Workforce Development

Detroit Workforce Leadership Academy — 2023 Fellows and Facilitators

May 2, 2023  • Workforce Leadership Academies

We’re pleased to introduce the Fellows and facilitators of the 2023 Detroit Workforce Leadership Academy! The Academy — launched in partnership by the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce and the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program — brings leaders from across the Detroit workforce ecosystem together for a year-long series of retreats, workshops, and action learning projects. The Academy provides a forum for local leaders to work collaboratively to identify local and regional systems-based challenges and create shared solutions for economic opportunity for all. Fellows work with leading practitioners throughout the country as they deepen networks; strengthen systems leadership skills; apply race, equity, and systems change frameworks to their work; and increase understanding of effective strategies and programs.

The Detroit Workforce Leadership Academy is one of eight local academies launched in 2023. Alumni of the Academy become part of the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, joining Fellows from fourteen previous Academies in eleven cities in the US and Canada.



Meet the Fellows and Facilitators of the 2023 Detroit Workforce Leadership Academy, launched in partnership by @skilledwork_org and @AspenJobQuality!



Alex Breen

Senior Policy Associate, Improving Practices & Outcomes, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce

Alex Breen is a Senior Policy Associate on the Improving Practices and Outcomes team, where he leads the Detroit Region Workforce Leadership Academy and the Worker-Centered Benchmarking Project and supports the Workforce Benchmarking Network. Alex’s other projects include evaluation of CAEL’s Build Better Careers Initiative, strategy research for the City of Detroit and Oakland County, and working closely with the Michigan Justice Fund.

Alex has extensive experience in workforce development, including managing, scaling, and implementing holistic workforce programming at community-based organizations and intermediaries.

Prior to CSW, Alex was the Director of Growth and Innovation at the Stanley M Isaacs Neighborhood Center in East Harlem. There, he oversaw program development, monitoring and evaluation, and sectoral employment programming. In his two years, Alex raised more than $1.65 million for the organization’s workforce development and community health programs.

Alex is an alumnus of CORO’s Workforce Systems Leadership Program. He resides in the Bronx.

Chioke Mose-Teleford

Director, Improving Practices & Outcomes, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce

Chioke Mose-Telesford is the Director of Improving Practices & Outcomes, managing CSW’s portfolio of work centered on strengthening the capacity of workforce professionals to develop more effective services and policies to increase economic mobility for workers, particularly for workers of color. She also leads CSW’s continuous improvement strategies supported through the Workforce Benchmarking Network (WBN) and the WBN National Survey.

Previously, Chioke was the Director of Systems Alignment and Policy at the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development in Detroit. Her work focused on reducing systemic barriers to employment by collaborating with various agencies to align efforts, developing pilot interventions prior to scaling, and evaluating policy to better support jobseekers.

Chioke was a 2017 member of Aspen’s Detroit Workforce Leadership Academy, a 2021 Feedback Champion, and currently sits on the Board for Detroit’s Continuum of Care, and the Executive Committee of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. Chioke holds a Bachelor’s degree in African and African American Studies from Stanford University and resides in Detroit with her family.

Chris Shannon

Senior Policy Associate, Improving Practices & Outcomes, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce

Chris is a Senior Policy Associate with CSW’s Improving Practices and Outcomes Team. Chris supports systems change and transformation by developing organizational capacity through learning conversations, data analysis, and promoting shared insights to benefit systems.

Chris has over twenty years’ experience working at the US Department of Labor, local workforce boards, community colleges, and within secondary and postsecondary education systems. This positions Chris to see the interconnectedness of community-based systems, making it easier to identify potential partners, policy improvements, and levers of change and influence.

Before coming to CSW, Chris facilitated five national cross-sectoral policy conversations; two focused on the foundational role historical racism played in the development of financial education and how financial wellness is defined while Vice President for the National Endowment for Financial Education. Prior to that, they helped create the Boston Feds’ strategic focus on increasing the quality of jobs for lower-wage workers.



William Aaron

Chief Operating Officer, Emerging Industries Training Institute (EITI)

A Detroit native, William Aaron is an educator, facilitator, mentor, and workforce development consultant with over 20 years of professional experience. Mr. Aaron has worked in a workforce development specialist capacity with several organizations, including Marygrove College and Detroit Public Schools Community District. He is currently Chief Operating Officer at Emerging Industries Training Institute (EITI). EITI specializes in providing vocational training and employability skill development.

