Office of the Future of Work Team

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Joe Barela

Executive Director, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

In December 2018, Governor Polis appointed Joe Barela as the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Joe brings more than 25 years of experience in workforce issues to CDLE and is seen as a local and national leader in the field. Joe is passionate about creating more opportunities for better career pathways for working Americans, and brings that passion and leadership to his role at CDLE.

In 2015, Joe served at the U.S. Department of Labor as a Senior Advisor; he helped coordinate the USDOL’s implementation of the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) at state and local levels. In his current role as the Executive Director of CDLE, Joe serves on the Business Experiential and Learning Commission, the Education Leadership Council, and the Colorado Workforce Development Council. He also serves on the board for the Center for Work Education and Employment, and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies while also chairing their Labor Market Information Committee.

 

Katherine Keegan, MSSW

Director, Office of the Future of Work

Katherine began her career in Boston with Catholic Charities providing resettlement services to newly arrived refugees. This work led her to pursue a master’s of science in social work at The University of Texas at Austin where she focused her studies on systems change, program development, and coalition building. Katherine honed her leadership abilities by managing statewide AmeriCorps VISTA and State programs in Texas. After returning to her home state, Colorado, Katherine worked as a Senior Manager of Coaching Initiatives with Skillful. There she oversaw the Skillful Coaching Initiative in Colorado and Indiana, and developed pilot projects to increase access to coaching services for target populations. In August 2019, she joined the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment as the Director of the Office of the Future of Work.

 

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Melissa English, MS

Apprenticeship Specialist Supervisor

Melissa started her career in workforce development at the Larimer County Workforce Center as a Business Services Consultant shortly after graduating from college and moving to Colorado from the east coast. While at the Workforce Center, Melissa returned to school to complete her Master’s degree in Human Resources Management so she could better understand the needs of the businesses she worked with daily and could truly think like an employer, a perspective she still takes into every employer conversation today. After moving to Denver, Melissa made a career transition into higher education and began working as an Experiential Learning Coordinator at Red Rocks Community College, helping students gain hands-on experience to complement what they were learning in the classroom. While at Red Rocks Community College, Melissa helped develop the first cybersecurity registered apprenticeship program in Colorado and found a passion for helping organizations develop high-quality registered apprenticeship programs that expand apprenticeship opportunities to individuals throughout Colorado. Melissa brings over 15 years of registered apprenticeship, higher education, and workforce development experience to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and the Office of the Future of Work.

 

Denise Miller, Ed.D

State Apprenticeship Expansion Manager

After 15 years in direct service and program leadership, Denise earned a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Policy from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. Her professional experience and education inform her work as the State Apprenticeship Expansion Manager at the CDLE, leading efforts in apprenticeship policy, infrastructure and partner alignment.

During her tenure at CDLE, Denise has secured over $12M in federal investment in the state’s apprenticeship expansion efforts. Denise’s team worked with the Colorado Urban Workforce Alliance to launch the “Apprenticeship Hub,” a nationally recognized model for aligning apprenticeship service delivery through the public workforce system. Denise serves on the the Office of the Future of Work leadership team as Colorado undergoes the transition from an Office of Apprenticeship to a State Apprenticeship Agency as part of an equitable economic recovery strategy.

 

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Helen Carpenter

Apprenticeship Special Projects Coordinator

Helen began her career in the nonprofit sector, working with large nonprofit organizations in Denver providing data and programmatic support to development efforts. Since 2019, Helen has been working with CDLE on workforce development programs, grants administration, and strategic planning for expanding apprenticeship programs across Colorado. In her most recent role as Apprenticeship State Expansion Grants Coordinator, Helen manages all aspects of the federal Apprenticeship State Expansion grant, cultivates and facilitates strategic partnerships with various local, state, and federal stakeholders, and supports grantees in meeting grant goals.

 

Bryn Nelson

IDEA Grant Coordinator

Bryn began her career in elementary education, working as both a teaching fellow and third-grade teacher for Denver Public Schools and San Antonio Independent School District. She transitioned from education to workforce development as a career-focused case manager for Denver Housing Authority. In 2018, Bryn earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado Denver. Bryn brings over eight years’ experience in workforce development, grant administration, case management, strategy development, and partnership creation to CDLE's Office of the Future of Work.

