Work-Based Learning: A WorkingNation Town Hall

Despite the country's low unemployment rate, 25% of those unemployed have been job seeking for 26 weeks or longer. And in 2017, about half of all recent college graduates found themselves in jobs that did not require or utilize the competencies in their earned degree. WorkingNation's fifth town hall event examines innovative solutions revolutionizing what and how people learn for jobs of the future.

While the job market continues to churn, workers and employers struggle to match people, skills and jobs. Work-related mentoring, co-ops, internships and apprenticeships are becoming a part of the national dialogue as a solution, but attention needs to be paid to the quality and the inclusive nature of these opportunities.

WorkingNation’s town hall event on Oct. 2 aims to do just that. “Work-Based Learning: Building a Better Future for Job Seekers and Employers,” will bring together some of the top minds at the forefront of innovative partnerships revolutionizing what and how people learn for jobs of the future.

Moderated by Scott Cohn of CNBC, this town hall takes an in-depth look at the elements of these successful partnerships and each partners’ roles. How do employers engage? How are they using these innovative strategies to create a more diverse talent pool, and attract and re-train talent? For those seeking jobs, what are the benefits of these practices and are they helpful in finding the right job? For not-for-profits and government partners, how do they help these programs sustain and grow?

Panelists representing corporate, education, and government sectors discuss innovative work-based learning models, best practices in working with partners and bringing these models to scale.


  • Gerald Chertavian, Founder and CEO, Year Up
  • Yoli Chisholm, Founding Advisor, STEAM Role
  • Maria Flynn, CEO, JFF
  • Maggie Koziol, Senior Director and Workforce Development Social Impact Leader, Deloitte LLP
  • Dr. J.D. LaRock, President and CEO, the Commonwealth Corporation
  • Carol Leary, President, Bay Path University
  • David Shapiro, CEO, MENTOR
  • Neil Sullivan, Executive Director, Boston Private Industry Council
  • Heather Terenzio, Co-founder & CEO, Techtonic Group


WHAT: WorkingNation Town Hall – Work-Based Learning: Building a Better Future for Job Seekers and Employers
WHEN: October 2, 2018, at 4 p.m.
WHERE: The Morris Auditorium of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 600 Atlantic Avenue Boston, MA 02210-2204

About our Location

Federal Reserve building in Boston exterior
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (Credit: Wikipedia)

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston works to promote sound growth and financial stability in New England and the nation.

As part of its partnership with the Federal Reserve System’s initiative, Investing in America’s Workforce: Improving Outcomes for Workers and Employers, the Boston Fed coordinated a chapter titled “Investing in Opportunities to Create Good Jobs” for the upcoming System initiative book. It also organized panel sessions on “The Future of Work” and “The Changing Social Contract of Work” for the 2017 capstone conference and participated in promoting the event and heightening awareness of these pressing employment issues throughout New England.

The collaboration among all 12 Reserve Banks, the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, the Ray Marshall Center of the Lyndon B. Johnson School at the University of Texas, and the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research aims to address significant labor market challenges that persist for both workers and employers nationwide.

For more information, visit

About our Moderator

Scott Cohen headshot
Credit: CNBC

Scott Cohn is an acclaimed investigative journalist, public speaker, and consultant based in Northern California. As a CNBC special correspondent, he develops in-depth features, documentaries and special reports, including the influential annual series America’s Top States for Business, which he created in 2007. He contributes to CNBC’s breaking news coverage and serves as a special correspondent for CNBC’s American Greed.

About our Panelists

Gerald Chertavian headshot
(Credit: Year Up)

Gerald Chertavian, Founder and CEO, Year Up

Chertavian is dedicated to closing the Opportunity Divide that exists in our nation. Determined to make his vision a reality, Chertavian combined his entrepreneurial skills and his passion for working with urban young adults to found Year Up in 2000. He has actively participated in the Big Brother mentoring program since 1985 and was recognized as one of New York’s outstanding Big Brothers in 1989. In 2006, Chertavian was elected as a Fellow with the Ashoka Global Fellowship of social entrepreneurs, and in 2008, he was appointed by Former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick to serve on the MA State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. In 2013, he was appointed by Governor Patrick to serve as Chairman of the Roxbury Community College Board of Trustees and reappointed to that role by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker in 2016.

Yoli Chisholm headshot

Yoli Chisholm, Founding Advisor, STEAMRole

STEAMRole is a mission-driven company and mobile app that helps the workforce of the future discover whom they can become and how to get there by empowering busy STEAM professionals to become role models cracking the code on delivering mentorship at scale. STEAMRole also gamifies skills learning by awarding steamers RoleCoin for each skill they successfully acquire. RoleCoin is a blockchain-based digital currency that tracks, measures, and rewards the skill and career development progress of its recipient. It brings transparency to the $100+ billion in annual STEM/STEAM education spending by providing proof-of-progress as it happens on STEAMRole and the ecosystem of online education providers which accept RoleCoin as payment.

