Details  |  Registration  |  Hotel Information  |  Conference Agenda  | 
Keynote Speakers  |  Workshops  |  Sponsors + Exhibitors

MAY 3-5, 2023  |  The Hershey Lodge, Hershey, PA
325 University Dr, Hershey, PA 17033
PWDA is Pennsylvania's go-to resource for all things workforce development. We represent a diverse collection of members, including local workforce development boards, PA CareerLink staff, economic development agencies, educational institutions, state agencies, and service or training providers across a number of different industries. We know that our workforce development system is strong and filled with passionate, dedicated professionals that best serve the communities we live, work, and play in. Yet we face challenges and disruption in ways that we have not before. We are BUILT TO THRIVE - and this year's Annual Conference will hold innovative, thought-provoking presentations, workshops, development, and networking that attendees can utilize and embed in their daily professional activities.  


!!!!SOLD OUT!!!!
Not a PWDA Member? Registering more than 6 people? Your Partner Membership will pay for itself in discounted registration rates! BECOME A PWDA MEMBER TODAY!


Still need a room? Visit the Courtyard Hershey Chocolate Avenue!
Use the link above to book under PWDA's room block by April 25, 2023 to receive a special rates of $129/night.
The Courtyard Hershey is only a short 5-minute drive away from the conference center,
with complimentary self-parking is available at the Hershey Lodge.





Wednesday, May 3, 2023 - 11:00am - 12:15pm
Unlocking Potential: How Innovative Thinking Can Close the Gap between Workforce Need and Availability

As we settle into life after a global pandemic, a number of industries from across the spectrum of work are facing critical staff shortages that show no sign of slowing. In fact, without significant reforms, the disruption we are facing today is here to stay. This concern is more extreme in communities that are already historically under-resourced and underserved. It is critical that we do not count out the capability that exists in us to serve, to lift up the potential of people, and to build thriving communities. John E. Wetzel was the longest-serving Secretary of Corrections for Pennsylvania and was the only Secretary to reduce the state prison population by over 14,000 incarcerated people, approximately 70% of whom were people of color. In his keynote speech, Mr. Wetzel will discuss the future of employment, proposing a new philosophy to recruitment and retention that hinges on courage and innovative thinking to broaden the workforce across industries.

John Wetzel, CEO of Phronema Justice Strategies, LLC.
John Wetzel, the former Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections, began his career in corrections in 1989 as an officer at the Lebanon County Correctional Facility. He transferred to the Berks County Prison, where he was a correctional officer, treatment counselor, supervisor of treatment services, and training academic director. From there, he became warden of the Franklin County Jail in 2002. Wetzel was appointed as the state Board of Pardons’ corrections expert in June 2007 and confirmed as Secretary of Corrections in 2011. He retired in 2021 as the longest serving Secretary of Corrections in the history of PA. Wetzel is currently the CEO of Phronema Justice Strategies, LLC. He is also the Founding Director of the Keystone Restituere Justice Center, a Non Profit focusing on PA county criminal justice programs and national reform work, set to launch this year. John is the father of four daughters and a graduate of Bloomsburg University.


Friday, May 5, 2023 | 8:30am - 9:30am
Brave New Work: The Modern Workforce Developer’s Guide To Navigating Nonstop Change
Volatility. Uncertainty. Complexity. Ambiguity. Four words that sum up our lives between 2020 and 2023. During the past 36+ months, Pennsylvania's organizations and professionals—including entrepreneurs, government leaders, and businesspeople—experienced more changes than they did in the past 36+ years. Now, more than three years later, this community faces yet another challenge: navigating a fast-approaching future of work—an always-on “new abnormal” characterized by hybrid work, persistent technological disruption, and constantly shifting resident behaviours and expectations. In order to thrive in tomorrow’s fast-paced world, organizations and professionals must compress their five year plans down to two years (or less). To meet this challenge, attendees of the PA Workforce Development Association's 39th Annual Conference require a bold new approach navigating nonstop change. Hamza Khan—Future of Work Expert and Best-Selling Author of “The Burnout Gamble” and “Leadership Reinvented”—believes that we must lean into an array of uniquely human qualities that are difficult, if not impossible, to disrupt. The future of work belongs to those who can change before change is required.

In this dynamic keynote address, you will..
1. Familiarize yourself with the number 1 reason why organizations fail to navigate change
2. Understand how to operationalize & maximize 3 change-friendly values as a way to future-proof yourself
3. Become inspired to transition your organization to a change-friendly state of automatic and perpetual renewal

Hamza Khan, Future of Work Expert | Author of Leadership, Reinvented
Hamza Khan is a multi-award-winning marketer, bestselling author, and global keynote speaker whose TEDx talk “Stop Managing, Start Leading” has been viewed over two million times. He shares actionable insights on resilience, productivity, and leadership to help people and organizations thrive in the future of work. Through his consulting, writing, teaching, and speaking, Khan empowers people and businesses to transform ideas into action.

