Agenda  |  Keynotes  |  SolutionsTalks
Business Engagement Tour  |  Workforce Walk Poster Showcase

Supporting discussions around policy, peers, and practice, the 2022 Workforce Development Symposium brings professionals from across workforce development, education, and training to discuss, network, and learn about topics impacting workforce development and offers attendees the ability to influence their strategies, program designs, and capacity building needs. 



We're kicking off our Workforce Development Symposium with a Welcome Cocktail Hour on the terrace Monday evening, followed by a day of SolutionsTalks and networking. Tuesday evening will feature a Workforce Walk Poster Showcase and Power Hour. We'll close out our Symposium with a morning panel discussion and breakfast on Wednesday.
We can't wait to see you there!

P.S. We're hosting a Business Card Collection on Tuesday morning, so bring a few with you! 



America's Comeback from COVID:
Six Traits of Agile Organizations and the Leaders Who Lead Them
Tuesday, September 20, 2022  |  8:30am-9:30am
As we prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a post-pandemic age, the workforce system will need to innovate at scale to meet the demand to up-skill America’s workforce and meet the needs of a dynamically shifting labor market. This workshop will explore the traits of agile organizations and the skills needed by leaders to “curate” a winning work culture. Participants will leave with new insight to their own strengths and areas for development, as well as with downloadable management tools and a FREE Individual Resiliency Assessment to assess their skills after the session. 
Presented by: Rick Maher, President & CEO, Adaptive Human Capital, LLC
Richard D. ("Rick") Maher is President of Adaptive Human Capital, LLC. He is a veteran of the human resources industry, and a recognized leader in the fields of managing organizational change and the strategic management of human capital. Over a career spanning nearly 30 years, he has helped to guide many notable change initiatives for clients in both the public and private sectors. Maher has been at the forefront of workforce training and education system transformation and policy guidance – working throughout the United States and internationally. He has been the keynote speaker at numerous conferences in the U.S. and abroad. His October 2012 presentation to a gathering of leaders from three (3) continents and twelve (12) countries at St. George’s College at Windsor Castle, England featured his ideas about "talent as the new global currency" and the importance of education in building agile individuals, organizations, and communities.  In the private sector, Maher has consulted on talent development issues with some of the world's largest and most successful enterprises, including Goldman Sachs, Time Warner, Schering-Plough, AOL, TD Ameritrade, Cox Communications and more.  Following the sale of his management consulting practice, Maher & Maher in 2017, Rick set out to apply his uncommon experience as a change practitioner to leading Adaptive Human Capital’s important work to better understand the critical elements of agile human systems and help to develop skills in individuals, organizations and communities to help them thrive through uncertain times. Mr. Maher is a member of the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC), the Association of Talent Development (ATD) and PSI CHI (the International Honor Society in Psychology). He has a BA from Seton Hall University and an MS in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Walden University.

Your Dog Is Ugly
Tuesday, September 20, 2022  |  12:30pm-1:30pm
This presentation will take a look at the public workforce system from a unique perspective of someone who has seen its function (and dysfunction) at the local, State, and Federal levels.  We will help those in attendance establish agency, increase empowerment, and improve results.  When we are alone, we all know the system could be better, but rather than blaming this group or that group, let’s agree the performance is not where it needs to be and chart a path forward.  Following this session, you as local leaders will better understand the key roles and responsibilities laid out for you in the law.
John Pallasch, Founder & CEO, One Workforce Solutions
Former Assistant Secretary of Labor, at the U.S. Dept. of Labor Employment and Training Administration. John has a vision - that the workforce system made up of various partners and diverse programs can act in leadership and collaboration to be ONE workforce; and his time in Washington D.C. and the state of Kentucky demonstrated action to achieve it. He will highlight ways to leverage the statutory and regulatory flexibilities that sit at the local level to innovate, enhance accountability and improves outcomes for all Pennsylvanians.   

