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WORKFORCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: MEET THE TEAM
Joel Simon joined the CAEL team in 2006, and created the Workforce and Economic Development division in 2012. Joel brings more than 20 years of experience working with community stakeholders to increase engagement, wealth and quality of life. He has provided consulting to multi-stakeholder workforce and economic development initiatives in 41 states, and has worked with public and private partnerships to understand and address skills needs in a variety of existing and emerging sectors including aerospace, aviation, energy, life sciences, transportation, manufacturing, information technology, hospitality, arts and culture, construction and healthcare, as well as foundational skill efforts, regional collaboration initiatives and community-wide degree completion efforts. His clients and partners include Economic Development organizations, Chambers of Commerce, Colleges and Universities, Community Based Organizations, Industry Associations, State and Local Governments and Philanthropic Foundations.Prior to joining CAEL he worked for the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) to address skills challenges in the Information Technology sector and develop partnerships between communities and IT firms. From 1999-2004 he served as the Assistant Director of Workforce Solutions – the employer services arm of the City of Chicago’s Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development where he supported the City of Chicago’s efforts to attract, retain and expand businesses by designing and implementing workforce development initiatives for economic development prospects and projects. He has shared the benefits of this experience by serving as faculty for the International Economic Development Council, the Institute for Sustainable Communities, the Institute for Higher Education Policy and the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two children.
Amy Sherman is the Associate Vice President of Innovation and Policy at the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). Her work focuses on increasing access to adult learning and improving its quality. Amy promotes policy that will strengthen America's workforce through research, coalition-building, advocacy, and technical assistance to state and federal policy leaders.
Amy is a national and international speaker on issues related to linking learning to work. Her diverse areas of expertise range from increasing degree completion through Prior Learning Assessments to building capacity at colleges and the workplace to better serve adult learners. Amy also leads CAEL’s work to expand educational opportunities for veterans and military-affiliated students.
Prior to joining CAEL, Amy was Executive Director of the Manufacturing Workforce Development Project (MWDP), a project funded by the U.S. Dept. of Labor. The MWDP built a consortium of influential business and labor leaders, educational providers, and public officials. The MWDP published a report with recommendations on how to improve the regional system in the manufacturing sector. The MWDP helped to set the stage for the establishment of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council.
Amy earned her law degree with honors from Northwestern University School of Law. While serving as Dean of Students at Northwestern Law School, the Student Bar Association established an annual Amy Sherman Student Leadership Award. Amy practiced in the area of employment law at major law firms such as Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal. Early in her career, Amy managed Emergency Services at the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago and served as a financial caseworker at Cook County Hospital.
Since joining CAEL in 2003, Devon has managed numerous projects ranging from higher education policy and training, federal grants, a veteran services network, to an industry-education coalition. Currently, as a member of the Workforce and Economic Development unit at CAEL, Devon manages projects involving prior learning assessment policy, training, and consulting and career mapping. Devon also serves in an operational capacity at CAEL, contributing to budgeting, business and strategic planning for the organization. Prior to this role, Devon was the Director of the Energy Providers Coalition for Education (EPCE) as part of CAEL’s industry-led online alliances. She managed member relations for the national utility industry coalition, energy curriculum development, and marketing for the EPCE online programs. Prior to joining CAEL, Devon directed the client relations and consulting services, publications, and conferences divisions for an international K-12 educational consulting firm serving public school systems in the areas of standards, performance assessments and accountability plans. She holds BA in Communications from Boston College and a Masters in International Management from the University of Denver.
Since joining the CAEL team in 2015 James has worked in several communities on issues ranging from comprehensive supply/demand analysis, to career pathway mapping, to alignment between educational offerings and economic growth. James began his economic development career seven years ago and is an active member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
Prior to joining CAEL, James served as Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development for Greater Louisville Inc., where he led the organization’s program of work within economic development as well as education and workforce development. In 2014, James guided GLI through a fundamental redesign of its economic and workforce development efforts, creating a new approach to regional economic development which included fifteen counties across two states. In his time at GLI, James played a leadership role in several significant community initiatives including the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Business Plan for Louisville/Lexington as well as co-chairing the certification of Jefferson County Public Schools as a Ford Next Generation Learning community. As a project manager, James assisted 86 companies who combined to invest over $1.4 billion dollars in new capital and add nearly 5,000 new jobs within the region.
