A Quote By Omar Bradley - "Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship."


America's Job Link Alliance (AJLA) is excited to return to beautiful Boston for our 29th Annual AJLA Conference. Fiscal year 2016 was an impactful one for Washington D.C., for workforce development, and for AJLA. As we look to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, we’ve chosen General Omar Bradley’s words to guide this year’s conference: “Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.” General Bradley’s quote inspires us (and we hope you) to work together and navigate by the stars—aiming always for better, smarter, and safer applications, and a consortium united by cooperation and innovation. We look forward to seeing you in Boston!

Christine Bohannon, Director, AJLA–TS




AJLA 29th Annual Conference Agenda


1:00   –   1:10   Welcome from the Chair, Approve Minutes from Spring Meeting – Jay Bassett, AJLA Chair
1:10   –   1:30   AJLA–TS Administrative Update – Christine Bohannon, Director, AJLA–TS
Receive an update on additional security measures and process changes; review the AJLA–TS annual report, budget, and 2018 work plan (goals).
1:30   –   2:45   AJL Sub-Committee Meeting – Stacey Laing, AJL Sub-Committee Chair
2:45   –   3:00   BREAK
3:00   –   4:00   AJL Sub-Committee Meeting – Stacey Laing, AJL Sub-Committee Chair
4:00   –   4:45   Reporting Sub-Committee Meeting – Marilyn Nicolls, Reporting Sub-Committee Chair
4:45   –   5:00   CertLink Sub-Committee Meeting – Regena Wheeler, CertLink Sub-Committee Chair
5:30 7:00   RECEPTION
Network with Steering Committee members and AJLA–TS staff at an onsite appetizer reception.


8:30   –   8:45   Lightning Session
8:45   –   9:15   Keynote Address – Timothy Martin, Director, Office of State Systems, ETA Region 1
An update on high-level ETA-related issues including the status of the budget, new leadership, direction of ETA under the new Administration, and new priorities and initiatives.
9:15   –   9:45   Massachusetts Rapid Response Program Model – Ken Messina, Rapid Response Director, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Career Services
Learn how the Massachusetts Rapid Response model enables workforce development boards, Rapid Response, and one-stop career centers to develop partnerships with businesses and increase the number of businesses served and job seekers hired.
9:45   –   10:00   BREAK
10:00   –   10:45   All the World’s a Trade: Data Trends and Program Updates on TAA – Tim Theberge, Lead Policy Analyst, Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance, USDOL/ETA
See the latest data from the TAPR on outcomes, services, and recent evaluation efforts. View the status and challenges in data integrity via the results of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Data Integrity (TAADI) process. Explore the 2016 Annual Report and learn about the ongoing transition of program reporting from the TAPR to the PIRL.
10:45   –   11:30   Ensuring Access, Opportunity, and Progress for Youth – Freddie Velez, Deputy Director, Youth Options Unlimited (YOU) Boston
Learn about this Boston initiative to increase youth employment and decrease youth recidivism.
11:30   –   1:00   LUNCH (on your own)
1:00   –   1:45   OJT, an Earn While You Learn Model – Melissa Scibelli, Manager of Workforce Development Interventions Hampden Regional Employment Board, Springfield, MA
Learn how on the job training (OJT) can reduce training time and cost, increase job satisfaction, and improve performance and product quality.
1:45   –   2:15   Employer Approvals Redesign – Lori Jones, Business Systems Analyst Manager, AJLA–TS
Preview improvements to the employer approvals workflow coming with AJL 15.1.
2:15 2:45   NASWA Legislative Update – Charlie Terrell, Project Manager, NASWA
An up-to-the-minute briefing of the major activities in Congress affecting the workforce system.
2:45 3:00   BREAK
3:00   –   4:30   AJL Sub-Committee Meeting, Cont. - States and AJLA-TS
Discuss any remaining sub-committee business.