William holds a Bachelor’s Degree (B.B.A) in International Business from Howard University and a Master’s Degree (M.Ed) in Education from Marygrove College. He is passionate about fostering positive change in underserved communities and creating career pathways for individuals to participate in the current revitalization efforts throughout the region.

photo of Alysha AlbrechtAlysha Albrecht

Communications Specialist, Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN) 

Alysha Albrecht is the Communications Specialist for the Workforce Intelligence Network of Southeast Michigan (WIN). Alysha comes to WIN with a background in Government Communications, specializing in Media Literacy and Community Media. While previously serving as a Communications Specialist for Van Buren Charter Township, Alysha’s work has been published in Mlive, WXYZ, WDIV, and Detroit Free Press. As a Training and Facility Coordinator at the City of Ann Arbor’s Community Television Network (CTN), her media literacy programs were published in a scholarly journal: Art as a Way of Talking for Emergent Bilingual Youth by Routledge and helped to secure grants for the Ann Arbor YMCA & Neural Zone. Alysha holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts from Central Michigan University and is passionate about building community and connecting people together.

photo of Carmen BenderCarmen Bender

Director of Strategic Initiatives for Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation

Carmen was raised in Detroit, MI and is a graduate of Detroit Public Schools, University of Detroit-Mercy and Eastern Michigan University. Carmen values continuous learning and has embodied this throughout her career. In her career, she has worked over 20 years for DTE and Walker-Miller Energy Services in various positions with elevated responsibility and reach. Currently, she is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation. Her responsibilities include program development and oversight for signature workforce programs serving Detroiters – Learn to Earn, Skills for Life, and JumpStart. 

Thoughtfully creating opportunities for teams to contemplate change in a manner that encourages adoption of new practices is deeply important to Carmen. She works toward collaboration, positive outcomes, team member enrichment, and overall client success. In her personal life, Carmen loves to travel and explore the world with friends and family, enjoy astronomical events, and be near water whenever possible.

photo of Marletta BoydMarletta Boyd II

Michigan Development Director, NPower

Marletta Boyd II is a Detroit native, having spent a little more than a decade away for school (Howard University) and her first career (Finance Manager for Microsoft in Seattle). She returned home in 2011 to transition to the nonprofit sector and currently works for NPower as Michigan’s Development Director. She sees herself as a conduit, connecting passionate people to resources and big ideas that change lives. Marletta is an active member of several organizations, including the 800+ member Detroit Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. and her church, Empowerment.

Matthew Clayton

Program Director, Atlantic Impact

Matt has been a part of the Atlantic Impact staff since 2015. As Program Director, he is responsible for ensuring that the organization’s experiential programs have the resources and tools available to provide students with exemplary experiences and career opportunities. Matt is interested in how organizations create college and career pipelines, and how those pipelines eliminate barriers that students face in applying for college and jobs.

Matt graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Sociology and Afro-American Studies. Matt also studied Urban Planning at Wayne State University.

photo of Jasmine CriswellJasmine Criswell

Anchor Strategy Project Manager, Michigan Medicine

Jasmine Criswell, a native Detroiter, is a servant leader and problem solver with a passion for reforming systems to benefit underserved populations. Her career is focused on finding innovative solutions to complex challenges. Jasmine manages strategic health equity projects at Michigan Medicine – U of M Health and is responsible for developing and implementing initiatives that promote community engagement, investment, and workforce development to foster more resilient communities and reduce health disparities.

With experience in the public and private sectors, Jasmine has a proven track record of developing successful programs, including the peer-to-peer Health Advocate program for Detroit Parent Network in partnership with Wayne Health. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Jasmine is actively engaged in personal initiatives that support the betterment of her community.

Jasmine holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Wayne State University.

photo of Alics DillardAlics Dillard

Manager of Specialized Employment & Training, Goodwill of Greater Detroit

Alics Dillard was born and raised in the city of Detroit and graduated from Cooley High School. Alics attended Wayne State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Upon graduating, Alics began working for Lutheran Child and Family Service first as a Youth Specialist and then as a Foster Care Social Worker. In 2003, Alics began working for JVS and worked as an Employment Case Manager at a Michigan Works Career Center. In 2007, Alics became a Case Manager in the Supported Employment program with JVS.

In 2013, Alics received a Master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from Wayne State University.  In 2014, Alics was promoted to Supervisor of the Supported Employment program. Alics continued in this role until 2018 when he became the Manager of the Specialized Employment and Training department at Goodwill of Greater Detroit.

photo of Kimberly FaisonKimberly Faison

Director of Community & Economic Development, Detroit Future City

Kimberly Faison is the Director of Community and Economic Development at Detroit Future City, focusing on neighborhood economic growth within residential, commercial, and industrial districts. Faison brings 22 years of experience in economic and community development to her role.  Her team convenes the Detroit Neighborhood Housing Compact, which brings together over 80 cross-sector practitioners with the central goal of strengthening the single-family housing system. Additionally, Faison leads DFC’s initiative with the Global Epicenter for Mobility (GEM), funded by the Build Back Better Regional Challenge. She previously served as a Program Officer with the Ralph Wilson Foundation supporting Nonprofit Support and Innovation, where she supported the creation and development of Co.Act Detroit and was the inaugural Director of ProsperUS Detroit. She is passionate about healing, growth, and the prosperity of the Black community. She has a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from Eastern Michigan University.