 

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David Beck

Apprenticeship Specialist Apprentice

Dave has been chosen to be the Apprenticeship Specialist Apprentice in CDLE's Office of the Future of Work. As an apprentice, Dave will be developing the skills and hands on experience necessary to become an Apprenticeship Specialist with a focus on creating and expanding high quality registered apprenticeship programs with the Colorado Department of Corrections. He brings over ten years of experience working in the service and hospitality industry and an excitement to advance and grow registered apprenticeships which will provide pathways to thriving careers for justice-involved individuals as well as opportunities for all Coloradans.

 

Brad Roller

Quality Assurance Coordinator

Brad has diverse experience in public affairs, which encompasses policy analysis, grant management, and government relations. Most recently, before joining the Office of Future of Work, Brad served as a regional liaison with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment's (CDLE) Workforce Development Programs office functioning as a team lead for program monitoring and technical assistance activities for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA) programs and several discretionary grants. Prior to joining CDLE, Brad was a senior analyst at Maher & Maher (an affiliate of the American Institutes for Research), where he assisted the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration provide technical assistance to state agencies expanding apprenticeship, and trained local workforce development professionals in the use of the Human-Centered Design. He began his work in workforce development as a government relations associate for the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association, where he worked as a liaison between the local workforce development system and state and federal agencies. He has a Master of Public Administration from Penn State University and a BA degree in Anthropology from Dickinson College.

 

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Charlene Wisher-Howard

Program Assistant II

Charlene continues her career in executive level administrative support; working for DuPont, Cap Gemini/Ernst & Young, ReMax International, Sage Hospitality and currently for the past 14 years with the State of Colorado. In 1998, Charlene earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix-Colorado campus.  Charlene brings over 30 years’ experience in Administration to CDLE's Office of the Future of Work.

 

Jessica Mathis

Apprenticeship Specialist

Jessica is a Colorado Native.  She moved from Southern Colorado to Northern Colorado to attend the University of Northern Colorado where she obtained her Bachelors in Exercise Science with a minor in Psychology and went on to achieve a Master’s Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. Jessica began her career as a Rehabilitation Counselor at North Range Behavioral Health in Greeley Colorado and joined the state as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in 2016. She brings over 8 years of experience helping build relationships between employers and job seekers and excitement to expand registered apprenticeship opportunities. She is passionate about providing services to Coloradans to ensure a diverse, inclusive, and stable workforce for generations to come.

 

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Londell Jackson, M.Ed.

DEIA Specialist

Throughout his career, Londell has supported organizations which have worked to uplift Denver's underserved and marginalized communities as well as those organizations which support Colorado's nonprofit sector do what they do better.  Additionally, he has worked for private foundations and nonprofit organizations which have had a national reach to support LGBTQ+ rights, workforce development priorities, and our nation's personal financial education sector. Over the years, Londell has lent his time and talents to numerous groups and organizations such as local workforce development boards, citywide commissions, foundation boards, educational committees, national affinity group committees, and several more.  

Londell earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver in Nonprofit Administration in Urban Communities and went on to complete a Master of Education degree from Regis University with a specialization in Adult Learning, Training, and Development.  These educational attainments have allowed Londell to assist nonprofit professionals and their customers and clients achieve their highest goals, objectives and outcomes.

Londell is proud to be a 4th generation Denver native as well as a 6th generation Colorado Territory native who has over 25 years of combined professional, volunteer, and educational experience from which he draws upon while in his role as Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA) Specialist for CDLE’s Office of Future of Work. 

Katie Reidy Buelter

Communications Specialist

Katie began her career providing resources and educational programming to underserved communities in the nonprofit sector.  She comes to the Office for Future of Work after spending four years providing support and grants management to DPS's Office for Victims Programs.  Katie attended the University of Denver where she obtained her bachelor's degree in International Studies and Spanish with a minor in Art History.  During that time, she lived abroad in Quito, Ecuador studying social services and working with survivors of domestic violence.  She looks forward to creating engaging, accessible content and finding new efficiencies for the Apprenticeship program.