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Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy

Academy Description

The Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy is a leadership fellowship for workforce development professionals. The Academy is a partnership between the City of Jackson and the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program with support from the Kellogg Foundation. The Academy will run from March 25, 2020 to January 2021 and is designed to strengthen the leadership pipeline and deepen collaborative relationships within the city of Jackson so that fellows and the organizations they represent are better able to advance the economic well-being of the people they serve. The 18-24 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.

 

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is a nonpartisan forum for values-based leadership and the exchange of ideas. The Aspen Institute has earned a reputation for gathering diverse, nonpartisan thought leaders, creatives, scholars and members of the public to address some of the world's most complex problems. But the goal of these convenings is to have an impact beyond the conference room. They are designed to provoke, further and improve actions taken in the real world.

 

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

2020 Aspen Fellows

 

 

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Dr. Angela Wheeler-Bass

Dr. Angela Wheeler-Bass is currently the Executive Director of the Mississippi Early Learning Alliance (MELA). MELA drives collective impact with diverse stakeholders to achieve systemic change leading to the holistic development of Mississippi children in their first 8 years of life. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Mississippi. She earned her Master’s in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative Women’s Studies from Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia. Prior to her work at MELA, Angela Bass was the Deputy Director of Policy at Mississippi First, a school administrator in Memphis, TN, and she taught math to middle and high school students in Tunica, MS, Horn Lake, MS, and Forrest City, AR. Dr. Bass is originally from Tunica, MS by way of Horn Lake, MS. Currently, she resides in Jackson, MS, with her husband and two children.

Angela Bass is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

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Cassio Batteast

Cassio Batteast is a native of Charleston, Mississippi. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development from Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi. He also attended Jackson State University where he received his Master of Arts degree in Urban & Regional Planning (Community Development). Cassio brings a host of advanced interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to work closely with a wide range of constituents, have been involved in successfully developing programs and strategic partnerships with educational institutions, faith-based organizations, local governments and other community/nonprofit organizations. Cassio Batteast has dedicated his career to working with and for disadvantaged youth, families and communities across the State of Mississippi and neighboring areas. Cassio Batteast currently serve as the Bank On Fellow/Economic Mobility Director for the United Way of Capital Area. United Way’s economic mobility goal is to ensure that individuals and families improve their socio-economic status. He has extensive leadership experience, skills in program administration and development, non-profit management, fundraising, partnership integration and marketing. He is actively involved in his community through a number of organizations including Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Strengthening Families, Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance, Leadership & Sustainability for Black Male Achievement, National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Fund, National Juvenile Justice Network & People Advocacy Institute.

Cassio Batteast is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

Angela Bass is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

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Dr. Rashanda Booker

Dr. Rashanda Booker was appointed as the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s inaugural director of institutional equity and partnerships in April 2018. In her role as director of institutional equity and partnerships, Booker’s responsibilities include collaborating with institutional leaders by playing a lead role in carrying out the institution’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and establishing strong partnerships with public and private higher education institutions, especially HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions. Her extensive experience as a higher education practitioner, and an individual with deep understanding of the importance of diversity and equity will help advance the institution’s mission by utilizing her creativity, attention to detail, relationship building, and proven track record as an effective leader. The 2017 NASPA Women in Student Affairs – Phenomenal Woman received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southeastern Louisiana University, and her doctorate in Educational Leadership, Research, and Counseling from Louisiana State University.

Rashanda Booker is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

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Mrs. Fallon Brewster

Jackson, MS native, Mrs. Fallon Brewster is a graduate of Jackson State University and Belhaven University and is currently writing her dissertation to receive a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning. Fallon is a published writer, speaker, manager, wife, and mom of one.

Fallon Brewster is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

The Workforce Leadership Academies are part of the Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, a network of leadership and fellowship programs run by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. Within this Network, EOP connects national and local leaders from across sectors — nonprofit, government, business, philanthropy, academia, and more — to advance policies and practices with the potential to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s economy. Learn more at as.pn/eofn.

Stephen Brown

Stephen Brown

A native Jacksonian, Stephen graduated from Murrah High School before heading to Loyola University in New Orleans to earn his bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and a minor in Music Business. Stephen is the youngest of four children born to Herbert and Stephany Brown. Coming from a family of educators, Stephen’s counseling and presentation style is reminiscent of a college professor. Stephen has been a full-time staff member with WHEF since January 2013. He is a member of National College Access Network, Mississippi Counseling Association, and most notably the Southern Association of College Admission Counselors from which he received the Rising Star Award at the regional conference in 2017. He was recently appointed to the governing board of the same organization in April of 2019. His passion for education and working face-to-face with students is immediately apparent when witnessing his interaction with families. He takes the most pride in providing free ACT Prep services, having had multiple students increase their overall scores by as many as 10 points!