Dawnesia Johnson-Garland

Youth Services Manager, SER Metro Detroit

Dawnesia has over 20 years of experience in program management and workforce development for young adults. Her goal is to introduce underprivileged and underserved youth to opportunities that lead to stability and financial independence. She currently manages the Year Round Youth Program, a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Grant. There are three programs that encompass the youth services program at SER Metro including the Year Round Youth Program, Youth Build USA, and SER Learning Academy, an alternative High School. 

Johnson-Garland has also managed NASA’s Science Engineering Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) and served as the Chief of Staff for a local State Representative. She is a proud alumnus of Cass Technical High School and Michigan State University.

photo of Robert LeadleyRobert Leadley

Executive Director of Business Services and Talent Development, Schoolcraft College

Dr. Robert Leadley has served in several leadership roles at Schoolcraft College including Associate Dean of Science, Dean of Occupational Programs and Economic Development, and currently as the Executive Director of Business Services and Talent Development. In these positions, he has led strategic initiatives that have addressed the College’s mission to “provide a transformational learning experience that will increase the capacity of individuals and groups to achieve intellectual, social, and economic goals.”

Prior to Schoolcraft, Leadley was involved in research and development at international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, serving as Biomedical Engineer, Senior Research Fellow, and Executive Director. He has over 150 publications, is a co-inventor on two patents, and is President of Lead Biopharma Consulting LLC.

Leadley holds a BS in Medical Technology (MSU), an MS in Biomedical Engineering (UW), a Ph.D. in Physiology (University of Kansas), and an MBA (St. Joseph’s University Haub School of Business).

photo of Michael LewisMichael D. Lewis

Engagement Strategy Manager, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC)

Michael is the Engagement Strategy Manager focusing on Manufacturing and Mobility with Detroit Employment Solutions Corp.  He also serves on the Mayors Workforce Development Board for the City of Detroit. Before joining DESC in 2022, Michael was an Account Manager with ADP where he led a team of 13 recruiters.  That responsibility focused mainly on managing and directing recruiting activities with the Manufacturing Division with Stellantis in Auburn Hills, MI.

Prior to joining ADP, Michael had Executive Recruiter positions with Ryder Logistics and Quicken Loans.   Michael served in sales roles with Johnson Controls and White Construction.  Michael also spent 2 years with the Detroit Institute of Arts where he directed the Corporate Giving division at the museum.

Mr. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and an MPA (HR) from Western Michigan University.  Michael has also completed Leadership Detroit and Leadership Michigan.

photo of Ellen LuxEllen Lux

Director of Workforce and Continuing Education, Macomb Community College.

In her role as Director, Ellen is responsible for leading the Workforce Assessment Center, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Workforce and Continuing Education programming in business and information technology. Ms. Lux also enjoys teaching business management courses as an adjunct instructor for the college.

Prior to working at Macomb, Ms. Lux was a business owner and managing partner in two highly successful companies. Ms. Lux began her career at Electronic Data Systems (EDS) where she worked for over 15 years, collecting extensive global business management experience, including working and living in Europe.

Ms. Lux holds a Master of Science in Management, Strategy, and Leadership and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Marketing Management from Michigan State University.

photo of Lisa MacheskyLisa Machesky

Executive Director, Oakland Literacy Council

Lisa believes foundational skills development is often a missing piece of workforce strategies–without strong math, reading, writing, and English language skills, families often struggle to find jobs and careers that lift their families out of poverty.  For the last seven years, as Executive Director of the Oakland Literacy Council (OLC), Lisa has focused on expanding OLC’s capacity to meet the demand for literacy throughout the county, where an estimated 105,000 adults are considered functionally illiterate by leveraging technology and skilled volunteers.  Math, digital literacy, and workforce programming have been added during her tenure.

Lisa has nearly two decades of experience leading a wide variety of nonprofits as chief executive officer and has been involved in many nonprofit organizations as a board member and volunteer.

She holds an MBA from Oakland University and received her bachelor’s degree from Albion College.

photo of Elizabeth NanasElizabeth Nanas

Executive Director, All Saints Literacy Center

Elizabeth is an educator and organizational strategist specializing in collaborative learning, cross-cultural communication, multi-method evaluation, and social impact storytelling. She holds a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree and has more than 20 years of professional experience in K-12, post-secondary, nonprofit, automotive, biomedical learning, and economically informal communities.

