Preparing Adult Learners for the Future of Work: Challenges and Opportunities

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM

The role adult education plays in guiding students on an educational and career pathway is complex and ever-changing. The world of work continues to evolve as we continue to build our knowledge, curriculum, and partnerships to respond to labor market projections, high-demand occupations, and students’ individual skills, interests, and goals. Technological innovations will make some jobs obsolete, some of which will be replaced by new job titles, roles, and skill demands. Panelists representing an array of industry sectors will discuss the challenges and opportunities to proactively participate in the strategic workforce planning needed to carve out responsive training models leading to viable career opportunities for adult learners.


Robin Dion, Program Manager, Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium
Phil Jordan, Vice President, BW Research
Sarah Ruddy,  Director of Business Development, JVS
MJ Ryan,  Director of Workforce Development, Partners Health Care

Moderator: Sandy Goodman, World Education, Inc.

Robin Dion is the Manufacturing Consortium Manager of the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (NAMC) where he has worked for the past 4 years. The consortium is a regional partnership among Industry, Academia, and Workforce Development. The NAMC is comprised of over 220 employers, 4 Workforce Development Boards, 5 One-Stop Career Centers, 4 Community Colleges and 8 Technical Vocational High Schools within the Northeast Region of Massachusetts. Robin is responsible for implementation and support of adult learning programs such as the Massachusetts Apprenticeship Initiative and Advanced Manufacturing Training programs in CNC Machining, Electronics, Welding and Quality Technician. Prior to joining the NAMC, Robin advanced through the manufacturing industry spending 20 years in Manufacturing Operations Management and 15 years in Global Account Management. Robin managed accounts in excess of $400M across the Medical, Telecommunications, Industrial and Consumer Entertainment sectors.

Philip Jordan is the Executive Director of the Economic Advancement Research Institute and the Vice President of BW Research Partnership. Jordan has authored numerous reports, including national energy employment studies, regional diversity and inclusion assessments,, and comprehensive reports on industry clusters from healthcare to technology. Jordan is currently an Associate Fellow at the Ash Center at Harvard University where he focuses on the future of work. He previously served the director of the San Diego and Imperial Region Center of Excellence where he provided training and skill gap analysis to the nine community colleges in his region.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Connecticut and his J.D. and Certificate in Environmental and Land Law from Boston College Law School. Mr. Jordan lives in Massachusetts and has offices in Wrentham, MA and Carlsbad, CA.

Sarah Ruddy has overseen and coordinated newly established partnerships in the Business Services department at JVS since 2015. Her work consists of developing new employer relationships for JVS, working with employers to think creatively about workforce solutions, developing pipeline training programs, and managing multiple classes and training programs at employer sites around the greater Boston area spanning the healthcare, manufacturing, and food service sectors.  Sarah also has experience in program design, teaching, and management from the Norman Knight Nursing Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, the International Institute of Boston, and the Refugee Services of Texas. Sarah received her B.S. in Advertising from the University of Texas and her MSW in Social Innovation and Non-Profit Leadership from Boston College.

MJ Ryan is the Workforce Development Director for Partners HealthCare. She has worked in healthcare for over 30 years in various clinical, teaching and management positions.  In her current role, MJ provides technical assistance to hospital-based workforce initiatives and creates and supports collaborations with key partners and stakeholders involved in skill development and job readiness training for community residents as well as advancement opportunities for Partners’ incumbent workforce. MJ has led innovative strategies to increase access to higher education for incumbent employees with a focus on Technology as Enabler. MJ also is the current Chair of the Boston Health Care Careers Consortium, an extremely successful sector-based collaborative established in 2010. She is on the Technical Assistance team of CareerStat of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, which recently launched a national Health Care Workforce Academy.  MJ holds a BS degree in Education from the University of Maine at Orono, a certificate in Nuclear Medicine Technology from Rhode Island Hospital, and a Master’s degree in Health Care Management from Cambridge College.

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