Stephen Brown is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Gilbert-Manogin

Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Gilbert-Manogin has always had a thirst for knowledge and community involvement. So much that she participated in several programs that targeted youth and youth empowerment as well as community development and advocacy. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Tougaloo College after graduating from Tougaloo; she earned her Master’s degree in History and her Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning at Jackson State University. Currently Dr. Manogin is employed at the City of Jackson’s Office of Housing and Community Development. In 2016, the City of Jackson became the State’s first recipient of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Lead Hazard Control Grant. From this award, the City of Jackson established the city’s first Lead Safe Jackson Housing Program, where Dr. Manogin is the Program Manager.

Mary-E. Gilbert-Manogin is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

The Workforce Leadership Academies are part of the Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, a network of leadership and fellowship programs run by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. Within this Network, EOP connects national and local leaders from across sectors — nonprofit, government, business, philanthropy, academia, and more — to advance policies and practices with the potential to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s economy. Learn more at as.pn/eofn.

Willie Jones

Willie Jones is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

The Workforce Leadership Academies are part of the Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, a network of leadership and fellowship programs run by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. Within this Network, EOP connects national and local leaders from across sectors — nonprofit, government, business, philanthropy, academia, and more — to advance policies and practices with the potential to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s economy. Learn more at as.pn/eofn.

Beverley Johnson-Durham

Beverley Johnson-Durham joined the City of Jackson in 2008, an is currently the Executive Office Coordinator for the Department of Human and Cultural Services. She has worked in several positions under five different administrations. She has served as administrative assistant to the mayor, Jobs for Jacksonian’s Coordinator and Youth Employment Placement Coordinator. Beverley received her Graduate Degree from the Mississippi School of Banking through the University of Mississippi and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Radio Television and Film from the University of Southern Mississippi. Beverley has an extensive work history in management, Human Resources and customer services. She has a passion and a desire to connect ex-offenders with services and resources that will ultimately lead to gainful employment. Beverley serves as a member of American Cancer Society Health Equity Community Leadership Team, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and an Advisory Board Member of New Way Mississippi Inc.

Beverley Johnson Durham is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

 

Dr. Lashanda Jordan

Dr. Lashanda Jordan is the Executive Director of the Career Services Center at Jackson State University. In this role she serves as the primary liaison between the university, its students and alumni, and employers on a state, regional, national scale. She is responsible for fiscal planning and management for career services, including all operations and staffing matters. She also serves as adviser and interface with representatives of industrial, governmental, and educational employers to assist in the most effective use of career services’ efforts. Dr. Jordan has conducted numerous presentations on job search development skills, resume writing and proper business and dinning etiquette. She is certified by the Etiquette Institute (St. Louis, MO) to teach business and social etiquette. Prior to her current employment, Dr. Jordan was employed by Millsaps College, as the Assistant Director of the Career Center, at Auburn University as and Academic Advisor and Georgia Tech as a Residence Life Coordinator. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Mississippi University for Women, a Master of Science Degree from Mississippi State University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education from Jackson State University. Dr. Jordan is a member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Southern Association of Colleges and Employers and the Mississippi Association of Colleges and Employers where she served as the 4 Year College Director, and Vice-President and President of the organization.

Lashanda Jordan is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

whitney mcdowell-robinson

Whitney McDowell-Robinson

Whitney McDowell-Robinson serves as the Director of Career Pathways/Career Services at Tougaloo College, where she is responsible for counseling students concerning the selection of career objectives, internship and employment opportunities, graduate and professional school selection, and other career-related activities. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Tougaloo College, a Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Jackson State University, and her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Urban Higher Education also from Jackson State University. Active in an array of professional and civic organizations, Whitney serves as the Past President of the Mississippi Association of Colleges & Employers (MACE), and she was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE). She is also a member of the Southern Association of Colleges & Employers (SoACE), the National Career Development Association (NCDA), and the Mississippi Counseling Association (MCA). She is also an active member of the Jackson (MS) Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Additionally, Whitney is a national board-certified mental health counselor, and she often volunteers her services with local community organizations.

Whitney McDowell-Robinson is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

Vickie Powell

Vickie Powell

Vickie Powell has been the Senior Vice President of Foundation at the Mississippi Economic Council since 2014. The Mississippi Economic Council (MEC) is the state’s Chamber of Commerce and has been the voice of Mississippi business since 1949. Vickie directs and manages the Public Education Forum (PEF) of Mississippi – Mississippi Scholars and Tech Master Programs along with the M.B. Swayze Foundation Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) Program. The STAR program has saluted the academic achievements of the state’s outstanding high school students and teachers from approximately 300 public, private, and parochial schools for over 50 years. Mississippi Scholars is a rigorous college-prep curriculum designed to motivate the middle 50% of students to meet the demands of higher education. The program is designed with a STEM-based education in mind. The Tech Master program prepares students to jump right into the workforce after high school by taking a more career minded approach to education. The goal is to prepare students for highly skilled, high-paying jobs. Both programs combined have recognized over 50,000 graduates. Students who have completed the programs earn a medallion, certificate and seals of distinction on their high school diploma and transcript. Since 2006, Vickie has honed her professional skills and advanced at MEC. Previously, Vickie worked at MINACT, INC. as Executive Director of Corporate Affairs and Business Development. She earned her Institute for Organization Management (IOM) certification from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Jackson State University.

