Connecting and Convening: Making an Impact Together

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Friday, Sept. 15, 2023

8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
College of Southern Maryland, La Plata Campus
Center for Business and Industry (BI Building), Lot #6

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The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) is the connector and convener of community stakeholders in this important discussion on utilizing a collective impact model and shared metrics to create an ecosystem for vibrant communities that fosters equitable economic growth in the Southern Maryland region. This community forum will help inform CSM’s 2024-2029 strategic plan.


Schedule at a Glance

8:30 – 9 a.m. 
BI Building Lobby 
Check-in and Continental Breakfast 
9 – 9:30 a.m. 
BI Building, Room 113 
Welcome and Opening Remarks Access, Momentum, and Mobility 
9:30 – 10:30 a.m. 
BI Building, Room 113 
Keynote Address Social and Economic Mobility of Southern Maryland 
10:30 - 10:45 a.m.  Break 
10:45 a.m. - 12 p.m. 
BI Building, Room 113 
Virtual Panel Discussion Hidden Economic Engines 
12 - 12:45 p.m. 
BI Building, Room 113 
12:45 - 1 p.m.  Transition to Breakout Sessions 
1 - 2 p.m. 
BI Building, Rooms 101, 103, 104 
Breakout Sessions 
2 - 2:15 p.m.  Break 
2:15 - 2:45 p.m. 
BI Building, Room 113 
Report Out 
2:45 - 3 p.m.  Closing Remarks 





Check-In and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9 a.m.
BI Building Lobby 


Welcome and Opening Remarks:

Access, Momentum, and Mobility

9 - 9:30 a.m.,
BI Building, Room 113

Dr. Yolanda Wilson, President, College of Southern Maryland
Susan Mayer, Chief Learning Officer, Achieving the Dream

Completing a degree or certification is just one milestone along an individual’s journey toward success. Providing access to a quality education and a supportive environment to help students achieve their aspirations is only the beginning. The ultimate goal is to empower individuals to build a better life for themselves. This meaningful and far-reaching undertaking goes beyond formal training and will require partnerships that span institutions and industries throughout our region. We will explore a collective impact model as a framework to discuss economic mobility in the Southern Maryland region.

Dr. Wilson headshotDr. Yolanda Wilson became the sixth president of CSM in January of 2023. She also currently serves on the Aspen Institute Alumni Advisory Council and is the Region 2 director for the American Association for Women in Community Colleges. She is a peer evaluator for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and is a leadership coach for Achieving the Dream. On June 30, 2023, she was appointed to the American Association of Community Colleges Commission on College Readiness for a threeyear term. She is also on the USM at Southern Maryland Board of Advisors, the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Board, the Maryland Association of Community Colleges Presidents' Council and Board of Directors, the Transform Mid-Atlantic Board’s Presidents’ Council, and the Southern Maryland Workforce Development Board. She is participating in Leadership Southern Maryland's Executive Program class of '24.Dr. Wilson became the sixth president of CSM in January of 2023.

To learn more about Dr. Wilson, view her biography here.

Susan Mayer headshotSusan Mayer, chief learning officer at Achieving the Dream, leads ATD’s leadership and pathways coaching efforts, delivers a range of services to support colleges to improve student and institutional outcomes, supports the development of new strategies and services to meet college and student needs, and works collaboratively with the senior leadership team to integrate cross-program strategies and learning. She is also a leadership coach for ATD colleges in multiple states, and has broad experience in strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, finance, and operations across a range of industries.


Keynote Address:
Social and Economic Mobility of Southern Maryland

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
BI Building, Room 113

The College of Southern Maryland—in collaboration with community partners—can improve the upward mobility of its local residents. Community colleges were established to improve the social and economic mobility of their regions and their role in a community’s vibrancy has never been more relevant. In this address, disaggregated data on social and economic mobility within the Southern Maryland region (Calvert, St. Mary’s, and Charles counties) will be presented and explored. Together, we can affect change. A Q&A will follow his presentation.

Harry Holzer headshotProfessor of Public Policy at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy

Former chief economist for the U.S. Department of Labor

Harry Holzer is a nonresident senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution and the LaFarge SJ Professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown. He previously served as chief economist for the U.S. Department of Labor and professor of economics at Michigan State University. Over most of his career, Professor Holzer’s research has focused primarily on the low-wage labor market, and particularly the problems of minority workers in urban areas. In recent years he has worked on the quality of jobs as well as workers in the labor market, and on the links between higher education (especially community colleges) and the labor market for disadvantaged students. Holzer provided the foreword to the book “America’s Hidden Economic Engines: How Community Colleges Can Drive Shared Prosperity.” He received his B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

A Virtual Panel Discussion: Hidden Economic Engines

Moderator: Rachel Lipson

10:45 a.m. - 12 p.m.
BI Building, Room 113 

Hear from community college leaders who have fostered successful collaborations with community partners to create economic mobility for their students and improve the local economy. Panelists have been featured in the book “America’s Hidden Economic Engines: How Community Colleges Can Drive Shared Prosperity.”

