Marc Hill and the Marc Hill Rising Star Award: A Legacy of Excellence

A longtime instructor of BankWork$ and CareerWork$ Ready at YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, Marc Hill graduated 31 cohorts—totaling over 1,000 students—with nearly 800 finding employment during his time teaching CareerWork$ programs. He passed away unexpectedly in 2020, but today, his legacy with CareerWork$ lives on through the Marc Hill Rising Star Award.  

Created in Spring 2021, the Marc Hill Rising Star Award, presented by CareerWork$, recognizes a graduate of BankWork$ or CareerWork$ Medical who has shown significant personal growth and transformation since starting class. After receiving nominations from instructors across the country, the CareerWork$ team selects one recipient each quarter. During a surprise ceremony, often joined by colleagues, coworkers, and friends, the recipient receives a certification and cash award to enhance and enrich their new career. This award honors Marc’s legacy of supporting those around him and helping them achieve their best.   

“Marc Hill had a way of looking for every opportunity to educate and empower applicants who had the odds stacked against them,” said Ruby Sloan, Program Manager at CareerWork$. “Hundreds of graduates’ lives are forever changed because Marc believed in them when the world would have counted them out. His legacy will live on through the Marc Hill Rising Star Award.”   

In 2012, Ruby enrolled in Marc’s BankWork$ class (co-instructed with Mercedes Rippel) at YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. Feeling mentally stuck, Ruby wasn’t sure a career in financial services was attainable for her, but thanks to Marc’s guidance, she developed her confidence and self-worth. “Marc saw my potential when I couldn’t see it in myself,” said Ruby. “He showed me that I didn’t have to stay stuck in my situation. Lesson by lesson, he taught me how to dig out of my darkness and despair. He showed me how to be successful by simply looking for opportunities to help my clients and coworkers.”  

“He had a way of teaching lessons in a memorable and meaningful way,” noted Ruby. “He was transparent and honest about expectations in banking, and it helped us prepare for the reality of the careers we were all pursuing. Marc was a funny guy, full of cliché sayings and dad jokes, and was consistently his authentic self in an unapologetic way. To be in his presence meant you were either laughing or learning. He dropped nuggets of wisdom in everyday conversations that I still draw on today.”  

In 2016, after several promotions in banking, Ruby returned to the YWCA as a Career Navigator, where she became colleagues with Marc. Shortly after, she joined the CareerWork$ national team, where she supports instructors throughout the country. Like Marc, all of our instructors continue to inspire, encourage, and train participants who are looking to enter the workforce.  

Dion Willis, fellow Program Manager at CareerWork$, who also worked alongside Marc during his time at the YWCA, was deeply inspired by his impact. “I learned so much from him,” said Dion. “Marc genuinely cared about all of his students. It’s hard not to shed a tear thinking about what he meant to the Seattle community and all the lives he touched.”  

Ruby believes the Marc Hill Rising Star Award honors Marc’s legacy by “allowing our instructors to nominate and share the stories of graduates who have overcome obstacles that others may have otherwise not known or seen. It recognizes all the effort behind closed doors that many of our graduates have to put in just to have a chance at a career with growth potential. Some of us don’t just start from the bottom; we start in a hole with no way out until someone like Marc throws us a shovel and brings us hope, giving us a way out. The award also allows the graduate to feel seen and celebrated. It’s a reminder that this is just the beginning, the sky is the limit, and they are a Rising Star.”   

As of January 2023, four recipients have won the Marc Hill Rising Star Award—Dynasty, Alexis, Deepa, and Delaney—each with unique stories of overcoming adversity while pursuing their career dreams. We look forward to celebrating more recipients of this award in the months and years to come!  

Click here to learn more about the Marc Hill Rising Star Award and its previous recipients. 

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Instructor Carmen Williams Inspires BankWork$ Participants to Pursue Their Dreams in Financial Services

Earlier this week in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, instructor Carmen Williams kicked off her new BankWork$ class at The Energy Innovation Center. After celebrating 13 new BankWork$ graduates in her most recent summer class, she is excited to welcome more participants to BankWork$ and set them up for success in the financial services industry!  

