Passionate about what we do,
we think like the businesses we serve
To stay ahead of the game, you need a workforce development company infused with hands-on know-how, staffed with individuals who are plugged in to what is happening now and who have their pulse on tomorrow.
Grant Associates’ team of accomplished professionals bring a diverse set of skills and experience, and thought leadership to the table, backed by the best talent in the industry.
Dale Grant founded Grant Associates with Diane Edelson and Paula Bailey in1997. Ms. Grant has been advising businesses on workforce strategies for more than 25 years and has implemented more than 100 public/private partnerships. Previously, Ms. Grant was Vice Chair of The Segal Company, the nation's ninth largest human resources consulting firm. A graduate of New York University, Ms. Grant is a leading authority on business-driven workforce development strategies.
Doug Cotter has been a thought leader in the field of workforce development for nearly two decades. Previously, he was President of 4Evolution Staffing, a boutique employment agency. He has been responsible for leading Grant Associates’ program design and launch of new contracts, and has had oversight of national WIA operations, providing leadership and accountability for programs in multiple states. Mr. Cotter is a nationally recognized expert in sector work, and has presented on the issues that affect workforce development for many organizations, including the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB), and the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP).
Executive Vice President
Diane Edelson has more than 20 years of experience in recruiting, job placement and personnel services. She is responsible for managing the company's business relationships and business services in all Grant Associates offices. Ms. Edelson also manages all of the company's administrative and operational activities. Prior to Grant Associates, Ms. Edelson held leadership positions at America Works, Forum Personnel and the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Queens College and a master’s in education from New York University.
Executive Vice President
Paula Bailey is responsible for managing the company's numerous workforce programs, including the Queens Workforce1 Career Center, one of the busiest One-Stop Centers in the country, the Industrial and Transportation Career Center in Queens, the Workforce Tulsa One-Stop system in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Employment Works, a program for the justice involved located in Brooklyn. Previously, Ms. Bailey served as the Director of Employment at the Partnership for New York City and as a Senior Corporate Representative at America Works New York. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University. Ms. Bailey is a member of the board ofthe New York City Education and Training Coalition (NYCETC).
Rick J. Filippelli
SVP, Chief Financial Officer
Rick J. Filippelli, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), has more than 14 years of C-Level experience. Prior to joining Grant Associates, Mr. Filippelli was CFO of HCMC Legal, Inc., a temporary provider of legal staffing services, and CFO of Loving Care Agency, Inc. (Loving Care), a home healthcare provider. Prior to his tenure at Loving Care, Mr. Filippelli served as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TeamStaff, Inc., a publicly traded outsourcing services and staffing company. During that time, he was a member of TeamStaff’s board of directors, and for a period served as the company’s CFO. Earlier positions included two years as CFO of Rediff, Inc., a publicly traded global information services company, and six years as a public accountant, including three years with Big Four firm Ernst & Young. Mr. Filippelli holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Brooklyn College and is a Certified Public Accountant and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Vice President, Innovation
Richard Acosta is Director of the Back to Work program at Grant Associates' 1250 Broadway location in New York City. Mr. Acosta was formerly Director for the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation's three One-Stop centers and two satellite centers. He joined Grant Associates in 2009 as a trainer for the Workforce1 Industrial and Transportation Center and was on the New York team that relocated to Detroit in 2012 to launch operations. Mr. Acosta was promoted to Strategic Operations Manager and was instrumental in developing the DESC's service delivery model, standardizing services and customizing Salesforce to enhance communication and improve business metrics management.
Vice President, Corporate Training
Chris Bernhardt joined Grant Associates in 2008 in the NYC Workforce1 Transportation Career Center. As the program's Trainer and later Career Advisor Manager, Mr. Bernhardt was responsible for introducing many innovative sector services that have become models for other centers. In 2011, Mr. Bernhardt moved to Madison Strategies Group, the non-profit started by Grant Associates leadership to manage its newly awarded transportation sector center in Tulsa. After two years in Tulsa, he rejoined Grant Associates in 2013 to direct training and development initiatives for both staff and job-seeking customers.
Vice President, Corporate Quality
Diana Todhunter brings diverse knowledge and experience to workforce development. In her early career with Grant Associates, Ms. Todhunter was responsible for opening the company’s Atlanta office and she continues to take a role in all of the company's new program launches. Most recently, Ms. Todhunter has been leading Grant Associates' corporate quality assurance efforts to maintain the highest standards and deliver outstanding service in all of its programs. She holds a bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a master's degree from Columbia University School of Social Work.
Vice President of Public and Private Partnerships
Marlena Sessions joined Grant Associates in June 2017 and serves as the Vice President of Public and Private Partnerships. In this newly created role, she is focused on engaging with community leaders across the country to create new solutions to effect positive change in the lives of those served by the workforce system. She serves on the board of the National Association of Veteran’s Serving Organizations and the National Association of Workforce Boards.