Vickie Powell is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

Mangle L. Shanks

Mangle L. Shanks is the State Coordinator for Building Healing Healthy Military Communities (BHMC). In this role she is responsible for identifying resources and developing strategic partnerships to secure the overall well-being of Service Members and their families, especially those who are geographically dispersed throughout the state. All efforts in this position are geared toward promoting a formidable and healthy force to protect our national security through the lens of readiness, recruitment, retention, and resiliency. As a humanitarian and public health professional, she believes that real success and the fulfillment of life can only be achieved by maintaining well-being across all health dimensions, serving others, and most importantly, allowing God to lead and direct your steps. Previously, Mangle has extensively assisted Service Members, Youths and Older Workers in the employment and training arena. She graduated from Jackson State University with an MBA and from Walden University with a Ph.D. in Public Health with a concentration in community health.

Mangle Shanks is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

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Emily Stanfield

Emily Stanfield has been the President and CEO of the Refill Jackson Initiative (RJI) since it opened in July 2019. RJI is a nonprofit based in West Jackson that teaches young adults, ages 18 to 24, the skills necessary to be successful at work and in life. Young adults participate in classroom instruction, one-on-one mentoring, and on-the-job training over 10 weeks, after which they graduate into a paid internship, full-time employment, or further education. Previously, at the U.S. Department of State, Emily managed a $50-million portfolio of global human rights and democracy grants that rapidly responded to emergency situations at both individual defender and broader sociopolitical levels. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Millsaps College and her master’s degree in nonprofit management from The New School.

Emily Stanfield is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

Sarah Stripp

Sarah Stripp

Sarah Stripp is the Program Manager for Springboard To Opportunities. She is an experienced strategist and program coordinator and has worked for the past six years in community development based non-profits taking on a variety of roles from providing direct services to coordinating and building local and national partnerships. She has been at Springboard To Opportunities since the beginning of 2016, providing on-the-ground supportive services for families and coordinating and managing larger initiatives for the organization such as The Magnolia Mother’s Trust and the organization’s work around Children’s Savings Accounts. Sarah is currently a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network fellow.

Sarah Stripp is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

The Workforce Leadership Academies are part of the Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, a network of leadership and fellowship programs run by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. Within this Network, EOP connects national and local leaders from across sectors — nonprofit, government, business, philanthropy, academia, and more — to advance policies and practices with the potential to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s economy. Learn more at as.pn/eofn.

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Ms. Dorothy L. Young

Ms. Dorothy L. Young is a graduate of Alcorn State University (B.S.); The University of South Alabama (M.S.in Counselor Education and Minor in Rehabilitation Counseling); and Belhaven University (Master in Management). Her case study at Belhaven presented a historical overview of the kinds of relationships that should exist between vocational rehabilitation counselors and individuals with disabilities. In 2000, Ms. Young began work as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, with the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind. In this position, she was responsible for working with blind and or visually impaired clients to regain, advance, or maintain employment. It was during this time, that she experienced the many challenges one would face because of their physical or mental limitations. One of the biggest hurdles with successful job placement was the attitudes of other people that created barriers. Ms. Young began to coordinate and connect different businesses around the state in order to change the tendency not to hire a person with a disability. These connections enhance the abilities and skills of people with disabilities by bringing awareness and access to job site accommodations at no cost, blindness awareness training, and introduction with businesses, disability advocacy groups, and the community. Since then, Ms. Young has continued to work her way throughout the agency with various management promotions using her skills and knowledge in connecting, coordinating, and starting initiatives around the state/nationally for people with disabilities. Several highlights of her career that involved working predominately in the community with people with disabilities: She wrote Mississippi first Technology Act State Plan. The Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services applied and received the first Model Demonstration Grant from RSA for recycling assistive technology during her tenure as the Director of Project START. The Mississippi Re-Use Program saves the state well over $200,000.00 each year. Ms. Young started the agency’s first computer recycling program that targets the fourteen poverty counties in Mississippi. Ms. Young started the agency first assistive technology partnership with the MS Department of Education providing hands on training, loaning and demonstrating assistive technology to our great teachers and families. In the 2013, Ms. Young was promoted to the Director position for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind Services, Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services. During this tenure, she started the agency first Summer Internship Program for students with disabilities and the first partnership with the Governor’s Job Fair Network. Both initiatives are ongoing and has helped place people with disabilities with businesses, state and federal agencies hiring year around people with disabilities. Dorothy L. Young serves on the National Executive Leadership team as the Technology Chair for the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind. She is elected by her peers around the country for this position.