Over his career, James has served on the boards of several community organizations including the Louisville Sports Commission, Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana, the Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency and the Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics Network.A native of the Washington, DC metro area, James holds a bachelor of science degree from James Madison University and a master’s of arts degree from the University of Louisville.
Ms. Miller has 12 years of experience working in with the public sector through the K-12 education system, post-secondary education stakeholders and regional, statewide and community initiatives. Joining CAEL in 2009, Sarah has worked with both the public and private sector to assist in workforce and economic strategy development, analysis and recommendations as well as program planning. She has led key initiatives with CAEL through regional education and workforce alignment strategies; employer, workforce organization and economic development engagement; development and delivery of training modules; and capacity building for various sector strategies, non-profit organizations and consortia of college partners.
Prior to joining CAEL Sarah was a high school teacher of social studies in Toledo, Ohio and spent several years as a Business Consultant in the Private Sector where she worked directly with independent school districts, school district cooperatives and statewide initiatives to streamline special education planning and Medicaid programming per local and Federal guidelines. During this time Sarah worked with clients around the country to incorporate special education best practice models into administrative plans. Sarah earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Secondary Education from Bowling Green State University.
Tucker Plumlee draws on an extensive background in research, writing, strategic planning, and project leadership in both the academic and public spheres in order to deliver targeted analyses of regional workforce and education systems, oriented towards broad-based community and economic development, on behalf of CAEL’s workforce and economic development clients. In previous positions he has provided strategic planning support and guidance for a number of local and national organizations, including a Denver-based nonprofit focused on building economic development through collaboration between local nonprofits, community based organizations, and labor unions, as well as for a national network of worker centers.
Tucker earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of Denver and a Master of Arts degree in Social Change from Iliff School of Theology, where he completed coursework in Public Policy analysis, community development, and systems analysis, while also acting as a Research Assistant for the school’s Social Science faculty. He also spent a year studying abroad at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University.
Upon joining CAEL in December 2014, Wilson took on roles in both the higher education and the workforce and economic development teams. Wilson’s primary focus has been on statewide and systemwide approaches to prior learning assessment (PLA) and higher education support for workforce projects, including numerous TAACCCT-funded projects. In addition, he has delivered support, technical assistance, strategic planning, project management, and consulting services to stage agencies, higher education systems, colleges and universities, and education consortia around adult degree attainment. Wilson is the primary lead on projects with state systems, consortia, and single institutions in Tennessee, Utah, Ohio, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Rhode Island, and Oklahoma, while assisting on other state projects in Texas, Colorado, New Hampshire, Colorado, South Carolina, and several other states.
Prior to joining CAEL, Wilson was the Assistant Director for Postsecondary Completion Initiatives for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). His main responsibilities were to direct and coordinate grant-funded policy and program initiatives related to completion efforts, particularly in the areas of adult education and PLA. Wilson coordinated, supported, and helped to oversee the various projects, including a technological advising tool for courses and majors, statewide on completion and co-requisite remediation, and the Tennessee PLA Initiative. Under the PLA efforts in particular, Wilson oversaw and facilitated the creation of a statewide PLA Task Force and the development of comprehensive statewide standards across the public systems. Wilson continued the state’s PLA efforts by focusing on direct, customizable technical assistance to Tennessee’s public institutions. These efforts involved the careful and detailed evaluation of campus PLA programs, addressing the unique concerns of each institution, and assisting them in enhancing and expanding their PLA offerings and improving their programs.
Wilson holds a B.A from The University of the South in Sewanee, TN and an M.Phil. in Early Modern History from the University of Cambridge.