A Pittsburgh native, Carmen is no stranger to the financial services industry; she first began her career as a teller. With 23 years of banking experience, Carmen ended her career in financial services by working at First National Bank for five years. She also has a heart for non-profit work and spent two years of her career as an Administrative Assistant at The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. When Carmen learned about an opportunity to be a Career Navigator for BankWork$ at The Energy Innovation Center, she thought it would be a great mix between her love of banking and non-profit work. In June 2022, Carmen was promoted from Career Navigator to Instructor to lead her first in-person class. 

Carmen describes herself as a background dancer. “I like being behind the scenes! However, this year, I had the opportunity to step into a new role as a BankWork$ Instructor, which has been very rewarding. I was nervous to start this new role because I didn’t want to fail my students. On my first day, I asked my students to give me grace because it was my first time, but a week into class, they all thought I was a natural. Because I’ve been in banking so long, when students have questions that go off the daily lessons, I know how to answer them and give them the right resources.”    

For Carmen, the highlight of her job is watching her students graduate. “I get weepy every graduation ceremony. We all connect so much during those eight weeks, and it’s such a rewarding experience. I try to teach my students that you can go down many different paths in banking. Even if you find that one role in banking is not for you, you can always come back to a new role that uses your skills differently,” said Carmen.     

Carmen’s mentorship often changes her students’ perception of the financial services industry. “On my first day, one woman said, ‘I’ll do anything, but I don’t want to be a teller,’ but after we did the cashbox exercises, she wanted nothing more than to be a teller. Her brother was so confident she would never want to be a teller that he thought I bribed her!”    

Carmen is especially proud of graduates whose long-term career goals have guided them since the beginning of class. “One of my students knew she wanted to work somewhere where she could transfer to a different city later, and she’s doing that! She told me from day one that she was moving to North Carolina, and now she finally did it. Another previous student is working at my old bank, and I get to brag about her and her promotions any time I go back to visit.”    

We are grateful for Carmen’s leadership, knowledge, and compassion for her students. We can’t wait to see her bring her expertise to many more classes in the future!   

The Energy Innovation Center is a Pittsburgh-based non-profit organization with a mission to align workforce development and education. BankWork$ is offered nationally, free of charge to students all across the United States. We at CareerWork$ are proud to partner with The EIC to continue to bring BankWork$ to the greater Pittsburgh community.     

Click here to learn more about BankWork$ and our partnership with Partner4Work and The Energy Innovation Center. 

CareerWork$ Announces Delaney Bord as the Latest Recipient of the Marc Hill Rising Star Award 

CareerWork$ is delighted to select Delaney Bord, a March 2022 graduate of the BankWork$® program from our training partners at Partner4Work and Energy Innovation Center Pittsburgh, as the fourth recipient of the CareerWork$ Marc Hill Rising Star Award! Delaney recently began her new career in financial services working as a Personal Banker at Dollar Bank in Pittsburgh. 

Beginning in Spring 2021, the Marc Hill Rising Star Award recognizes a graduate of our BankWork$ or CareerWork$ Medical® programs each quarter who has shown significant personal growth and transformation from the start of their class until their graduation. Each award recipient receives a certificate and cash award to enhance the start of their new career.   

The award is part of CareerWork$ ongoing work to open doors to meaningful careers – and honors the life, work, and legacy of the late Marc Hill, an instructor of both the BankWork$ and CareerWork$® Ready programs with CareerWork$ partner, YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, who passed away in late 2020. Marc began teaching our BankWork$ courses in 2011 and then began teaching CareerWork$ Ready in 2020 as part of our response to the COVID-19 crisis. The lessons Marc shared with his students embody our values as an organization: respect, collaboration, equity, and inclusion.   

“I am incredibly grateful to be even nominated. Just hearing a few words about Marc Hill makes me feel so honored to get this award and have a chance to know his story. Bankwork$ has changed my life. Not only is BankWork$ an amazing program, but it has very inspirational and dedicated instructors, such as Tanya Bashor and Carmen Williams, who stop at nothing to make sure their students succeed. Words cannot even describe how truly thankful I am,” says Delaney. 

The CareerWork$ and Energy Innovation Center teams, along with Delaney’s colleagues at Dollar Bank, had the opportunity to surprise her with the news that she had been selected as the newest recipient from a pool of candidates across the country.   