From New York to Singapore, from Los Angeles to Sydney, Khan is a global thought leader who has spoken to hundreds of audiences across many industries, in numerous countries. His clients have included some of the world’s most dynamic companies and organizations, including PepsiCo, LinkedIn, Deloitte, PwC, Trivago, and over 100 colleges, and his insights have been featured by notable media outlets such as VICE, Business Insider, and The Globe and Mail. He is also the author of Amazon bestseller The Burnout Gamble: Achieve More by Beating Burnout and Building Resilience. Khan works alongside young people and new talent as Managing Director of Student Life Network, Canada’s largest and most comprehensive education resource platform, which reaches over 2.7 million students. He is also the co-founder of Splash Effect, a boutique marketing & creative agency, as well as SkillsCamp, a soft skills training company. As an educator, he is currently an instructor at Seneca College and Ryerson University, teaching courses on digital marketing and social media. 


Friday, May 5, 2023 | 9:30am - 10:30am

Valerie A. Arkoosh, MD, MPH  |  Acting Secretary, PA DHS
Valerie A. Arkoosh, MD, MPH, was appointed to lead the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services by Governor Josh Shapiro on January 17, 2023. Prior to this role, Acting Secretary Arkoosh served on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners since January 2015, when she was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Commission. Arkoosh won election to a full four-year term in November 2015 and served as Commission Vice Chair until her election as Commission Chair in November 2016. She was the first woman ever to serve in this role. Arkoosh was re-elected in November 2019 and unanimously chosen by her colleagues to again serve as Chair in January 2020.
As Commission Chair, Acting Secretary Arkoosh was committed to strengthening services for children, veterans, and seniors. She led the efforts to eliminate street homelessness of veterans and streamline delivery of human services. Recognizing the need for a strong, supported workforce in executing these goals, she instituted a $15 minimum wage and gender-neutral paid parental leave for Montgomery County employees. Drawing on her background as a physician, she oversaw a multi-pronged, integrated response to the opioid overdose epidemic, including issuing a standing order in 2015 to enable participating pharmacies in Montgomery County to dispense the overdose antidote naloxone at the request of any member of the public.
Prior to stepping into public service, Acting Secretary Arkoosh was Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology and Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Arkoosh is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and received a Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She performed her residency at Jefferson Medical College in Anesthesiology with a special focus in Obstetrics. She has an undergraduate degree in economics from Northwestern University.
Acting Secretary Arkoosh lives in Springfield Township, Montgomery County, with her husband and their three children.

Angela Fitterer  |  Executive Deputy Secretary, PA PDE
A lifelong public servant, Angela Fitterer currently serves as the Executive Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Over her 25-year career in state government, Angela has served as Deputy Chief of Staff to former Governor Tom Wolf, Deputy Secretary in the Governor’s Office of Legislative Affairs, Legislative Director at PDE, and has held various positions in both the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives focused on crafting and steering public policy. Throughout her career, she has used her passion for education and public policy to create coalitions and work with vested partners to realize a shared vision and accomplish common goals.


Nancy A. Walker  |  Acting Secretary, PA DLI
Nancy A. Walker was appointed to be the Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry by Governor Josh Shapiro in January 2023.

Before joining the Department of Labor and Industry, Nancy served as the first Chief Deputy Attorney General of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s newly created Fair Labor Section since 2017. Under Nancy’s leadership, the Fair Labor Section has worked on behalf of workers and law-abiding employers across Pennsylvania to ensure they are being treated fairly and lawfully. The Section leads multistate Attorneys General investigations, has negotiated agreements with national gig companies for worker protections and benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has served as lead counsel in matters of national importance, including lawsuits bringing Administrative Procedure Act challenges to amendments to the tip and joint employer rules. The Office of Attorney General also has filed criminal charges against employers, including theft of wages and benefits from workers on state and federally funded projects. In 2021, Nancy helped to lead a successful criminal investigation resulting in a $21 million dollar plea deal in a case involving theft of fringe benefits money from workers, the largest case of its kind in the country. 
Prior to her appointment as Chief Deputy, Nancy focused her private practice on labor and employment law throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, in federal and state courts, before administrative agencies, and in arbitration and mediation proceedings. She is licensed to practice before state and federal courts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and State of New York, is a Fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and was a long-time volunteer with the Support Center for Child Advocates.
Nancy comes from a family of teachers and steelworkers. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.




We have 6 rounds of 50+ workshops available for registered attendees with content encompassing the following topics:
Customer Engagement & Services
Trends in Workforce, Education, & Training
Career Pipeline & Pathway Development
Technology and Digital Solutions
Breaking Down Barriers
Employer Engagement & Partnerships
Professional Skill & Capacity Building
Technical Assistance
Other Innovative Ideas

Presenters include workforce development professionals from a multitude of different industries who are excited to provide key takeaways for attendees to apply to their daily responsibilities and activities. 

Check out the WORKSHOP SCHEDULE here!














 Disclaimer: PWDA is following guidance from local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding COVID-19 including large gatherings. If you are sick, or feeling like you may be getting sick, we ask that you please stay home. Masks are available at the Event Concierge desk if you should need one. Please keep social distancing in mind when interacting with others.