PCC’s Diversity and Workforce Development Conference: Our Outstanding Participants

Pam Sornson, JD

Attendees at PCC’s second annual (first virtual) Future of Work Conference, “Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Workforce Development,” were well rewarded for their time.  Its panelists, moderators, and keynote speakers shared the profound insights and wisdom they’ve gained across decades of experience in their government, corporate, and thought leadership sectors.

Streaming seamlessly through a Zoom portal, listeners heard about how America’s workforce faces numerous challenges, including those posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, a suppressed economy, a suppressing economy, and a myriad of long-standing, as-yet-unaddressed social concerns. They also learned about how America’s businesses, industries, and educational sectors can pivot to harness the lessons taught by the pandemic to produce the enlightened, innovative, and inclusive educational and workforce development programs that will power the 21st Century economy.

Most importantly, perhaps, they also felt a sense of:

relief that long-ignored problems are finally getting the attention they deserve;

gratitude that so many intelligent and compassionate people are working on these issues, and

optimism that the future is brighter than they knew.


Here’s the list of who was speaking and where they are bringing their expertise and influence:


Our Moderators

Salvatrice Cummo

Executive Director – Pasadena City College Office of Economic and Workforce Development

Ms. Cummo brings years of commercial, entrepreneurial, and big and small business experience to her role as Director of the Economic and Workforce Development department at Pasadena City College (PCC EWD). She builds on the many ‘business development best practice’ strategies she’s developed to engage both PCC’s teaching faculty and its neighboring businesses and industries in her efforts to strengthen the regional and local economies.

Within the EWD, she’s instituted four foundational ‘pillars’ that each encompass one of the defining aspects of the department’s work: The Small Business Development Center, Workforce Training, Work-based Learning, and the Robert G. Freeman Center for Career and Completion.


Ramona Schindelheim

Editor-in-Chief, Working Nation

Founded in 2016 to bring attention to the country’s looming unemployment crisis, the non-profit WorkingNation presents solutions to unemployment and economic disparity concerns as stories to inspire change. In her role as Editor-in-Chief, the multi-award-winning Ms. Schindelheim leads by example after a long career as a writer, producer, and executive in journalism (The Wall Street Journal, among others) and broadcast media (Power Lunch, Conversations with Michael Eisner, among others).

Looking forward, she emphasizes highlighting ‘skills’ as the definer of worker competency and urges job seekers to refine their skills as they look for their next employment opportunity.


Representing Pasadena City College

Dr. Erica Endrijonas, Ph.D.

Superintendent-President, Pasadena City College

After many years of leadership in the Los Angeles Valley community college system, Dr. Endrijonas joined PCC in early 2019 as its 16th Superintendent/President. In addition to her roles as Executive Vice President and Dean at Oxnard College (in the Ventura County Community College District) and at Santa Barbara City College, respectively, she’s also contributed significantly to the Boards of the Community College boards of the Chief Instructional Officers, the Chief Student Services Officers, the Association for Occupational Education, and the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA), among others.

Her comprehensive understanding of the many facets of career and workforce development practices as those play out in schools, businesses, and industries, make Dr. Endrijonas eminently qualified to oversee those efforts at Pasadena City College.



Representing Our Sponsor

Jesus Roman

Associate General Counsel & VP of Government Affairs & Community Engagement at Verizon

Verizon was a natural fit to sponsor this conversation. Its deep and broad investments in its ‘V Team’ workforce development practices both in and outside its corporate perimeter demonstrate its commitment to improving the lives of its workers. It also works to improve the communities in which they live and raise their families.

One of two sponsor representatives (see also Erica Jacquez, below), Mr. Roman shares his employer’s passion for investing time and money in workforce development initiatives, noting that it’s the qualified workforce that’s propelled Verizon to its current position at the top of the telecommunications industry. His message that the company will require a highly-skilled workforce to implement and manage its emerging 5G capacities is a call to action for students and colleges alike.


Our First Keynote Speaker

Josh Davies

CEO – Center for Work Ethic Development

Noted as one of Denver’s ’40 Under 40′ for his nationally recognized (top 10) training skills, Mr. Davies has been engaging and enhancing workforce skills in numerous industries for years. As the former President of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART) and a former board member for the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals, his experience spans all levels of workforce capacities, from front-line hotel operations to the development of national workforce development policies.

For us, he shared his enthusiasm and insights about where our current workforce practices are insufficient and provided innovative suggestions for improving them.


Our Panelists

Our panelists brought decades of knowledge, wisdom, and experience to the Conference, from government, corporate, and thought leadership sectors. Their insights about and plans for the future guide their respective agencies into the new world of how work gets done.


