Addressing Growing Economic Inequality at NCTN 2016

nctn_banner2016_mainLet’s continue the conversation about adult education and economic inequality at the National College conference policy panel on November 16 in Providence.

Join us!

Wednesday, November 16
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Grand Ballroom

Education and training that lead to living-wage jobs is a broadly endorsed strategy for advancing economic opportunity for low-income people. As part of that overall strategy, educators provide college and career readiness activities; we integrate, align, and accelerate in order to build more efficient career pathways in hopes that they make a difference for adult learners. But will these strategies alone result in economic self-sufficiency, a key goal of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in light of the deep economic divide? The Aspen Institute, among others, argues that we need to re-balance workforce development policy and practice – including adult education – by focusing on how to make current poor-quality jobs better to improve the lives of low-wage workers. This year’s policy panel will tackle these issues head on, challenge our assumptions, and suggest strategies we should consider in order to have deeper and more lasting impact.  


vickie-choitzVickie Choitz is the Associate Director of the Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute. She provides strategic research and leadership for a number of program initiatives to identify and advance strategies that help low-income Americans gain ground in today’s labor market. Her primary focus is to advance the EOP’s work to improve both the quality of low-wage jobs and career advancement opportunities simultaneously as a key strategy to address deepening economic inequality in America. Ms. Choitz has almost 15 years of experience in national organizations promoting economic security and career advancement opportunities for low-income workers and job seekers. She most recently worked at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), where she was interim director of the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success (C-PES) and director of the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways. Ms. Choitz also has worked at Jobs for the Future, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), and FutureWorks. She has a Masters of Public Policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and baccalaureate degrees in political science and secondary education and a women ‘s studies minor from Kansas State University. 

judy-mortrudeJudy Mortrude is Senior Policy Analyst at Center for Law And Social Policy (CLASP).  Judy has over 30 years of experience developing, delivering, and managing secondary and postsecondary education projects for workforce development, particularly with low literacy and high barrier populations. Judy was the lead administrator for Minnesota’s largest Adult Basic Education (ABE) consortium before moving to the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development in 2009 to staff the Minnesota FastTRAC Adult Career Pathway cross-system initiative. Currently, she facilitates a network of practitioners in the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways at CLASP.  This Alliance of education, workforce development, and human service providers from across the country has developed quality standards for career pathway system partners to use as they develop and evaluate their aligned efforts. As a senior policy analyst for CLASP, Judy focuses on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Perkins Career & Technical Education, and other education/workforce development policy.


cynthia-petersCynthia Peters is the Editor of The Change Agent, a social justice magazine for adult learners that teaches basic skills in the context of issues that are relevant to adults. Her expertise includes writing, editing, developing content and lesson plans, and providing professional development (both in person and via webinar) on a wide range of topics. She also teaches ESOL in a workplace-based class at a hotel in downtown Boston. Prior to joining World Education, Cynthia worked with the book publisher, South End Press and as a freelance editor and writer for over 15 years. Cynthia is a long-time community activist, currently focused on housing and youth justice work via City Life/Vida Urbana and The City School, respectively.


silja-kallenbachSilja Kallenbach is Vice President at World Education, Inc., the home of the NCTN, where she oversees World Education’s work in the U.S. Silja also directs the Networks for Integrating New Americans national demonstration project funded by Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Silja has 33 years of experience in adult education as administrator, professional development provider, program developer, researcher, and ESOL teacher.

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Silja Kallenbach

Silja Kallenbach

Silja is the Vice President of World Education, Inc. where she oversees the operations of WEI’s U.S. Division. Silja has 34 years of experience in adult education as administrator, professional development provider, program developer, researcher, and teacher. Silja is the recipient of the 2014 national award for Promoting Literacy Nationally and Internationally, issued by the Commission on Adult Basic Education.