8:30   –   9:00   AJL Common Portal – Brooke Patterson, Customer Relations Manager, AJLA–TS
Check out the single-identity sign-on portal AJLA–TS is developing to enable a closer alignment of agencies and programs with overlapping missions and clients.
9:00   –   10:00   WIOA Performance Reporting Update – Christina Eckenroth, Executive Assistant, Region 1, USDOL/ETA
Get the latest updates from USDOL/ETA and discuss performance reporting challenges, concerns, and successes from the past year.
10:00   –   10:30   Veterans’ Employment and Training Services (VETS) Update – Francheska Atchison, JVSG Program Lead, USDOL/VETS, Office of National Programs
Get the latest from USDOL/VETS.
10:30   –   10:45   BREAK
10:45   –   11:30   Putting the Customer Back into Customer Service – Stacey Thompson, Workshop Facilitator, Career Center of Lowell, MA
Learn how to design customer-first approaches to service delivery.
11:30   –   1:00   LUNCH (on your own)
1:00   –   1:20   User Documentation and Redmine Update – Joy Bancroft, Instructional Designer, AJLA–TS
Take a look at the Redmine reorganization and user guide updates.
1:20 1:45   AJL Splash Page Refresh – Brooke Patterson, Customer Relations Manager, AJLA–TS
AJL is getting a new look! Preview design options for the new AJL splash page and vote for your favorite via a live poll.
1:45   –   2:45   Policies and Procedures Forum – Led by Stacey Laing, Director, Division of Employment and Training, Delaware Department of Labor
Bring your customer flow policies and discuss how services are entered, by which program, and how the services are mapped to the PIRL.
2:45   –   3:00   BREAK
3:00   –   3:50   Data Quality and Retention: Brainstorming Session – States and AJLA–TS
Continue discussion from the Spring Meeting on AJL data quality and retention. Establish goals and action items.
3:50   –   4:00   Conference Closing Remarks – Jay Bassett, AJLA Chair
4:00   –   5:00   AJLA–TS Tech Café
Before you leave, take advantage of this opportunity to ask a question, discuss a project, or receive training on a product section or feature.



Ms. Francheska Atchison served as an active duty service member in the United States Army and graduated from Saint Leo University with a B.A. in Sociology. While obtaining her degree, Ms. Atchison worked as a Veterans’ Affairs work-study with the Virginia Employment Commission, assisting the Local Veteran Employment Representative servicing transitioning service members, veterans, and their families. Upon completion of her degree, Ms. Atchison began her federal career as a program manager for a Department of Defense Employment Readiness Program designed to assist the unique employment challenges of military spouses. Her passion to continue to serve military service members, veterans, and their families led her to her current role as Management Program Analyst for the Department of Labor, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) agency. She is the VETS’ National Office lead for the Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSG) program, which provides federal funding, through a formula grant, to 54 State Workforce Agencies (SWAs) to hire dedicated staff to provide intensive employment and training-related services to veterans and eligible persons with significant barriers to employment and to assist employers in filling their workforce needs with job-seeking veterans. Ms. Atchison has over 10 years’ experience providing employment programs and services directly to veterans, transitioning service members, and their families.


Christina Graff Eckenroth is the Executive Assistant to the Regional Administrator of the Boston Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration (ETA). Ms. Eckenroth plays a key role in supporting the operations of the regional office and the initiatives of the Regional Administrator. Ms. Eckenroth has a long tenure in performance and accountability. She was a drafter of the WIOA final rule and a key member in developing policy guidance and technical assistance. She led the performance and accountability topic track at the 2017 WIOA Convenings held in Dallas, San Diego, and Alexandria. Prior to assuming her current regional role, Ms. Eckenroth headed the performance reporting team in the Division of Financial Management and Administrative Services. Ms. Eckenroth also served as a Federal Project Officer overseeing WIOA Title I and Wagner-Peyser grants for the Division of Workforce Investment. Ms. Eckenroth joined ETA as a Management and Program Analyst in October 2006. She served as a member of the performance unit responsible for analyzing and tracking performance across the Employment Services programs for the Boston Region. Ms. Eckenroth has a wide range of experience in program management, facilitation, community outreach, and intergovernmental relations. Ms. Eckenroth holds a B.A. in Political Science from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Villanova University.