Creating New Standards of Work: Tackling Quality, Customers & Ownership
Wednesday, September 21, 2022  |  9:00am-10:30am
Meet our panelists of professionals:
Larry Schlang, Founder & CEO, Working Metrics
As an executive of multiple technology companies, Larry has learned first hand that “our people are our most important asset."  But it’s been difficult for companies to quantify and assess their job quality. Working Metrics has partnered with The Aspen Institute to create a data-driven way for companies to measure, benchmark and score job quality and to securely share it with their key customers, investors and prospective hires. Prior to WM, Larry founded Bantu, Inc. one of the first providers of secure instant messaging for businesses. Its software connected US Air Force, Army and Navy personnel, for which Larry won a FED 100 Award. Before that, Larry was President of IntraACTIVE, Inc., an early leader in the Web collaboration market, IntraACTIVE was acquired by in 2000.  Before joining IntraACTIVE, Larry served as Vice President and General Counsel for National Strategies Inc., a telecommunications consulting firm, and as an attorney at the firm of Shea & Gould.  Larry has served on the boards of the Edmund Burke School and the No Rules Theater Company.
Tara Loew, Director, PA Apprenticeship and Training Office 

Tara Loew started as the Director of the PA Apprenticeship and Training Office for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry in early November 2020. During her short tenure, the Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO) has already made great strides in reestablishing a strong foundation for the policy and program development of Registered Apprenticeship and Pre-Apprenticeship across the Commonwealth of PA. Additionally, the growing ATO team is working to embed a focus on apprenticeships within the state’s workforce system and continues to place an emphasis on equal opportunity standards and equitable selection procedures as well as increasing quality assurance and compliance efforts.

  Robert Cherry, Chief Executive Officer, Partner4Work
As a trusted workforce development and public policy executive with extensive experience providing professional leadership and direction, Robert Cherry is committed to a thriving workforce. He is an active champion for businesses and job seekers, implementing programs, policy initiatives, and community engagement. Since April 2020, Robert has managed six bureaus that include the Division of Administration, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Unemployment Insurance, Division of Employment and Training, Division of Equal Rights, and Division of Workers Compensation as the Appointed Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). Over the last 15 months, Robert has led 2,500 employees and partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, Wisconsin Department of Disabled American Veterans, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and the Veterans Chamber of Commerce for a Vets Ready initiative, an employer recognition program highlighting employers committed to the veteran workforce. He also spearheaded a complex program that provided additional unemployment insurance dollars into the hands of out-of-work Wisconsinites. Before DWD, Robert spent five years at Employ Milwaukee, the workforce development board serving Milwaukee County, in multiple roles, including Vice President of Planning and Development, Chief Development and Partnership Officer, and Director of Career Exploration. He is most proud of developing and implementing the Career Plus program that consisted of year-round combined workforce training, subsidized improvement, and social-emotional development delivered to City of Milwaukee citizens ages 15-24. Robert spent his early career at the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute and the Center for Urban Population Health. In July 2021, Robert will be assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer at Partner4Work, the leader of the public workforce system for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. As CEO, he will continue Partner4Work’s strong momentum to drive workforce development activities, a vital component of the region’s overall economic vitality. Robert will build successful partnerships, innovate new ideas, and pilot strategic solutions that will continue growth and connect the workforce with the jobs of today and in the future. Robert received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is an elected Board Trustee of the Village of Brown Deer and is responsible for developing and approving its mission, strategic goals and establishing policies related to programs and services.



  Light Bulb Moments Building Bridges Transformative Actions Light Bulb Moments
10:00am-10:50am Online Employer Toolkit to Help Working Families and Child Care Rethinking a Workforce System for the Coming Decade Pennsylvania's Manufacturing Competitiveness Playbook Solutions 1: Beyond the Margins - Locking in Shared Public-Private Funding
11:00am-11:50am Be a Better Data Detective How Workforce Partners Can Support Local Apprenticeship Initiatives Results-Driven Grantmaking: Improving NGAs/RFPs and Service Delivery A Presentation by DOL-ETA Region 2
2:00pm-2:50pm Creating a Culture of  Customer Service The Rise and Resilience of Digital Training Solutions: Why They’re Not a Trend, and How You Can Prepare and Prosper Using Procurement and Grantmaking to Improve Equity and Resident Outcomes  
3:10pm-4:00pm Write a More Honest (and More Effective) Strategic Plan to Guide Your Work Systems Thinking: A Fresh Perspective on Strategic Planning If You Build It, Jobs Will Come: the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act in PA.   