“After we got off the video celebration, she was so appreciative, shocked, and overwhelmed with emotion that she was chosen. We are all so proud of her and all she’s accomplished,” says Kim Rodriguez, Assistant Vice President of Branch Administration at Dollar Bank.  

“Delaney was one of the best students I have taught. She was punctual, had perfect attendance, excelled on all of her exams, and asked thoughtful questions throughout. She made no excuses even though attending the Bankwork$ training for eight weeks was very challenging for her. Delaney was always positive and determined to place at a bank—and Dollar Bank is lucky to have her!” said Tanya Bashor, Delaney’s former instructor at Energy Innovation Center Pittsburgh.  

From all of us at CareerWork$, congratulations, Delaney! 

Shelley McHugh and Sara Sheldon From Career Path Services are Helping Students Grow Into Their New Careers Through BankWork$. 

In Lakewood, Washington, just south of Seattle, dynamic duo Instructor Shelley McHugh and Career Navigator Sara Sheldon lead the BankWork$® program with our partners Career Path Services. Shelley and Sara draw on their backgrounds in finance and human services in supporting students before, during, and after our free, eight-week comprehensive training as they learn the skills to thrive in a new career in financial services. For Shelley, that includes a career serving in the United States military and in banking. For Sara, that includes experience working at the Washington State Department of Health & Human Services. For both, the opportunity to support students going through this program is life-changing. 

Shelley and Sara believe a key part of the success of the BankWork$ program is that it teaches the industry-specific knowledge and the customer-facing skills needed to succeed and advance in careers: “For our students, BankWork$ is a package deal: it offers both the hard and soft skills they need,” says Sara.  

For both Shelley and Sara, working directly with their students and watching them grow during the training is a highlight of their jobs. “Often the person walking in the door is often not the person who walks out of the door,” says Shelley. “It’s so gratifying and exciting to hear from our graduates about milestones like promotions in their new career – and their new babies, too!”  

Like so many workforce development organizations around the country, the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges and barriers to serving their community with the BankWork$ program. But working with our training partners around the country like Sara, Shelley, and Career Path Services, CareerWork$ adapted quickly, making classes virtual and creating virtual graduation celebrations and hiring fairs with local employers.

“We’re grateful we were able to pivot so quickly to virtual learning by using our Learning Management System,” recalls Shelley. “Now, information is at our students’ fingertips. It’s a great tool to help them be even better prepared for being in a bank. We’ve also learned to appreciate the value of being in person.” 

When giving advice to students considering BankWork$, Sara emphasizes that participating in BankWork$ is a smart bet for the long term. “It’s an investment that dramatically increases your chances of launching a lasting career in financial services.” 

Both Sara and Shelley are characteristically humble when talking about their work together, preferring to keep the spotlight on the graduates and their achievements. “Our graduates always thank us,” Shelley says, “but they did the hard work.” 

Career Path Services operates across Washington State, offering programs and services to help individuals and organizations meet their employment goals. Founded in 1971, their mission is to break the spirit of poverty through the dignity of work. They have been voted a top nonprofit to work for eight times in the last decade, and we are proud to partner with them to offer BankWork$ and CareerWork$ Medical.

To learn more about BankWork$ and our partnership with Career Path Services, click here. 

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Observing a BankWork$ Class: Success in Action

Hello everyone! My name’s Austin, and I joined CareerWork$ as our Communications and Development Specialist in March! One of my favorite parts of my job is hearing from incredible participants and instructors, and sharing their success stories so others can hear about their great work. 

This week Program Manager Dion Willis and I met with the BankWork$ class at Career Path Services in South Puget Sound. We observed participants in action as they practiced cash handling and dealing with different types of customers, and we heard from guest speakers from Olympia Federal Savings.

In chatting with several participants about their experience with BankWork$, I witnessed firsthand the impact this program is making on their lives. The class brings together participants from all over the world, from Tacoma to Sierra Lione to China, around a shared interest in achieving their career goals. Instruction staff Shelley and Sara teach the skills to succeed in the financial services industry, but each participant brings their own drive, determination, and dedication.  