Tim Martin is the Director of the Office of State Systems in the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration's (ETA) Boston Regional Office. Prior to becoming the Director, Tim worked on a number of workforce development programs, including: unemployment insurance, job training, Welfare-to-Work, and ETA-funded competitive grants. Prior to joining ETA, Tim worked as an attorney in Boston for the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training on youth-related programs, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the South Pacific. Tim received his undergraduate degree from the University of Rhode Island and law degree from Suffolk University Law School.


Ken has 28 years of experience in workforce development, particularly in the Rapid Response field. During his service, Ken and his team have served over 10,000 company closings or layoff events that have affected over 550,000 employees. Ken has also been involved in the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) National Rapid Response program since 1998 and is regularly requested to provide Rapid Response/ Layoff Aversion training nationally. Some initiatives that Ken has started include the first Regional Rapid Response Summit, Rapid Response Set Aside fund program, and the Massachusetts Rapid Response model that ensures statewide consistency. This model has been recognized nationally and duplicated in many other states. Ken was hired in January of 2009 by the USDOL as the National Rapid Response coordinator. He is part of the USDOL’s effort to ensure quality/consistent Rapid Response services are carried out throughout the country. Ken’s newest task has been launching the Mass BizWorks program, which coordinates business services and programs from various agencies and departments that makes it easier for businesses to access these services.


Melissa is responsible for managing and overseeing all aspects of the Regional Employment Board’s regional and state-wide employer engagement initiatives and programs including on-the-job training (OJT). Melissa has 10 years of experience in the workforce development system. She has helped to operationalize and expand employer engagement initiatives and OJT opportunities across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through the USDOL Disaster National Emergency Grant and the Job Driven National Emergency Grant.


Charlie Terrell currently manages all aspects of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Technical Assistance grant from the USDOL. He also is the staff liaison to the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) Technology Committee. Charlie has held a variety of positions at NASWA including Staff Assistant, Program Assistant and Operations Manager of the National Labor Exchange. Charlie is involved in workforce employment and training programs, workforce technology, and NASWA member services. Charlie has also worked for Accenture as a Management Consultant in the state and local government practice where he was on the North American Employment Team. Charlie focused on supporting clients in the workforce development space including WIOA implementation support.


Tim has been with the USDOL/ETA for 19 years. In that time, Tim has become a leading national expert in the Trade Act, as well as in the improvement of services to participants and employers through program integration at the state, local, and American Job Center level; transition management and layoff aversion through Rapid Response activities; and the use of social media and technology solutions to better serve job seekers and employers. Prior to joining the Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance, he worked for the Boston Regional Office as the Regional Trade Coordinator and over the years as the State Lead for Vermont, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgins Islands. He designed, developed, and deployed the agency’s first-ever electronic grants management system to help manage more than $30 billion in grant funds. He is an 11-time recipient of the Secretary’s Exceptional Achievement Award. Tim graduated from Northeastern University with double B.S. degrees in Political Science and History. He is the proud father of three and is an Eagle Scout.


A graduate of Boston College, where the motto is “Ever to Excel,” Stacey L. Thompson has adopted that sentiment as a life mantra as well. A native of Massachusetts, Stacey is a product of a lineage where both hard work and caring for others had a prominent place. Her post-college employment journey consisted of years of work as a recruiter, which transferred into work as a GED teacher and Job Readiness Instructor at Bridge Over Troubled Waters in Boston, where she contributed for 3 years. The following 8 years, Ms. Thompson maintained her commitment to the at-risk population as an instructor at Catholic Charities’ Young Parent Program in Lowell, MA. At present, Stacey works as a Workshop Facilitator at the Career Center of Lowell, providing members with up-to-date knowledge to rebuild confidence and achieve employment, training, and educational goals. Stacey is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and a Myers Briggs Type Indicator Certified Instructor. In 2016, Stacey also spoke about customer-centered design at the White House, as the result of an organizational initiative sponsored by the Department of Labor. As co-lead of a winning team and with extensive subject matter knowledge, Stacey continues to speak across the country to groups large and small, on the topic of customer-centered design. In addition to her facilitation work, Stacey is also an accomplished playwright, actor, and singer.


