Based Learning, Jobs for the Future
  • Ruth Mazara, Director, Women in Construction, Moore Community House Women in Construction Program
  • Shakari Fraser, Senior Manager, Earn and Learn, Tulane University
  • Tiffany Thompson, Construction Career Pathways Program Manager, Metro
  • Tony Davis, Senior Director, Workforce Initiatives, The Manufacturing Institute
  • TreyMichael Reid, Business Development Manager, The Hope Program