You can find a summary of the #PartnerAppalachia event here.

April 27-29, 2022 #PartnerAppalachia. Partners for Community College Student Success and Economic Growth in Appalachia, written on chalkboard, with mountains in background and IEL Logo.

Are you interested in growing enrollment, increasing student success, and developing partnerships to provide a workforce that promotes economic development in your community? Then join us for a virtual convening that will bring together experts and learners from the Appalachian Region to discover and create best practices for partnerships.


Date and time

Wed., Apr 27 –
Fri., Apr 29, 2022



Virtual Event

*$199 per registrant or $149 if 2 to 5 individuals from same institution 

Speaker Spotlight

About this event

Join your colleagues from the Appalachian Region to explore and create opportunities for students to complete higher education and achieve career success with a focus on students with one or more barriers to success.

Who Should Attend?

Participants will include representatives from higher education and community colleges, workforce leaders and employers, Vocational Rehabilitation providers, and community leaders including students, alumni, and public service providers.

What will We Accomplish Together?

The virtual convening will bring together experts and learners to create opportunities for student success. Participants will explore and share strategies that increase student retention, graduation rates, and increased employment opportunities in the region.

Together, participants will identify barriers and create solutions to ensure positive outcomes for students of color, students with disabilities, first time college goers, and students from high-poverty areas.

Topics will include:

– Effective recruitment and retention strategies

– Improved campus services

– Greater inclusion and diversity on campus

– Increased supports for transportation, technology, financial aid, and other resources for rural learners

– Strengthened partnerships among higher education, employers, public services, and community leaders

– Talent pipeline of high quality graduates who will drive economic growth in their communities


1:00-1:15pmOpening Plenary:Welcome  
1:15-1:35pmKeynote:The Future of Postsecondary Education and Training
Dr. Tony Carnevale, Director and Research Professor, Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University
1:35-2:20pmPanel Discussion:The Illustrative Power of Partnerships
Dr. Kevin Boys, President, Southern State Community College (OH), and Board Chairman and Interim Director, Community Colleges of Appalachia; Dr. John Gossett, President, AB Tech Community College (NC); Susan Snelick, President, Northern Pennsylvania Regional College (PA)
Facilitator: Monica Carpenter, Consultant, IEL 
2:20-2:30pmIntroduction to a Planning Tool:IEL Staff 
2:45-3:50pmBreakout Sessions:Day 1 will be focused on identifying your purpose and vision; partners; and your value proposition 
3:50-4:30pmNetworking and Next Steps:Building Informal Partnerships;
Preparing for Day 2
1:00-1:05pmOpening and Framing of the Day:Welcome from IEL Staff
1:05-1:20pmKeynote:Supporting All Community College Learners
Dr. Sharon Morrisey, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Services and Research, Virginia Community College System
1:20-2:05pmPanel Discussion:

Building Inclusive Campuses: Student Voices
Phetoudone Pat Nivanh, GEAR UP IHE Coordinator, Western Piedmont Community College; Dr. Yolanda Watson Spiva, President, Complete College America
Student Panelists: Sophia Fink, Stacy Propst, Estela Teed
Facilitator: Elizabeth Jarrett, WVAdultEd Professional Development Coordinator, Mountain State Educational Services Cooperative

2:30-3:50pmBreakout Sessions:

Forming Partnerships to Support All Students

3:50-4:30pmRole Based-Networking and Wrap-Up of Day 2:Building Informal Partnerships; Reflections and prep for Day 3
1:00-1:05pmOpening and Framing of the Day:Welcome from IEL Staff
1:05-1:50pmPanel Discussion:

Sustaining Partnerships
Lee Davis, Workforce Coordinator, Center for Workforce and Innovation of Appalachia – Mountain Empire State CC; Alan Gullett, Division Director, Carl D. Perkins Vocational Training Center; Al Moore, Dean of Workforce Solutions and Economic Development, Bevill State Community College (AL); Tiffany Ramsey, East Tennessee Area Director, State of Tennessee, DHS- Vocational Rehabilitation
Facilitator: Dahlia Shaewitz, Vice President, Transition, Disability & Employment, the Institute for Educational Leadership;

2:10-3:05pmBreakout Sessions:Partnership Roles Defined and Sustainability
3:05-3:15pmNext Steps:Sustaining Partnerships for the Future 
Kirstin Yeado, Program Officer, Support Rural Postsecondary and Workforce Training, Ascendium Education Group
3:15-3:45pmClosing Keynote:Building Sustainable Partnership for the Whole Learner Toward a More Prosperous Region
Candace Williams, Executive Director, Rural Community Alliance


The virtual convening will include three half-day afternoon sessions on April 27-29, 2022.

Registration is now closed.

Contact Us

Please contact us at for any further information.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Organizations looking to sponsor this conference can learn more here.

This convening is supported by Ascendium Education Group.

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