As a lifelong resident of Boston, Freddie joined Youth Options Unlimited Boston (YOU Boston) as a Career Specialist in 2001. Since then, he has held several positions throughout his tenure, which include core responsibilities in resource development, program design and evaluation, case management, and fundraising. In 2016 he was promoted to his current position as Deputy Director of YOU Boston. He brings over 20 years of professional experience to his new position, including employment in Boston Public Schools and in various private sectors. Freddie also serves on the of the board of trustees for Sociedad Latina, a nonprofit organization located in Mission Hill that focuses on cultivating the next generation of leaders. In addition, he also serves on the board for My Brother's Keeper, an initiative created by the Obama Administration that supports young men of color in reaching their full potential. The initiative focuses in part on youth graduating from high school ready for college and careers and helping them successfully enter the workforce. It also works to reduce youth violence and to provide youth with second chances.


The Langham – Boston
250 Franklin Street
Boston, MA 02110

Located in the former Federal Reserve Bank of Boston building, the Langham is within easy walking distance of the Waterfront, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the Freedom Trail, and more. A block of rooms has been reserved at Langham for $262 per night, not including state and local taxes (currently 14.45% per room, per night). To receive this rate, use the room block code “2017 AJLA Annual Conference” and be sure to reserve your room no later than Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Guests may call the hotel directly to make reservations at 1-877-499-7162 and reference the 29th Annual AJLA Conference. Reservations can also be made online here.

If you're not sure you can attend or need to wait for travel approval, we suggest making your reservations now and canceling the room later if necessary. (Note that you must cancel more than 24 hours prior to scheduled arrival to avoid cancellation penalties.)


The Langham hotel is 3.4 miles from the Logan International Airport (BOS). The hotel does not provide shuttle service. Transportation options include:


Photograph : Cheers Bar - Interior


Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Quincy Market, South

(617) 227-0150


Less than a half-mile walk takes you to the place where everybody knows your name. This Faneuil Hall location offers a café, patio, and lower bar that replicates the original. Visit the original Cheers off of the Boston Common.

The Palm - Boston

100 Oliver St., Lobby Level

(617) 867-9292


Within one block you can enjoy an upscale steak, seafood, or Italian dinner overlooking the Greenway. The restaurant is open from 11:30 AM to 10 PM, and reservations are available.

Photograph: The Merchant Restaurant - Interior


60 Franklin St

(617) 482-6060


This brasserie-style restaurant serves lunch and dinner and is open late into the night. Enjoy their locally-sourced bar and entrée menu with a glass of wine or a draft of one of the 60 beers on tap. Walk on in or make a reservation.


Photograph: New England Aquarium - Exterior

New England

1 Central Wharf

(617) 973-5200


Penguins, sharks, and octopi—oh my! Touch sharks and rays, circle the four-story coral reef tank, learn about marine conservation, and more at this beautiful aquatic center. The aquarium is open from 9 AM to 5 PM, and tickets are $27.95 (available online).

Photograph: Freed Trail - Entryway


44 School Street, Suite 250

(617) 357-8300


This 2.5-mile path takes you on a tour of 16 historical sites, from Bunker Hill to the U.S.S. Constitution, to Paul Revere’s house, and more. Walk on your own or enjoy a guided tour; you can easily pick up the trail from Faneuil Hall.

Photograph: Faneuil Hall - Exterior


4 South Market Building

(617) 523-1300


Just .3 miles away from the Langham is the “Cradle of Liberty,” a location over 275 years old, where you can shop among over 70 retailers and enjoy the antics of street performers in the promenades.


Please register online at the same time you make your room reservation. Registration is important to help us plan for meeting space and food. Registration is $450/person. Payment should be made by credit card or by check payable to America’s Job Link Alliance and mailed to America’s Job Link Alliance, Attention Office Manager, 1430 SW Topeka Blvd, 2nd Floor, Topeka, KS  66612. Cancellations after July 7, 2017, will not be refunded.