I look forward to seeing these participants graduate and launch careers in the coming weeks. They are not only the future of the financial services industry, but also a reminder that success can come from anywhere. 

CareerWork$ Ready Is “Building Up Confidence For The Whole Family” Says Program Manager, Dion Willis

As Dion Willis celebrates his one-year anniversary as a Program Manager with CareerWork$, he’s looking back at one of the most rewarding parts of his job: helping grow and develop CareerWork$ Ready. “It’s one of those programs that gives you not just the skills and training you need, but the confidence to know that you can do it,” he says.  

CareerWork$ Ready is the newest free job training program offered by CareerWork$ and our Training Partners. The program was created during the COVID-19 pandemic to help individuals struggling with unemployment, but has proven effective even as the labor market has steadied. Designed to serve individuals seeking their first job or those re-entering the workforce, CareerWork$ Ready focuses on both the skills to secure a job, such as a resume writing and interview practice, and the people and communication skills needed to succeed in any role. After completion, participants are prepared to interview for open roles with confidence and a renewed sense of conviction, and instructors help program participants grow professionally through personalized career coaching. 

As a former Career Navigator, Dion has personally observed the CareerWork$ Ready class at Seattle YWCA many times and has witnessed its impact on participants. He says, “I’ve seen many people get jobs from the program. It’s a beautiful thing that people want to stay in touch with me, and talk about the program and what it’s meant to them.”  

Dion tells anyone considering CareerWork$ Ready as the next step in their professional life that “you will be excited to come the next day—you are always learning something new and fresh.” Dion has also witnessed the multi-generational effects the program has on families working from home. “I love that our program means kids are seeing their parents act professionally, dressing differently, and preparing homework assignments, like their 30-second commercials introducing themselves.  We know it’s building up confidence for the whole family.” 

If you’re interested in signing up for CareerWork$ Ready, you can sign up through our website or call 833-296-7554 and we’ll connect you to a training partner closest to your location.   

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CareerWork$® Welcomes Austin Aga As Its Communication and Development Specialist to Bring New Ideas and Communication Tactics to Rapidly Growing Markets.

Today, CareerWork$ announced that Austin Aga has joined the team as its first-ever Communications and Development Specialist to help support its mission to provide free career training programs across the country. Austin plans to bring new ideas and communication tactics to the rapidly growing CareerWork$ markets.

“I want to help bring the inspiring success stories of CareerWork$ graduates to life.”

Austin will be providing key support and insights by communicating directly with training partners, participants, and other team members. He will be generating content to reach the various audiences in markets where CareerWork$ operates, as well as monitoring media coverage to ensure all content stays in line with the correct strategy for their respective markets.

An Oklahoma native, Austin previously worked at the non-profit organization, Infant Crisis Services as a graphic designer. He went on to focus on communication and ran social media content for several companies throughout Oklahoma. He also attended the University of Oklahoma earning a BA in Advertising. 

As a naturally curious person, Austin is always learning about new technologies and industry landscape changes to be proactive for future opportunities. He has a deep understanding of social media content creation and distribution and will ensure all CareerWork$ social media is consistent and engaging. 

In March 2022, CareerWork$ updated its website to increase ease of understanding of its main programs, BankWork$®, CareerWork$ Medical®, and CareerWork$Ready®. Austin will also update the website and ensure its consistency with social media content.

With a heart for non-profit work. Austin hopes to showcase CareerWork$ as a place of acceptance and encouragement. “This role gives me the opportunity to help set talented people up for successful careers, and I get to work with a great team who all have a shared passion for seeing others thrive, and that’s really exciting.”

Outside of work, Austin enjoys watching movies and playing drums. He is looking forward to exploring Seattle and finding the best hiking spots in Washington. He plans on continuing to travel by visiting the various cities CareerWork$ operates to understand the local cultures.

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For BankWork$® Career Navigator Matthew Samaniego, The Priority Is Ensuring Students “Have Everything They Need to Succeed”

Every graduate of any CareerWork$ program knows that what sets us apart isn’t just our industry-specific career training—it’s individual support, and direct connections to local employers looking to hire. While our Instructors bring industry experience and are responsible for leading participants through our eight-week curricula, the person responsible for helping program participants connect directly with employers is each class’s Career Navigator—part of the special sauce that makes CareerWork$ programs have such success with launching their new careers. 