Reg Javier

Executive Director, CA Employment Training Panel (ETP)

Over twenty-five years with the California Employment Development Department, the San Diego Workforce Partnership, and the Workforce Investment Board, Mr. Javier has always worked at the nexus of workforce and economic development and higher education. In his role at the Employment Training Panel, he coordinates business, union, and government representatives’ efforts as they provide funding to help the region’s employers train and upskill their employees.

Most recently, the ETP awarded $8 million to fund 28 contracts that will train 6300 workers, 100 of whom are e ployed in the hard-hit manufacturing industry.



Dr. Erica Jacquez

Executive Director of External and Government Affairs at Verizon

An accomplished government relations expert, Dr. Jacquez spent 20+ years assisting governments, non-profits, and corporations to develop creative solutions to pressing healthcare, education, energy, and environmental concerns (among many, many others).

As the Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement Liaison at the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, her in-depth government knowledge and exceptional communication skills ensured the accuracy and integrity of President Barack Obama’s Statements of Administrative policies.


Clayton Pryor

Director of Workforce Development, Advocate Aurora Health (AAH)

Coming from a hospitality and HR background, Mr. Pryor brings 12+ years of workforce development leadership to his current role at AAH. Covering all aspects of workforce program design, development, and implementation, he is well-practiced in turning eager learners into confident, competent professionals.

Since 2015, Mr. Pryor has been leading Aurora Health’s efforts to develop pipelines of middle-skills candidates to fill that demand for the Healthcare company’s needs. He oversees Aurora’s college and university partnerships and its internships and educational assistance programs.


Donald Bradburn

Director of Workforce Planning and Development, Kaiser Permanente

An HR professional for many years, Mr. Bradburn built his leadership capacities in workforce development over many years in civic government, directing the management and development of HR resources for the County of San Diego, City of Indio, and the County of Riverside, most recently as its Executive Director of Administration. As a U.S. Army veteran, he’s also well versed in managing complex and diverse populations, and his multi-linguistic skills enhance his communication abilities across multiple KP communities.

This is Mr. Bradburn’s second year bringing his wealth of knowledge to PCC’s FoW Conference.


Policy Shapers

Tamar Jacoby

CEO – Opportunity America

Opportunity America, a Washington D.C. think tank, focuses on restoring economic mobility opportunities to millions of poor and working Americans. Its work influences policy at the highest levels, and its perspective on the value of the nation’s community colleges resonates across the country.

Ms. Jacoby’s insights and comments are honed by years of journalism excellence, as Justice Editor at Newsweek, a featured writer for many of America’s premier newspapers, and as a highly respected author.


Dr. Darlene Miller

Executive Director, National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE)

Her long career with innovative economic and workforce development programs in community colleges makes Dr. Miller the perfect leader for this group. The NCWE offers resources and support to help community colleges enhance their local economies by improving their student’s opportunities for economic success.

In her leadership role at the NCWE, Dr. Miller contributes to and advises several national initiatives, including serving as Lead Faculty for the agency’s New Workforce Professionals Academy, and the Ford and Annie E. Casey Foundations Programs’ “Building Community Partnerships to Serve Immigrant Workers” (BCPIW) initiative, among many, many others.


Dr. D’Artagnan Scorza

Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI)

Dr. Scorza brought the full scope of his extensive education back home to improve the future of the youth growing up in his childhood community of Inglewood, California. Beginning with his Black Male Youth Academy, which aimed critical literacy services at African American males to enhance their academic advancement, he expanded his efforts to establish Veteran’s services at UC Campuses, and secure $90 million to support Inglewood school construction projects.

As its founder, Dr. Scorza’s SJLI uses education to empower communities of color to create thriving economies in safe neighborhoods and change the systems that present only barriers. He launched the agency to ensure all its constituents have the resources they need to achieve their goals, partnering with food distributors, neighborhood associations, and schools to open doors and opportunities.


Our Closing Keynote Speaker

Sheneui Weber

Vice-Chancellor of Workforce and Economic Development at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO)

Working in the education and training sectors for more than 25 years, Ms. Weber brings needed leadership skills to assist the CCCCO’s 19 colleges in serving their 2.1 million students. Her career focus is on developing entrepreneurial growth, and she’s launched several multi-million dollar projects across the Southern California region.

Ms. Weber provides leadership and guidance to numerous schools, industries, and businesses on workforce and economic development strategies, best practices, and operations. She’s also served as Director for the Software Engineering Forum for Training (SEFT), training software engineers of major aerospace companies, and for the On-Site Implementation team for the Southwestern Division of Adecco Group North America, a Global Fortune 500 company.


Pasadena City College is honored to facilitate for its constituents – students, faculty, business partners, and industrial community – the insights flowing from the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience embodied in this amazing cadre of speakers. Thank you, Panelists, keynotes, and sponsors, for sharing with us, and thanks to our audience for joining us in this critically important conversation.


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