Marlena has dedicated her career to the field of Workforce Development and the belief that there is dignity in all work and that all individuals can attain a path toward self-sufficiency. She began her career in direct service, being promoted to lead a community-based job training agency early on. She later held several positions in Seattle, Washington at the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (WDC), culminating with her role as its Chief Executive Officer for nine years. During her tenure, she led the WDC to national acclaim and prominence as one of the most innovative workforce boards in the United States. She served as the United States Conference of Mayors President and on its board of trustees, as well as holding leadership positions locally on over a dozen boards. Marlena has provided expert testimony to the United States Senate on several occasions and has written numerous Op-Eds, as well as conducted television and radio interviews.
Marlena holds a bachelor’s degree from Whitworth University and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. Marlena has over 20 years of experience in the areas of career and business services, board development and engagement, sector-based strategy development, and workforce program management.
Vice President, Strategic Operations
Peter Kondratowicz has been with Grant Associates since early 2006, focusing his efforts primarily on coordinating strategic operations across the company's workforce services programs. In his current position, Mr. Kondratowicz manages the Performance Analytics & Validation Unit (PAVU) and leads the company’s centralized independent policy compliance assurance effort for program performance outcomes. He is also responsible for supporting program management through design, coordination and integration of business processes, reviewing them for strategic performance analysis and continuous improvement purposes. Prior to joining Grant, Mr. Kondratowicz lived and worked abroad, focused on supporting free-market transformation of the Central European emerging economies. He holds a master's degree from the Warsaw School of Economics in Poland.
Vice President, Workforce1 Career Center, Queens, NY
Pintso Topgay directs and manages all activities at the Grant Associates-operated Queens Workforce1 Career Center in Jamaica, Queens, and its two expansion centers, which together serve more than 30,000 customers per year. Previously, Mr. Topgay managed Grant's Business Solutions Centers in Jamaica and the Bronx. He holds a master's degree in public administration from the Baruch Graduate School of Public Affairs. During his studies, he was chosen as the first Kauffman Fellow at the top-performing New York State North Brooklyn Empire Zone, administered by the East Williamsburg Valley Industrial Development Corporation (EWVIDCO).
Vanessa oversees our Employer Services contract in Houston, and leads standardization of national practices. Ms. Preston joined Grant Associates in 2009 as part of the Workforce1 Industrial and Transportation Center’s Career Services department. She launched and led Grant’s Washington, D.C. operations from 2012 to 2014. Previously, she held training and development positions in a national restaurant chain. She holds a bachelor's degree in history from Queens College.
Director of DC TANF Education and Occupational Training Program
Adriana Crawford is Director of the Washington, DC Department of Human Services TANF Education and Occupational Training contract administered by Grant Associates. Adriana manages the operations, staffing, performance, and strategic direction of the work readiness program. Ms. Crawford also managed the DC One-Stop Operator contract for Grant Associates where she worked to implement a more aligned service delivery model among the District’s four American Jobs Centers and core WIOA partners. Prior to joining Grant Associates in 2018, she worked to improve program performance at the Federal level and with the Newark Workforce Development Board. She also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member from 2012-2013. Ms. Crawford holds a bachelor’s degree in both Communication and Political Science and a Master of Public Administration, Public and Nonprofit Performance, from Rutgers University.
Director of Houston Employer Services
Biguita Hernandez is Director of Grant Associates’ Houston Employer Services initiative. Most recently, Ms. Hernandez was Assistant Commissioner in the Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity at the NYC Department of Small Business Services. Ms. Hernandez oversaw the agency's Capacity Building Programs and Procurement Technical Assistance to support minority and women-owned businesses in strengthening their operational and financial position as well as develop their management and leadership skills to be better positioned to win both government and private contracts. She was instrumental in developing strategies, programming, and performance metrics to ensure all Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) are equipped to compete in the marketplace. has more than 20 years of experience in both the private and public sectors. Ms. Hernandez is a graduate of Pace University with a B.S. in Marketing and Advertising, and is a proud alumna of CORO Leadership NY. Ms. Hernandez was born and raised on Staten Island, NY, the daughter of an immigrant mother and father from Aruba and Puerto Rico, and the mother of two wonderful sons.