Matthew Samaniego never expected that his own career path would lead to workforce development and career training. But today, Matthew Samaniego speaks passionately about his work as a Career Navigator with our Bay Area partner Fremont Adult & Continuing Education. 

For Matthew, being a Career Navigator means “working with our students one-on-one to make sure they have everything they need to succeed. We are already giving them a great curriculum with our Instructors, so my role is to meet with them individually throughout the program, and to provide that post-class support and ongoing coaching, and help connect them with employers with roles to fill.”  

As he works with participants in the BankWork$ program – as well as those considering it – Matthew emphasizes that “you’re not just getting into a job, but a career. It’s something you can do your whole life, with opportunities to advance at every step.” 

A Bay Area native, Matthew worked in customer service, logistics, and retail before joining our Bay Area partner Fremont Adult & Continuing Education in an administrative role, which he held for nearly two years. When the opportunity opened up to be a Career Navigator with the BankWork$ program, Matthew says he “jumped at the chance.” He was already familiar with BankWork$ and had seen its impact on its students firsthand. 

 Working directly with BankWork$ participants, Matthews says he cherishes the chance to “connect talented people with a real career opportunity that can transform their lives. Seeing our students really blossom into themselves and become these confident people by the end of the course is so impressive and inspiring.” 

Matthew also values building relationships with students during and after the program – and seeing them build relationships with one another. “Each class becomes a bit of a family,” Matthews says, with cohorts staying in touch via WhatsApp to send holiday greetings and celebrate each other’s new roles and promotions in their new careers.  

The COVID-19 pandemic made Matthew’s work more challenging over the past two years—a challenge experienced by all of our Instructors and Career Navigators across the country. But, like all instruction staff, Matthew and his colleagues at FACE adapted, working with CareerWork$® to launch virtual, and then hybrid, BankWork$ classes, along with virtual graduation celebrations and career fairs with employers.  

Today, Matthew loves being back in person with FACE’s BankWork$ students. But he also notes that the challenges posed by the pandemic and virtual instruction “taught us a lot, too. We can include technology skills like remote meeting and incorporate that into our curriculum. We’ve come through it stronger than ever before.”  

“You realize how much it starts to mean to you as well. I keep calling my role a job, but for me, it’s a career and a calling. I look forward to many more years working with CareerWork$.”  

Thank you, Matthew, and all the Career Navigators and Instructors who make our programs around the country so impactful!  To learn more about upcoming BankWork$ classes with Fremont Adult and Continuing Education, click here

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CareerWork$ Medical Seattle to Begin in April 

Handshake Training

CareerWork$, a workforce development nonprofit, is excited to expand our partnership with Career Path Services to operate our CareerWork$ Medical® program in Seattle, opening doors to lasting careers through our free, eight-week career training program. Classes begin April 18, 2022, in the Northgate neighborhood of Seattle.  

CareerWork$ Medical offers participants the necessary skills for any entry-level non-clinical healthcare position with career potential, including appointment schedulers, patient service representatives, patient navigator, medical receptionist, and more. After eight weeks of intensive training, participants attend a combined graduation ceremony and hiring fair to interview for open positions with local employer partners. Graduates also receive ongoing coaching and job placement support.  

CareerWork$ Medical is currently offered in three cities across the United States, with more expected to open in 2022. CareerWork$ Medical was last offered in Seattle in early 2020 before pausing during the pandemic; this relaunch is an exciting opportunity to connect participants eager to start careers with the increased opportunities in healthcare, and connect employers with open roles with talent.  

The class in Seattle runs through early June, with two additional cohorts offered later this year. Classes are three days per week, and this will be a hybrid course, helping students gain experience with digital remote tools. Eligible applicants must be 18 years old or older, have a high school diploma or GED, have English literacy, and six months customer service experience.  Thanks to support from The Sheri & Les Biller Family Foundation, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Urban Research Park, and others, this program is free for all participants.  

Since 2018, CareerWork$ and Career Path Services have partnered to offer BankWork$, a CareerWork$ program advancing careers in banking and financial services, in the South Puget Sound area.  