Rachel Lipson headshotCo-editor of “America’s Hidden Economic Engines: How Community Colleges Can Drive Shared Prosperity”

Founding director of the Project on Workforce at Harvard University’s Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy

Rachel Lipson is a senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce in the CHIPS program office. She has previously worked on small business growth and effective governance at the World Bank, on community colleges for the state of California, on workforce development at JPMorgan Chase, and in training and organizing on President Obama’s re-election campaign. Lipson is an alum of Harvard College and the joint MBA/MPP program with Harvard Business School and Kennedy School of Government.

chad knights headshotVice President, Information and Engineering Technologies and College Computing,
Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)

Dr. Chad Knights provides leadership and oversight for NOVA’s Information and Engineering Technologies (IET) academic division as well as NOVA’s college-wide IT infrastructure and instructional technologies (College Computing). In his academic role with IET, Dr. Knights leads one of the largest technology programs in the nation. His primary task is to align industry, partner, and community needs to the creation of cutting-edge academic programs, which includes data center operations, mechatronics, data intelligence, cloud computing technology, and cybersecurity. He also provides leadership and guidance for the college’s STEM outreach program, NOVA SySTEMic, a team that has created a regional framework to facilitate partnerships between educators and industry in support of sustainable STEM workforce pathways from K-12 to career.

Dr. Knights is active on both state and national boards where he serves as a member of the Executive Council of the Virginia Microelectronics Consortium (VMEC) and as a newly appointed member of the AACC Commission on Economic and Workforce Development. Through his work with VMEC, Dr. Knights established NOVA as a founding member of the recently launched Virginia Alliance for Semiconductor Technology program. 

His work at NOVA and across Virginia was essential in securing a place for community colleges in Virginia’s Tech Talent Investment Program and in securing the largest appropriation of federally directed spending ($5.1M) awarded to a community college in 2021, in support of NOVA’s Data Center Operations program. 

Chad originally hails from Western NY where he obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University at Buffalo. He completed post-docs at Oregon Health & Science University, George Washington University and Georgetown before joining NOVA in 2007 as a full-time biology faculty member

steven partridge headshotVice President of Strategy, Research and Workforce Innovation
Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)

Steve Partridge is vice president of Strategy, Research and Workforce Innovation at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). In his role he leads the NOVA’s corporate and workforce engagement, marketing and communication team, career services, grant development, event services and institutional research.

Since joining NOVA in 2016, Partridge has led collaboration between the College and community—across business, government, education and nonprofit organizations—to enhance NOVA’s position as a critical partner. Under Partridge’s leadership, the Workforce division has implemented labor market intelligence capabilities, led the Tech Talent Pipeline Initiative, launched a first-of-its-kind apprenticeship program with employers including Amazon Web Services, and built employer relationships to address regional talent demands.

Partridge has testified before Congress and the U.S. Senate regarding the national skills gap and regularly consults with Congressional and Administration staff on workforce issues.

Prior to joining NOVA, Partridge served as president & CEO of Charlotte Works, the workforce development board for Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, N.C. He also held executive positions at the Charlotte (N.C.) Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Department of Commerce.

He holds a master's degree in public administration from Arizona State University and a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Arizona. He and his wife, Susanne, are the proud parents of three boys.

Ian Roark headshotVice Chancellor of Workforce Development & Innovation, Pima Community College (Arizona)

Dr. Ian Roark is dedicated to collective impact partnerships, community college innovation, the future of work, early college programs, and business and industry engagement, with an emphasis on learner access, success, and upward mobility. Dr. Roark serves on a number of boards and committees, and was named to the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence for 2019-2020, received the Workforce Development Practitioner of the Year Award from the Arizona Association for Economic Development in 2019, named Steering Committee Lead for Arizona’s Reskilling & Recovery Network Team in 2020, and joined the New America New Models for Career Preparation Advisory Committee in 2021.

Ian has been married for 22 years to his awesome wife, who is an exemplary public school teacher, and they have two teenage children.  Together, they enjoy road trips, watching movies, and backyard cookouts. Ian’s favorite activities include hiking, camping, and writing and playing music.

Dr. Marisa Vernon-White headshotAchieving the Dream Coach

Vice President, Enrollment Management and Student Services, Lorain County Community College (Ohio)

Dr. Marisa Vernon-White has spent the majority of her professional career leading student affairs functions and holistic service redesign in community colleges in Ohio, including 3 ATD Leader Colleges: Columbus State Community College, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), and currently at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, OH.

Dr. Vernon-White began her career with six years of experience in advising and first-year program development at the largest regional campus of Kent State University (Stark Campus), where she fell in love with the mission of open-door colleges and regional campuses. She uses her experience and passion for writing, action and qualitative research, developing others, and building cross-functional teams as guides to lead other institutions in transformation.


Ph.D. (Higher Education Leadership) | Colorado State University  M.Ed. (Higher Education Administration and Student Personnel) | Kent State University  B.A. | Kent State University  


12 - 12:45 p.m.
BI Building, Room 113

Engage in discussions with colleagues and fellow participants while enjoying your lunch.


Breakout Sessions

1 - 2 p.m.
BI Building, Rooms 101, 103, 104

A breakout session will bring participants together—by county—to discuss possible solutions to issues raised in earlier sessions. What strategic partnerships/collaborations can we strengthen and further develop to consider for our strategic planning? Using the Access, Momentum and Mobility framework, what opportunities are there for us to collectively, and collaboratively, explore? Discussions will be facilitated and results will be reported to the larger group.


2 - 2:15 p.m.

Report Out

2:15 - 2:45 p.m.
BI Building, Room 113

After the breakout sessions, each group will be given 10 minutes to share salient points gleaned from their discussions with the larger group.

Closing Remarks

2:45 - 3 p.m. 



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