The Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association (PWDA) Policy & Advocacy Fellowship Program (PAFP) raises the collective capacity of its members and ecosystem stakeholders to engage in workforce development advocacy at the federal, state, county, and local level. Selected Fellows receive intensive training on the federal and state legislative, administrative, and appropriations processes, and tangible experiences in developing and utilizing advocacy strategies. Participation is by application only; entrance is in PWDA’s sole discretion with judging criteria set forth in writing and posted on the PWDA website. 

The PAFP launches each year at the PWDA Symposium in the Fall and concludes at the PWDA Annual Conference in May. Fellows are expected to attend each session of the PAFP and complete all projects and assignments. Fellows may be removed from the program if they have unexcused absences or fail to complete program projects and assignments. 


Fellows can expect:

  • An intensive and informative experience
  • To have fun and learn new things
  • To make new friends throughout the workforce systems and in the advocacy community
  • To be provided and accept coaching and guidance from PWDA staff and PAFP faculty and guests
  • To engage extensively in experiential learning with research and writing assignment and group projects on real world issues
  • To meet with PA legislators, staffers, policy makers and others

Fellows will

  • PA political, legislative, and budgetary processes
  • The Who’s Who of PA state legislators, committees, and leadership
  • Engagement & Advocacy – What Works – What Doesn’t – How to Apply It
  • Landscape of PA politics
  • Network with peers across PA


Who should apply / application judging criteria: 

  • Three or more years of experience in workforce development
  • Individuals whose position influence policy in organization
  • Applicants do not have to be chief staff executive of their organizations
  • People who are ready to learn and to sharpen skills
  • Demonstrate commitment to 100% attendance in Seminars and completion of group & individual assignments 
  • Those with a passion to build and improve the workforce system

 Fellows (or their organizations) are expected to pay their own expenses and manage their own travel accommodations.  

Marissa Bankert, IEC Pennsylvania
Julia Blackwell, JEVS hireAbility
Blythe Brunner, Equus Workforce Solutions 
Andre Hardy, EDSI
Charles Howell, Mon Valley Initiative
Crystal Houser, PA Dept. of Labor & Industry 
Saundra Judge, PA Dept. of Human Services 
Shania Kelly, Along the Way
Saranne Miller, SCPA Works
Lynda Morris, Partnership for Career Development 
Rebecca Paull, Reading Area Community College
Ashlee Phillips, EDSI 
Kaylee Shockley, Partner4Work
Jane Stein, MontcoWorks
Tara Toms, Keystone Development Partnership
Melissa Wassel, Luzerne County Community College 

2nd Cohort Class Projects (2022-2023)

Inaugural Fellowship Class Projects (2021-2022)

HAVE A QUESTION?  Email us at [email protected]!