“We are delighted to expand our partnership with CareerWork$ to Seattle and CareerWork$ Medical, and together bring non-clinical healthcare training to Seattle,” said Cami Eakins, Chief Executive Officer of Career Path Services. “Our shared commitment to empowering people, enhancing the workforce, and enriching communities is a strong foundation for this work.”  

“Working with Career Path Services to relaunch CareerWork$ Medical in Seattle is a natural fit,” said Ranko Fukuda, CareerWork$ Director of Programs. “We are so appreciative of their partnership in South Puget Sound on our BankWork$ program, and are thrilled to bring that partnership to Seattle.  We know there is huge demand for talented, trained individuals looking to launch careers in non-clinical healthcare settings, particularly in this region, and this is really the perfect time to bring our program back—we are hitting the ground running!” 

CareerWork$ is a workforce development nonprofit with the mission of connecting young adults from under-resourced communities to stable, lasting careers through free training, and building partnerships advancing equitable economic stability.   

Are you an employer interested in supporting the CareerWork$ Medical$ program and recruiting great talent to help serve the diverse healthcare needs of your communities? Contact us at info@careerworksmedical.org.  

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CareerWork$® Announces Latoya Edmond As Regional Director to Help Expand Programs and Impact Across U.S. Markets

CareerWork$® announced today that Latoya Edmond has joined its growing team as Regional Director to help expand career training programs and deepen impact in markets across the United States.

CareerWork$ connects young adults from under-resourced communities to lasting, stable careers through free training, and builds supportive partnerships advancing equitable economic stability. CareerWork$ operates two eight-week, industry-specific free career training programs in financial services and non-clinical health care through its BankWork$® and CareerWork$ Medical® , and CareerWork$ Ready programs. The CareerWork$ model teaches industry-specific skills for immediate on-the-job success and the communication and people skills needed to succeed as a professional anywhere, and then provides direct access to employers who are hiring.

CareerWork$ partners with local workforce development and social services organizations to support recruiting, coaching, local fundraising, and employer connections in the communities in which they are based. CareerWork$ provides financial support, proprietary industry-specific curricula, a robust online learning platform, instruction staff training, and ongoing operational program support while engaging employers at every step of the process.

“I’m both honored and excited to join the CareerWork$ team to support under-served communities on a larger scale,” said Latoya. “I believe in the CareerWork$ mission and program model, and I know from first-hand experience the model is effective and impactful. I look forward to expanding the CareerWork$ footprint across the U.S. to increase economic opportunities for those we serve.”

“Latoya joins our team at a pivotal time of expansion for CareerWork$. She brings extensive experience leading workforce development efforts and was a wonderful collaborator and visible leader as our Training Partner at Philadelphia OIC. I am excited to have her on our team so we can lean on her expertise and continue to grow our impact around the country,” said Ranko Fukuda, Director of Programs at CareerWork$.

Latoya joins CareerWork$ as it continues to expands its presence and impact across the country. Today, it operates 16 training programs in 13 markets across the country, and has helped launch more than 4,000 careers nationwide.

A proud Philadelphia native, Latoya brings over 15 years of experience in workforce development. Prior to joining CareerWork$, Latoya served as the Vice President of Workforce Development & Economic Innovation for Philadelphia OIC, a training partner of CareerWork$ BankWork$ program, where she managed over $2.5 million annually in public/private agency grant and contractual funds while overseeing the organization’s workforce development initiatives and partnerships, including the BankWork$ program. She was also responsible for cultivating relationships with donors and employers which allowed her to generate over $3 million in additional funding to support the organizations programs and mission.

In 2021, Latoya was named one of the Philadelphia Business Journal Women of Distinction. She has also been selected as a finalist in the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovations Awards for her work in building innovative partnerships with a cross-sector approach to solving complex social and environmental issues on a large scale.

Latoya also serves as an Advisory Committee Member for the Pennsylvania Bankers Association Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Group, Advisory Board Member for the City of Philadelphia’s Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine, Executive Team member of the Workforce Professionals Alliance, Member of PNC’s Community Development Banking Philadelphia Advisory Council, and is a 2020 Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange alum.

Latoya holds a master’s degree in Management & Leadership and Public Administration from East Stroudsburg University and Certificate in Non-profit Administration from Temple University.

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