Maria Flynn headshot

Maria Flynn, CEO, JFF

Maria Flynn leads JFF’s overall growth strategy, including funding diversification, strategic planning, partnership building, system deployment, change management, and talent development. She is responsible for all of JFF’s programs and operations in a highly collaborative environment across its education and workforce development sectors. Flynn is a leading national expert on issues such as career pathways, employer engagement, sector strategies, and place-based initiatives. This team provides technical assistance, coaching, documentation, labor market analysis, and evaluation support to a wide range of projects around the country, supported by public and private funders.

Maggie Koziol headshot
Credit: LinkedIn

Maggie Koziol, Senior Director and Workforce Development Social Impact Leader, Deloitte LLP

Koziol is Deloitte’s Workforce Development Social Impact Leader. After spending three years building and executing Deloitte’s public policy agenda, Koziol is now standing-up the firm’s first social impact platform around workforce development. Because as a firm, Deloitte is committed to skilling the workforce for today, and tomorrow.

Koziol is a subject matter expert in education, workforce, and social policy, and has expertise in economics-based decision-making, strategy development and execution, policy and political analysis and engagement, and leading both incremental, and large-scale change through smart decision-making and policy.

JD LaRock headshot
(Credit: Twitter)

Dr. J.D. LaRock, President and CEO, the Commonwealth Corporation

The Commonwealth Corporation is Massachusetts’ public-private corporation dedicated to workforce development, youth development, and economic development. A $55 million organization with employees across the state, Commonwealth Corporation works to advance Massachusetts’ economic leadership through signature partnerships with employers, employees, educational institutions, and community-based organizations. LaRock is also a member of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and Chair of the Board of Trustees at North Shore Community College.

Carol Leary headshot
(Credit: Bay Path University)

Carol Leary, President, Bay Path University

During Leary’s tenure, Bay Path has enriched and enlarged the curriculum with new baccalaureate programs and professional certificates; established over 30 graduate and post-graduate degrees; introduced the innovative One Day A Week Saturday Program for adult women and created two additional campus locations in Sturbridge and Concord, Massachusetts; launched The American Women’s College, the first all-women, all-online baccalaureate program in the nation; and expanded and renovated major campus buildings, including the most recent construction, the Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center for allied health programs.

David Shapiro headshot
(Credit: MENTOR)

David Shapiro, CEO, MENTOR

For more than 25 years, MENTOR has helped build and serve the mentoring field by providing a public voice; developing and delivering resources to mentoring programs nationwide; and promoting quality for mentoring through evidence-based standards, innovative research and essential tools. Under Shapiro’s leadership, MENTOR’s efforts to build capacity and scale innovation within the mentoring movement have been highlighted by the Social Impact Exchange, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. During his tenure, MENTOR launched In Real Life, a national mentoring public awareness campaign, with the support of the NBA and has worked extensively with the Obama Administration on the mentoring component of My Brother’s Keeper.

Neil Sullivan headshot
(Credit: LinkedIn)

Neil Sullivan, Executive Director, Boston Private Industry Council

The PIC serves as Boston’s Workforce Investment Board under state and federal law, chartering the city’s three one-stop career centers and directing the distribution of workforce development funds, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Jobs and Community Services. The PIC also leads Boston’s school-to-career initiative — organizing employers to provide jobs and internships for public high school students. Recently, the PIC has launched initiatives to reduce the high school dropout rate and to increase the college graduation rate. The PIC collaborates with the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University to follow Boston students over time and analyze the impact of their high school experiences on college and labor market outcomes.

(Credit: LinkedIn)

Heather Terenzio, Co-founder & CEO, Techtonic Group

Techtonic Group is a software services company building web-based and mobile products for start-ups and the Fortune 1000. Four years ago, Terenzio founded Techtonic Academy to train people with diverse backgrounds how to code using a unique, Department of Labor (DOL) approved Apprenticeship program. This highly selective Apprenticeship program recruits people who have the desire, ambition, and skill set to be a great software developer – regardless of their background or academic training.

WorkingNation’s Previous Town Halls

“Cracking the Code: A Town Hall on Bridging the Cybersecurity Skills Gap,” an in-depth look at jobs in cybersecurity at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute Cornell on Roosevelt Island in New York City.

“Re-Skilling the Mid-Career Workforce,” held in conjunction with the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, was about the importance of training programs helping older individuals and the long-term unemployed to re-enter the workforce.

“Keeping America’s Promise,” produced in partnership with the syndicated television show Hiring America and filmed at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, was aimed at assisting veterans’ transition to the civilian workforce.

“Shaping the Future of Work,” was held at the Dreamline Aviation hangar at Van Nuys Airport with YPO Los Angeles and focused on the workforce shortage in the aviation and aerospace industries.

You can view all of our Town Hall discussions on the WorkingNation YouTube channel.