Elizabeth has taught and conducted research for the Wayne State University Department of Anthropology and College of Engineering Management Master’s Program. She has held a King-Chavez-Parks Future Faculty Fellowship at Wayne State University and a Dow Chemical Hong Kong Research Fellowship at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and has advanced study in business organizational anthropology.

photo of Tashawna ParkerTashawna Parker

COO, Focus: HOPE

Tashawna leads strategic endeavors for Focus: HOPE, a Detroit-based non-profit organization provides education and training for underrepresented minorities and others. This role includes serving over 41,000 senior citizens with a food supplement program, head start, and early childhood development services, and workforce development throughout the Southeastern Michigan region.

photo of Renard RichmondRenard Richmond

Construction Manager, City of Detroit

Renard works in the Civil Rights, Inclusion, and Opportunity Department (CRIO). He  is part of the newly envisioned Employer Engagement Team and has the unique opportunity to build and grow an innovative strategy for employer engagement within Detroit’s workforce system. His role creates, coordinates, and engages select employers, training providers, and community partners to maintain the pulse on Detroit’s workforce development.

Renard is a native Detroiter and Graduate of Detroit Public School’s Murray-Wright High School and Ferris State University.  He is passionate about community development, helping others become better people, and understanding the world’s geography. As a licensed builder, he has built a career in the construction industry for over 25 years as a teacher, tradesman, and businessman.

photo of Malia SalaamMalia Salaam

Reentry Career Center Manager, SERCO

Malia Salaam is a native Detroiter who called the Washington, DC Metropolitan area “home” for over two decades before relocating back home to Michigan in 2015. The Howard University and Trinity-Washington University alumnus has over a decade of experience supporting returning citizens’ reentry into the workforce through programs that provide barrier removal, job readiness training, and job placement services.

In her role at SERCO (SER Metro-Detroit), which serves justice-involved residents through Detroit at Work, the city’s workforce development agency. Among her proudest accomplishments include helping to implement a $4M U.S. Department of Labor Demonstration Pilot for adult Returning Citizens and serving on the planning committee for the 2nd Annual Conference for the National Reentry Workforce Collaborative. The proud wife and Autism mom also serves on non-profit boards for a community clinic and a faith-based organization.

photo of Kandyce SmithKandyce Smith

Deputy Director and EEO officer, Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!

Kandyce helps manage day-to-day operations and supports fiscal management. She has worked in workforce development for over eight years. Kandyce worked as an employment services agent, business account manager, human resource liaison, and accountant before her current role.

In the short time that Kandyce has been the equal opportunity officer, the importance of inclusivity has become very apparent. This has led Kandyce to get staff involved in creating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee at Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!

photo of Claudia StephensClaudia Stephens

DESC Career Center Manager, Southwest Solutions

Claudia has worked in the workforce sector for the past eight years and has been a manager for one year. Her responsibilities are contributing to program success by redefining and identifying career center strengths and weaknesses, resulting in increased customer service satisfaction and ascending Southwest Solutions and DESC standard center rankings.

She earned her associate’s degree in science and a bachelor’s degree in health services administration. She is currently attending Walden University for my master’s in human services with a completion date of February 2024. She is a Golden Key Honor student and look forward to applying my learning experiences while serving in leadership. She serves on the DEI Committee and the Great Place to Work Committee at Southwest Solutions.

Lisa Straske

Director, Oakland County MiWorks! Southfield

Lisa Straske is Manager of Oakland County Michigan Works! Southfield. Lisa has worked in workforce development and training programs for more than 30 years. She has served on various community action and school system boards offering workforce development expertise. She is committed to connecting businesses with talent and motivating job seekers to pursue their training and career goals. Lisa has demonstrated expertise and specialized training in human resources-related issues, workforce programs, and resource knowledge. Lisa has enjoyed every aspect of her many roles and continues to be a strong supporter of workforce development and community resource programs.

photo of Moussa TraoreMoussa Traore

Interim Executive Director, CBO

Moussa joined the Promise program as the first-ever, post-secondary success coach after serving as a Hazel Park High School College Advisor. While a College Advisor, Moussa was honored by the Michigan College Access Network as the recipient of the Ombudsman Award at its 2018 College Access Impact Awards Dinner.

Moussa is also a co-founder and an executive member of the Detroit Alumni Success Collective, a professional learning community to learn, connect, train, and share the best practices in college coaching and managing college access and success in low-income communities in Southeast Michigan.

Moussa is originally from Mali, a West African country, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts and Humanities with a minor in Peace and Justice Studies from Michigan State University. Moussa is pursuing a Master’s in International Development Administration at Western Michigan University (Class of 2023).