Northeastern Pennsylvania Workforce Leadership Academy

The Scranton Area Community Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Workforce Leadership Academy for 2023-2024.

The Workforce Leadership Academy, in partnership with the Aspen Institute brings leaders from across the Northeastern Pennsylvania workforce ecosystem together for a year-long series of retreats, workshops, and action learning projects. The Academy provides a forum for local leaders to work collaboratively to identify local and regional systems-based challenges and create shared solutions for economic opportunity for all. Fellows work with leading practitioners throughout the country as they deepen networks; strengthen systems leadership skills; apply race, equity, and systems change frameworks to their work; and increase understanding of effective strategies and programs.

Alumni of the Academy become part of the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, joining Fellows from fourteen previous Academies in eleven cities in the US and Canada.

Watch the Fellowship applicant informational webinar held on January 12, 2023 that includes the Aspen Institute’s role, goals of the Academy and its importance for Northeastern Pennsylvania, eligibility requirements, what you would get out of the Fellowship, activities and time commitment, and how to apply.

Academy Candidates

Academies engage senior-level managers of organizations that make up the Northeastern Pennsylvania workforce development ecosystem. A maximum of 24 Fellows will be selected. Applicants should be:

Located and working within Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties, PA

Working within nonprofit organizations, business associations, community colleges and universities, union-based training efforts, public agencies, economic development, and other workforce development organizations.

In a position of leadership and decision-making authority related to workforce development efforts, with the capacity and ability to execute strategies on behalf of their organization

Engaged in or planning workforce development efforts in Northeastern Pennsylvania related to connecting workers to quality jobs and/or career pathways

Interested in designing and implementing effective strategies to strengthen their local workforce system

Committed to achieving equity across race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation

Eager to collaborate with others in their local workforce system, reflect on their current work, explore leadership practices, and gain feedback from colleagues

Inclusivity and diversity are core values of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Workforce Leadership Academy. Applicants of color are strongly encouraged to apply. The cohort of Fellows will be selected to represent the diversity of organization type and focus as well as race, ethnicity, and gender.

For more information, please see the Applicant Overview

Academy Goals

The Academy engages leaders in a yearlong peer learning cohort to:

Apply systems change framework to Fellows’ work

Expand and deepen professional networks and partnerships

Deepen understanding of effective strategies and programs

Strengthen organizational and systems leadership skills

Provide a forum to work collaboratively to identify local and regional systems-based challenges and create shared solutions

Apply a race and equity lens to assess and improve workforce services and strategies

Academy Structure

Over the academy year beginning March 2023, Fellows participate in:

March 2, 2023
A virtual 90-minute orientation

March 22-24, 2023
An opening 3-day retreat (2 overnights)
The Village at Pocono in Long Pond, PA

5 Academy Sessions and 5 Collaborative Learning Labs meetings held during the same week: 4 held online (5 hours) and 1 held in-person (6 hours)


April 11 and April 13, 2023
May 9 and May 11, 2023
June 20 and June 22, 2023

October 17 and October 19, 2023

In Person

September 27, 2023

June 27, 2023
One leadership 360 assessment process and debrief workshop

July 13, 2023
Reception event for supervisors and advisors

November 28-30, 2023
A closing 3-day retreat (2 overnights)

December 14, 2023
Collaborative Learning Lab presentations at an in-person stakeholder event

Partners may also decide to offer additional networking and social events. Please check your calendar before you apply, as Fellows must attend all events, especially the overnight retreats which will be in Northeastern PA and you must stay over the 2 nights.

Application Process

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Workforce Leadership Academy application deadline is February 3, 2023 at 5:00 pm. Please go ahead and indicate your interest as soon as possible by completing a short Intent to Apply Survey; you can then complete the full application by the deadline. The application is here.

Applications will be reviewed and approved by members of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Workforce Leadership Academy Local Advisory Council.

The electronic application can be accessed and completed here

All applicants will be notified of the status of their applications by February 17, 2023.

A PDF version of the application questions is available here.

The submission materials include:

  • A completed Intent to Apply Survey and Full Application submitted online
  • Your resume and/or link to your LinkedIn page
  • Organizational chart
  • Letter of reference from a supervisor or external collaboration partner
  • Commitment to Participate form signed by you
  • Authorization to Participate form signed by your supervisor

Local Advisory Council

Karla Carlucci
Director, Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County

Eileen Cipriani​
Director, Office of Economic and Community Development, City of Scranton

Bob Durkin​
President & CEO, Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce

Yosara Gonzalez
Executive Director, Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress

Lindsay Griffin-Boylan
President & CEO, Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce

Christine Jensen
Administrator, PA CareerLink, Luzerne County

Rashida Lovely
Director of Operations, NEPA Black Chamber of Commerce

Jill Murray
President, Lackawanna College

Teri Ooms
Executive Director, The Institute

Carolyn Quinn
Executive Director, Educational Opportunity Centers of PA

Drew Simpson
Regional Manager, Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters

Jocelyn Sterenchock
Director of Economic Development, CAN-DO Greater Hazleton

Virginia Turano
Executive Director, Lackawanna County Workforce Development Board

Debra Youngfelt
Executive Director, Northeast PA Area Health Education Center

The Aspen Institute Economic
Opportunities Program

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington DC. Its mission is to spark intellectual inquiry and exchange, create a diverse worldwide community of leaders committed to the greater good, and provide a nonpartisan forum for reaching solutions on vital public policy issues. The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program advances promising strategies and policies to help low- and moderate-income Americans connect to and thrive in a changing economy.

Over its 25 years of work, the Economic Opportunities Program has focused on expanding individuals’ opportunities to connect to quality work, start businesses, and to build assets and economic stability.

This initiative is made possible by the generous support of Walmart, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr Foundation.

Quotes From Previous Fellows

“Through the course of a year, it will transform how you view and leverage partnerships, advocate on behalf of disenfranchised populations, listen to dissenting views with earnest validation, along with transforming your community outcomes through an action-oriented systems thinking approach.”

“… an incredible learning opportunity to understand yourself as a leader, challenge yourself in discomfort, identify the major players in the local workforce space and meet great people, doing great work – all through a critical racial equity lens.”

“The relationships made with the other Fellows is invaluable both on a personal and professional level. The diverse and well-rounded representation from the workforce system was an important piece so we could share how the various challenges impacted our areas.”


If you have questions about the Northeastern Pennsylvania Workforce Leadership Academy, your eligibility to apply, or the application process, please email:

Jana Nelhybel
NEPA Thrives Manager
Scranton Area Community Foundation