*Subject to change. Check back for more detailed information.




This training will include:
  • Building Trust and Relationships with Business: Building a strong relationship with the business community is the foundation to all good business services efforts.  True business engagement requires a focused effort on establishing trust and respect among other key elements. Learn the seven ways in which strong relationships are built with the business community and leads to synergy between workforce and business.
  • Outreach: Messaging, Branding, Using Data to Recruit: Effectively marketing to local businesses is imperative to expressing the value your workforce services can provide. Expressing value through targeted messaging, dynamic branding and compelling data need to be strategically used to maximize engagement. Understand best practices for using data to engage and recruit employers through data predominant messaging and value-added branding strategies.
  • Recruitment: Gaining Buy-In, Business Language, and Communications: Understanding the goals and growth plan of each business you engage is a critical part of engagement. In order to understand what each business might need, you must first understand where they are and where they are trying to go. Only then can you move into identifying possible solutions and a service delivery strategy.  Learn how to open communication channels by identifying a shared language and increasing buy-in from the business community.
  • Simplifying Accessibility to Business Services: Using technology and designing innovative and creative solutions for easily accessing and utilizing workforce services is paramount to all engagement strategies. Learn about national best practices for the use of technology, and specialized business services teams. Understand how increasing immediate access will increase efficacy and bridge the gap between the demands of business and the supply of qualified employees.  
This training is open to all Economic Development staff, Workforce Board Members, and their staff. 

$349/PWDA Member  |  $399/Non-Member
 Interested in sending a few staff members to this training? 

5-9 registrants  |  $374 per person          10+ registrants  |  $364 per person
Contact Brittani Potts at [email protected] to take advantage of this special pricing!



 Aaron Leson is a relentless advocate for employee engagement, career development, and empowering others through training and education. In his current role as the Director of Training and Development for TAD Grants, an organization that provides organizational training, leadership development, technical assistance coaching, program evaluation, and strategic planning services to workforce and career development practitioners, Aaron travels the country to facilitate training and presentations designed to transform the lives of those he teaches by highlighting the importance of authentic communication and strong relationships in our day-to-day work.

An engaging and dynamic speaker, Aaron builds genuine relationships with each one of his trainees, helping them to uncover their gifts, grow into their best selves, and improve the lives of those they serve.  Aaron’s belief in the power of career development to change lives shines through in each presentation he delivers, in every class he teaches, and in his day-to-day work in the communities of Southwest Michigan where he resides with his family.

Aaron also serves as the Director of Credentialing for the National Career Development Association, an organization that provides professional development, publications, standards, and advocacy to practitioners and educators who inspire and prepare individuals to achieve their career and life goals. His appointment to this key position follows over a decade of involvement with NCDA, including his designation as a Master Trainer for the Facilitating Career Development training program; his role as a founding member of NCDA’s Credentialing Commission, where he served for two years; and seven years on the NCDA FCD Advisory Council, where he worked with a team to support the preparation, professional development, and recognition of the education and experience of career services providers.



Showcase your best practices at our Tuesday Power Hour!
September 20, 2022 | 4:00-5:00pm | Senate Suite/West Terrace

The Workforce Walk poster showcase is a self-guided tour of workforce best practices submitted to PWDA by their members. All Symposium attendees are welcome to join us at the showcase and Tuesday Power Hour for hors d'oeuvres and mingling. Cash bar will be available. 

Interested in submitting your best practice poster? Want to display what you've been working on?
This year, we are focusing on tech-based solutions, employer engagement, and creative customer recruitment. 


  • Open to all PWDA members at no cost. Limited spots available.
  • Participants are to provide their own poster (no larger than 40"). PWDA will provide easels. 
  • Submitters must bring their poster to the Symposium registration desk before Tuesday at 2:00pm.

  Submit this form to reserve your spot!