Experts are busy reviewing and scoring 85 pre-apprenticeship program designs submitted in the final stage of the Rethink Adult Ed Challenge, a 10-month U.S. Department of Education challenge. One grand-prize winner will receive $250,000, and up to five runners-up will receive at least $100,000 each.

Adult education providers from 31 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam proposed pre-apprenticeships across a range of industries, including construction, manufacturing, healthcare, and technology. As finalists in the national challenge, they received access to subject matter experts and a range of digital resources during the Stage 2 virtual accelerator to help them refine their program designs.

Meet the experts reviewing the submissions

Following the close of Stage 2 submissions on June 14, 2021, the expert review panel scored submissions according to the selection criteria and advanced the leading submissions to the judging panel. The challenge judging panel — which brings together experts in adult education, workforce development, and social services — will now select the winning designs. 

Thank you to the judges for contributing their time and expertise:

  • Cherita Ellens, President and CEO, Women Employed
  • Jukay Hsu, Co-founder and CEO, Pursuit
  • Dr. Mary Alfred, Professor of Adult Education and Human Resource Development, College of Education at Texas A&M University
  • Nicholas Wyman, CEO and Founder, Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation
  • Sharon Bonney, CEO, Coalition on Adult Basic Education
  • Dr. Walter Bumphus, President and CEO, American Association of Community Colleges
  • Wendi Copeland, Chief Strategic Partnership Activation Officer, Goodwill Industries

And thank you to the review panel for supporting the Rethink Adult Ed Challenge:

  • 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 and Workforce Manager, The Health Education and Resources Institute
  • Monique Pascual, Director, Apprenticeship and 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

Receive updates on adult education resources

To help more adult education providers develop and deliver pre-apprenticeship programs, the Department will host a virtual workshop this fall. The September 2021 workshop will share learnings from the challenge and preview the Department’s online learning course — accessible to providers anywhere in the United States.

Subscribe to the challenge newsletter and follow Ed Prizes on Twitter to stay informed about the challenge winner announcement and workshop registration.