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HCC to Host March 17 Conference for Workforce Professionals

HOLYOKE — Workforce professionals from all over the Northeast will be on the Holyoke Community College campus on Friday, March 17, for the 12th New England Workforce Network Conference.

The New England Workforce Network – NEWN – is a collaborative of workforce professionals from all over New England. The theme of this year’s conference is “Reimagining the Workforce,” which reflects the turbulent times of adjusting to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. both in-person at the HCC Kittredge Center for Business and Workfore Development and virtually over Zoom.

“Since 2001, the New England Workforce Network has offered a conference every 18 months for workforce professionals from colleges, businesses, and community-based organizations across New England,” said Mary Breeding, consultant to the NEWN Planning Group. “Most of our participants come from New England states, but we also get people from New York and Pennsylvania. We had to switch to a fully virtual conference in 2021 due to COVID and had 175 participants. We are very excited to be able to offer both a live and virtual option for our 12th conference this year.”

The conference keynote speaker is Jack Warner, senior advisor for the Education Strategy Group. Conference introductions will be offered by Dianne Palter Gill, dean of Corporate & Professional Education at North Shore Community College; HCC president Christina Royal; and  Jeffrey Hayden, HCC vice president of Business & Community Services.

“The New England Workforce Network conference provides us with the opportunity to learn from best practices in the region,” said Hayden. “At the same time, inspiration happens in these discussions and therefore new innovations and collaborations evolve.”


Conference workshop sessions:

What It Takes to Be MASS Competitive; Employer-School Partnerships: Investing in A Stronger Workforce; Professional Learning Communities: Aligning K-12, Community College, and Workforce Partners to Ensure Student Success; Meeting the Moment: Opportunities to Achieve an Inclusive Economic Recovery in New England; Building on Students’ Strengths to Chart a Personalized Path to Career Advancement for Immigrants; Jobs in Digital Healthcare: Engaging, Upskilling, Reskilling, and Advocating for Underrepresented and Underserved Demographics; Learning Without Boundaries – Collaborating with Employers through Hybrid Apprenticeship Programs; Growing Corporate Partnerships for You and Your Students Through Short-Term Tech Credentials; Thriving Teams: Preventing Burnout in the Workplace; Noncredit to Credit Alignment: Results of National Community of Practice; A “How To” On Staying Effective and Productive in Online Settings; Building the Next Generation of Supply Chain Automation and Industry 4.0 Technicians.

“We are pleased to have 17 organizations sponsoring this year’s NEWN Conference including the National Association for Workforce Development Professionals, Career Step, EnGen, RedHat, and Upright Education, and expect well over 100 workforce development professionals to attend from colleges, businesses, and community-based organizations throughout New England,” said Breeding.

The conference cost is $89 if registered by Feb. 17 and $109 thereafter. For more details and to register, please go to:


About NEWN: NEWN was conceived in 2001 in response to the desire among workforce development providers to share best practices and network in a larger context that goes beyond state boundaries. Since 2002, NEWN has held 11 conferences that focused on a range of topics that resonate among professionals who are involved in workforce development within community colleges, workforce development boards, economic development agencies and other settings.


About keynote speaker Jack Warner: Jack Warner joined Education Strategy Group in July 2015 as a senior advisor helping advance ESG’s work with higher education systems and institutions. Prior to joining ESG, he served as executive director and chief executive officer of the South Dakota Board of Regents, overseeing six public universities in South Dakota. Prior to his service in South Dakota, he was commissioner of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education from 2002-2009, responsible for governance and policy oversight of Rhode Island’s public system of higher education. Warner also spent nearly five years as vice chancellor of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and 17 years as dean of Student Affairs at Bristol Community College in Fall River. He holds degrees in education administration from Boston College (Ed.D.), student affairs administration from Springfield College (M.Ed), and ssychology from the University of Vermont (B.A).