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Innovations in Workforce Development

A CEDAS Academy Webinar

11:00 AM – 12:00 pm



In the Spanish world, "tapas " are small, flavorful dishes eaten with others to encourage conversation and sharing. The "tapas" webinar series takes a broad look at foundational economic development strategies and serves up several community based examples in a "small plate" format. This means you'll hear a summary of what’s worked, and what hasn't and pickup ideas to try out in your community straight from other leaders and local professionals.

CEDAS Academy-ED Strategy Series is a web-based educational learning series developed by UConn Extension in collaboration with the Connecticut Economic Development Association and the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.

Join us for this series to:

  • Learn about timely, relevant economic development issues and strategies; 
  • Get a taste of best practices and community successes from other practitioners and community leaders; and
  • Access local resources relevant to your community.



Innovations in Workforce Development

February 16, 2017
11:00 am to 12:00 pm


Workforce development is one of the foundations of successful local and regional economic development strategies.   Local, new and emerging businesses need a well-trained and accessible labor force. In light of recent industry location decisions in the state, more than ever, communities are recognizing the importance of talent in keeping and attracting business in a global economy.  Attend this webinar to learn more about the key factors affecting Connecticut’s workforce and examples of how communities are innovating to build on existing assets.

Attend this webinar to learn:

  • What’s happening in Connecticut’s labor market
  • Collaborative and innovative strategies for workforce development 
  • How workforce development can grow collaboration and support businesses in your region





  • Overview of the Workforce in Connecticut - Patrick Flaherty, Assistant Director of Research, Connecticut Department of Labor Office of Research and Information Connecticut Department of Labor
  • Eastern Connecticut Workforce Pipeline Mark Hill Chief Operating Officer Eastern CT Workforce Investment Board, Inc.
  • Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises, Inc Bridgeport  Adrienne Farrar Houel, President & CEO The Green Team;  Park City Green; Next Chapter Books




This is a free webinar co-sponsored by the Connecticut Economic Development Association and UConn as part of the "CEDAS Academy" Economic Strategy Series..  The audience will be economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, planners, community development professionals, and community leaders.





Mark Hill

Mark is the COO of the Eastern CT Workforce Investment Board (EWIB). EWIB is the oversight body recognized under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) for the coordination of workforce development services in the 41-town Eastern CT region.

Mark has a 25+ year record of leadership in both the private sector and workforce development policy. His private sector experience includes Connecticut companies like General Dynamics’ Electric Boat, Pfizer and Aetna, where he held several executive leadership roles during that tenure. In 2014, Mark joined EWIB, working with organizational team members to strategize and win several competitively-bid grants on behalf of the region’s employers and jobseekers. The most recent success was a Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. EWIB and other local workforce stakeholders teamed with the CT Department of Labor to be named one of only six recipients nationwide to receive the WIF grant. The $6M award is being utilized for the design, development, and implementation of an EWIB-led Eastern CT Manufacturing Pipeline Training Initiative, a partnership with the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics, and the 58 companies in the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA) for which EWIB serves as the corporate headquarters. Although still in its infancy, the award-winning program has garnered much attention at the local, state, and federal level for its innovative, employer-driven features.


Patrick J. Flaherty

Patrick is Assistant Director of Research and Information at the Connecticut Department of Labor. Prior to his promotion to Assistant Director he was an economist in the Office of Research where his responsibilities included occupational projections and long-term industry projections. He received his Bachelors Degree in Social Studies from Harvard University and his Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Connecticut. Patrick’s research interests focus on displaced workers and human capital development. He has authored several manuscripts for the Office of Research, has given many talks and presentations to business and jobseeker groups.

Among his experiences, Patrick worked for fourteen years for Fleet Financial Group and its predecessor companies where he was Vice President and Senior Economist, and served 10 years as a State Representative in the Connecticut General Assembly.


Adrienne Farrar Houël

Adrienne Farrar Houël is President and CEO of Greater Bridgeport Community Enterprises, Inc. (GBCE), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community development corporation founded in 2006. GBCE, with its management team, develops green nonprofit enterprises to create jobs for disadvantaged area residents; assists small and minority businesses to develop green products and programs; researches trends in green business development; has trained and placed low and moderate- income residents in green jobs; and advocates for more green jobs in the Bridgeport area and throughout the State of Connecticut.  

Ms. Houël is a Bridgeport area native with more than 25 years of international executive experience in France, Russia and Ireland in real estate development, construction and marketing.  In 2002 she returned to the U.S. and initiated a career in community economic development.  In her most recent capacities, Ms. Houël has designed, funded and operated workforce development training programs; worked on curriculum design and delivery of business development courses for U.S. HUD-financed Resident Owned Businesses for CT housing authorities; conducted studies concerning affordable housing as well as funded and developed affordable housing projects; and created GBCE and three green, nonprofit enterprises under its umbrella. While working as Research and Development Director for ABCD, Inc. Ms. Houël worked with the Bridgeport Mayor’s team to develop targets for the Office of Minority Business Development shaped by our first “disparity study”.  From this work, the Minority Business Association – Center for Joint Ventures, a Bridgeport based organization, was also created.

GBCE uses its experience and expertise to create economic opportunity by developing “triple bottom line” businesses featuring: environmental sustainability; social good by training and hiring disadvantaged, low-income unemployed residents enabling them to become economically self-sufficient; and economic and community development for distressed urban neighborhoods. The first, Green Team contracting enterprise, was developed in 2009 with expertise in the areas of weatherization/energy conservation, environmental remediation, and deconstruction/reuse/recycling.  In June 2012, GBCE opened Park City Green, a mattress deconstruction/materials recycling enterprise; and in July 2013, Next Chapter Books was created to recycle and reuse old books.  

Ms. Houël has participated in the City of Bridgeport’s BGreen 2020 Initiative since its inception in 2008.  She is immediate past Chair of the City of Bridgeport’s Energy Improvement District and, in 2015, served as Chair to the Community Advisory Committee negotiating a community benefits agreement with the owner of the Bridgeport Harbor Coal plant.

Since 2003, Ms. Houël has been a trustee of the CT Trust for Historic Preservation and has served as Secretary, Vice Chair and member of the Legislative Policy Committee. Also in the interest of preserving and developing an important African-American historic site in Bridgeport, Ms. Houël served on the founding board of the Mary and Eliza Freeman Foundation for History and Community, and through the Green Team, realized in 2012 the initial phases of deconstructing non-historic additions to the original houses and shoring up the structures for future re-development.

For the State of CT, Ms. Houël was Co-Chair of the 2013 Governor’s Task Force on Modernizing Recycling in Connecticut and, at the same time, served on the Green Jobs Committee, a joint committee of CT’s Department of Labor and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  Most recently in 2016, she was appointed to serve on Connecticut’s Energy Efficiency Board by Deputy Commissioner Katie Dykes of Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and was invited to serve a second term on the New and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee of the US Department of Agriculture representing the interests of non-profit organizations promoting urban agriculture and its role in economic development.  

Ms. Farrar Houël earned her MBA at Harvard Business School and resides in Bridgeport, Connecticut with her family.   

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