2020 Conference


Conference Registration is now CLOSED.  If you’re on the waitlist, please stay tuned and we will continue to notify you as soon as spots become available.

Conference Location:

Elgin Community College
Building E – University & Business Center
1700 Spartan Dr.
Elgin, IL 60123


While the conference rate is no longer available, if you need to make hotel reservations, you can contact the Holiday Inn at mishal@hichicagonw.com or  1-847-488-9000.



Dr. Kyle Hartung

Associate Vice President, Jobs for the Future
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Dr. Amy Loyd

Vice President, Jobs for the Future
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Dr. Shawn Bergman

Co-Founder and Director of Research, Vela Institute
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Dr. Marcus Brown

Senior Director for Academic Affairs, Illinois Community College Board
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Lisa Castillo Richmond

Managing Director, Partnership for College Completion
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Jahmal Cole

Founder and CEO, My Block My Hood My City
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Nancy Coleman

Executive Director, Alignment Collaborative for Education
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Juan Jose Gonzalez

Pathways Director, EdSystems Center at NIU
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Danielle Hauser

Director of Instructional Improvement, District 211
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Kalene Heaton

Professional Development Specialist, Illinois Student Assistance Commission
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Dana Horstein

Program Manager, Chicago College and Career Advising Credential
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Julie Koenke

Director of District and Regional Support, ConnectED
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Evan Krauss

Director, East Side Aligned
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Kim Kuchenbrod

Workforce Development Consultant, Vermilion Advantage
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Dr. Matt Liberatore

Director of Professional Learning and Student Services, Township High School District 214
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Sam Nelson

Director of Capacity Management, Illinois Student Assistance Commission
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Edith Njuguna

Director of Programs and Policy Implementation, EdSystems Center at NIU
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Heather Penczak

Policy and Program Manager, EdSystems Center at NIU
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Mary Perkins

Dean for College Transitions and Secondary Partnerships, Elgin Community College
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Amber Peters

Executive Director, Elgin Partnership for Early Learning
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Charlie Rosemond

Data and Outcomes Manager, EdSystems Center at NIU
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Emily Rusca

Director of State Policy & Strategy, EdSystems Center at NIU
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Robin Steans

President, Advance Illinois
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Linda Thorson

CTE Teacher, Rolling Meadows High School
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• State Policy Updates from the Field including Postsecondary and Career Expectations, Transitional Instruction, Dual Credit, and College and Career Pathway Endorsements
• Tools to Support Postsecondary Planning
• Backbone Organizations and Governance in Collective Impact
• Lessons Learned from Collaborative Efforts in Early Childhood Education
• Eliminating Equity Gaps on the Road to 60% by 2025
• Evidence Based Practices for Improving Individual and Organizational Decision Making
• Value-driven Stakeholder Engagement & Coalition Building
• Using Data to Tell Stories and Inform Decisions
• Asset Framing in Action
• Tools and Tactics for Implementing High-Quality Work-Based Learning
• How Communities Are Addressing the Teacher Shortage Issue


Modeled after the popular TED talks, the conference will include Flash Talks. These talks are dynamic 15-minute sessions that are designed to highlight key issues, best practices, and thought-provoking ideas.  This year’s topics include:

• Illinois and the Future of Work
• The Illinois State Perkins Plan




Check out our Previous Conferences & Materials