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Learn more now about the 2023 CAEL Conference in Baltimore, MD!

Earl Buford


Earl Buford joined the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) as president in April 2021 and oversees the national nonprofit organization’s work to align the industry, workforce, and high education sectors. He leads CAEL's mission of providing solutions that improve education-to-career pathways for adult learners in collaboration with workforce and economic developers, post-secondary educators, employers, industry groups, foundations, and other mission-aligned groups. Before CAEL, Buford led Partner4Work, the leader of the public workforce system for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, as the Chief Executive Officer. He managed public, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds and private funds that revitalized the workforce system.

Buford also previously served as Chief Executive Officer of Employ Milwaukee, where he was nationally recognized for implementing and integrating a sector-based approach to workforce development. Employ Milwaukee provided employer engagement through Industry Advisory Boards and created Midwest Urban Strategies, a national consortium of urban workforce boards that built an innovative supply-demand model to cultivate talent development and employer engagement in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Detroit, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and with the U.S. Department of Labor. He was also the leader of one of the first intermediaries in the country, WRTP/BIG-STEP.

Buford is an active board member with several organizations, including the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, Apprenticeships for America, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Catalyst Connection (a manufacturing extension partnership), Bridgeway Capital, Cleveland Federal Reserve (Pittsburgh Chapter), and Strada Education Network's National Strategic Advisory Group focused on identifying opportunities to improve the benefits of education and training after high school. He is a former member of Vice President Joe Biden’s Task Force on Effective Workforce Strategies, the National Network of Sector Partners, the Wisconsin Governor’s Task Force on Minority Unemployment, and the National Skills Coalition Advisory Board, among many others. Buford graduated from the University of Wisconsin, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in History.


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