Sheila Maguire to Join Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program as Senior Fellow for Leadership Development

October 12, 2016

Local Leadership Academies Will Bolster Knowledge and Skills of Workforce Development Leaders

For Immediate Release
Contact: Claire Daviss
Communications Associate
Economic Opportunities Program, The Aspen Institute
202-736-3578 |

Washington, DC, October 13, 2016 – The Aspen Institute announced today that Sheila Maguire will join the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) as a Senior Fellow with a focus on strategies to foster leadership and talent development in the workforce field. Ms. Maguire will spearhead efforts to partner with organizations throughout the United States and Canada to sponsor local leadership academies.

The local academies seek to create and support peer learning communities of workforce leaders from across nonprofit organizations, business associations, community colleges, union-based training efforts and public workforce agencies. Through an intensive year-long series of retreats and workshops, participants in the local academies will work with leading sectoral practitioners from around the country, will be introduced to practical planning tools, and will have the rare opportunity to reflect and strategize about applying sectoral principles to their local economic and social context. The local academies will also provide a forum for local leaders to work collaboratively to identify local and regional systems challenges and create shared solutions.

The local leadership academies evolve from EOP’s long-running national Sector Skills Academy (SSA). In a recent survey of more than 200 national SSA alumni, respondents indicated that the academy equipped them to effect meaningful change at the local level. The national academy helped them to create, strengthen, and advocate for partnerships; to strategize beyond their individual organizations for policy and system change; and to engage with employers more effectively. The national academy also provided them access to a unique and valuable network of peers.

Maureen Conway, vice president of policy programs and EOP executive director at the Aspen Institute, recalls Ms. Maguire’s integral role in developing SSA: “Sheila was one of the founding partners of the national Sector Skills Academy, she played a critical role in its design, and she has been a dynamic and creative faculty member through the years of the Academy’s implementation. She also brings a wealth of experience in workforce development and a passionate commitment to expanding and improving economic opportunities for the many communities and individuals that need a better chance at economic success. We are truly fortunate to have her join our team.”

By sponsoring a local academy, organizations will have access to the tools developed and lessons learned from the national SSA, as well as local academies EOP has implemented over the years. Recent local academies have been hosted in Seattle, Washington, sponsored by SkillUp Washington, and in Baltimore, Maryland, sponsored by the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. An additional local academy will launch in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in November 2016, sponsored by the Metcalf Foundation.

Ms. Maguire brings her experience as a practitioner, capacity-builder and researcher to this new role. She has authored or coauthored numerous publications, including: “Optimizing Talent: The Promise and Perils of Adapting Sector Strategies for Young Adults,” Aspen Institute and JobsFirstNYC, 2016; “The Value of Credentials for Disadvantaged Workers,” Aspen Institute, 2016; “Five Hurricanes and an Oil Spill: Lesson for the Gulf Coast Alternative Staffing Initiative,” Southwest Center for Economic Integrity, 2014; “Tuning in to Local Labor Markets: Findings from the Sectoral Employment Impact Study,” P/PV, 2010; and “A Foot in the Door: Using Alternative Staffing Organizations to Open Up Opportunities for Disadvantaged Workers,” P/PV, 2009.

Ms. Maguire has created training curriculum for frontline instructional and job development staff, and designed and facilitated leadership development programs and peer learning communities in a wide variety of settings. Ms. Maguire has also co-designed the year-long New York City Workforce Leaders Academy and served as lead faculty from 2006 to 2010.

Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) is a policy program at the Aspen Institute. Its primary mission is to advance promising strategies and policies to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s dynamic economy. Over its more than 20 years of work, EOP has focused on expanding individuals’ opportunities – to develop their skills and capabilities, to build professional networks and connect to quality work, to start businesses, and to build assets and economic stability. To learn more about the EOP, visit 

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