Dorothy Young is a member of the Jackson Workforce Leadership Academy Class of 2020-21, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

Local Advisory Council Members

Ms. Ivye Allen, Foundation for the Mid South
Dr. Robert Blaine, CAO, City of Jackson

Mr. Robert Leard, President, Regions Bank, Chair

Dr. Ira Murray, President, United Way of the Capitol Area

Dr. Gloria Mwase, MiBEST

Ms. Mary Powers, MS Dept. of Employment Security

Ms. Paula Sammons, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Mr. Richard Sun, Co-Founder, MS Coding Academies
Ms. Bettina Brandon, Manager of Workforce Development, Entergy Services
Dr. Alexander Washington, Workforce Development and Diversity Specialist, Entergy Nuclear
Gen. A. Leon Collins, Minact, Inc.
Dr. Chad Stocks, Vice President for Workforce Development, Hinds Community College
 

Facilitation Team

Dr. Robert Blaine

Dr. Robert Blaine

Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Jackson

Dr. Robert Blaine serves as the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the City of Jackson. In his role as CAO, Blaine manages an organization of over 2,200 employees and a budget in excess of 350 million dollars. He arrived at this position through a background in academic administration. Prior to his appointment with the City of Jackson, Dr. Blaine served as Associate Provost at Tougaloo College. Prior to that appointment, he served as the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and CyberLearning, Director of the Quality Enhancement Plan, Director of Orchestral Studies, and Professor of Music at Jackson State University. Dr. Blaine leverages his experience as a transformative academic leader as he assists Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba in the transformation of the City of Jackson into a 21st Century, intelligent city, through their economic model for human dignity.

Jessica Nelson

  Jessica Nelson

Mobility Innovation Team

 

Jessica Nelson grew up in Houston, Texas, spending summers in Jackson with family. She attended Texas A&M University for two years and left school during the recession to join the military. She spent five years on active duty with the United States Marine Corps as a Geospatial Intelligence Analyst and one year in the Reserves as an Intelligence Chief. She served in Okinawa, South Korea, Kuwait, and several states. After getting that experience and wanting to expand on the knowledge gained in the military, Jessica went back to complete her degree at Smith College in Massachusetts. She graduated with a degree in Psychology, concentrating in trauma and Community Engagement and Social Change. She joined the City of Jackson this year as a Lead for America Hometown Fellow under Dr. Blaine and will be working on workforce development and assisting with Ready to Learn. Her goal is to work in the nonprofit sector.

 

Nafeesa Edges

Nafeesa Edges

Mobility Innovation Team

Nafeesa is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and a graduate of Jackson State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a concentration in Legal Studies. Her past research studies have focused on social justice issues such as access to healthcare in rural areas of Mississippi, and the City of Jackson’s 1% tax increase. Nafeesa is a second-year Master’s student at Jackson State University studying Public Policy and Administration with a concentration in Community and Economic Development. As a 2019 Lead for America Hometown Fellow, Nafeesa is a member of Dr. Robert Blaine’s Mobility Innovation Team (MIT). She works on the City of Jackson’s workforce development project, increasing occupational opportunities for college graduates. She is a University of California- Historically Black Colleges and Universities Scholar.

John Cooper

Mya Lee

Mobility Innovation Team

Mya Lee is a Lead for America Hometown Fellow serving on the Mobility Innovation Team under Dr. Robert Blaine, Chief Administrator for the City of Jackson. Mya earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Jackson State University, and is currently pursuing her Masters in History there as well. Mya has volunteered with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) advocating for legislation to benefit those affected by AIDS/HIV, as well as connecting the goals of the organization with social movements. She has held executive positions on both the local and national levels with Golden Key International Honour Society, providing services and opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students transitioning from college to career, and focusing on at-risk youth from ages birth to 17 through literacy, education, and real-world preparedness initiatives.

 

John Cooper

John Cooper

Mobility Innovation Team

John Cooper is a graduate of Morehouse College where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. His experiences and education were put into practice when he served as vice president of his student body where he was responsible for leading a 27-person legislative branch, while serving as vice president of the student government executive board. He spearheaded a mayoral town hall forum, co-implemented a meal voucher program for current students confronting food insecurity, designed various programs surrounding the holistic development of students, and worked with local leaders to design methods of improving safety for high school and college students in the West End/Vine City community. Currently, he is a Lead for America Fellow working on Dr. Blaine's Mobility Innovation Team.

 

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