Director of Human Resources
Bonnie Lobert joined Grant Associates in 2013 as the Human Resource Manager for the Detroit program. In 2015, she accepted the role of Human Resource Manager for National Operations, and in 2016 she became the Director of Human Resources. Bonnie oversees all functions of Human Resources at Grant Associates, including strategic planning and execution of Human Resource initiatives. She currently is focused on developing Grant Associates’ leadership effort for current and future leaders. She draws on a diverse experience from mid-size to large organizations. Bonnie has facilitated Strengths Finder, Gallup Q12, 360 leadership feedback, technology initiatives, including paperless files and recently spearheaded the first Grant Leadership Development Initiative for future leaders. Prior to joining Grant Associates Bonnie spent 20 years working in high performing school districts developing human resource functions that aligned with community and student outcomes. She was president of her State human resource association (MASPA) and served as a national co-chair for AASPA’s planning committee. Ms. Lobert received several state awards for her contribution to best practices in evaluation, employee induction, the Michigan Governor’s Healthy Workplace award and Kronos Best Practice award for innovative in business applications. She is a current member of SHRM and past member of MASPA and AASPA, State and national associates for school personnel leaders. Bonnie’s undergraduate degree is in Labor and Industrial Relations (EMU), and she studied graduate level Financial Science from Walsh College. She volunteers in her community for Services for Older Citizens (SOC) and Gleaners Food Bank.
Director, Workforce1 Career Center, Brooklyn
Charmaine Bourbon joined Grant Associates in 2013 as Sourcing Manager for Back2Work. She was named Community Partner Manager for the Brooklyn Workforce1 Career Center in 2014, and in 2017, became Director of Brownsville Job Plus. In her current role, she is responsible for driving positive community and economic growth in Brooklyn’s Brownsville community.Prior to joining Grant Associates, Charmaine provided Human Resources solutions for major and independent companies by helping them build their HR infrastructure that improved communication, encouraged productivity, and increased engagement. Charmaine was named Senior HR Director for Kerzner International at Atlantis Resort & Casino from 2004 to 2007, where she was responsible for directing talent management and assessment, employee engagement, diversity and team effectiveness for thousands of employees. She honed her talent in Human Resources as the Relationship Manager in American Express Company’s Establishment Service Division from 1991 to 2003.Charmaine earned her HR degree from Omega College and is currently studying Psychology at Brooklyn College. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and the Special Olympics New York.
Director of Strategic Operations
Christopher is the Director of Strategic Operations at Grant Associates where he leads corporate development initiatives for internal and external stakeholders, including staff, businesses, industry associations, and local job-seeking residents. Since joining Grant Associates in 2013, he has been instrumental in developing the system architecture and deployment method for SymphonyNotesTM, Grant Associates’ Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database for businesses. Christopher has been at the forefront in launching, providing managerial oversight and program development for multiple adult and youth workforce initiatives across the country. His expertise ranges from launching and managing Workforce programs to strategic business planning to creating detailed analytical business databases. He worked on the launch and managed contracts at the Workforce1 Industrial & Transportation Center (ITC) in New York City, Employment Solutions Corporation One-Stop Center System in Detroit, and the Workforce Tulsa One-Stop Centers. This involved overseeing training needs analysis, design, and implementation for workforce development programs, including job-seeker soft skills training and technical occupational trainings. He previously held positions as Strategic Operations Manager/Deputy Director and Strategic Operations Coordinator at Grant Associates, which entailed developing and conducting trainings for staff around the use of data systems and policy compliance.
Christopher is a Salesforce Certified Administrator, Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator, and Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder. He received a Master of Science degree in Adolescent Education from Pace University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance and Communication from Michigan State University as an honors graduate of the MSU Honors College.
Director of Finance
Donald England is the Director of Finance at Grant Associates. He joined the company in February 2015 as Controller and became the Director of Finance in 2018. He is responsible for managing the finance and accounting team as well as the day to day operations of the finance office. Prior to joining Grant Associates, he served as Fiscal Director of Compliance for three years and as Senior Fiscal Officer for twelve years with organizations in the non-profit industry. Donald earned an AAS degree in Accounting at Hostos Community College (CUNY). He then earned bachelor’s degrees in both Accounting and Economics, and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Queens College (CUNY), and later a master’s degree in Business Administration at Empire State College (SUNY).
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Heather Engelbrecht joined Grant Associates in 2017 as the Director of Strategic Initiatives. In this role, she manages the company’s business development proposal writing activities, as well as all marketing and corporate communications efforts. Prior to joining Grant Associates, Heather spent over six years at the Economic Development Council of Seattle & King County (EDC) where she rose through the ranks from Research and Communications Manager to Vice President of Operations and Strategic Initiatives. In her role as Vice President, she helped shape the strategic direction and priorities of the organization as a key member of the leadership team. She oversaw the organization’s operations, finance and marketing teams, managed the EDC’s internship program, and lead the organization’s business development efforts in Global Trade & Investment. Heather spent the previous 12 years in various marketing/communications positions with non-profits and higher education institutions where she honed her skills writing for and managing publications, planning special events, coordinating web and social media content, conducting research, coordinating Board engagement activities, and designing marketing collateral. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Washington.
Director, TANF, Washington, D.C.
Jeremy Lares manages all operations, including business development, work readiness training, job placement and retention of customers referred by the DC Department of Human Services. Prior, Mr. Lares had been the Case Manager Supervisor and later Career Services Manager, overseeing a team tasked with monitoring eligibility compliance for public benefits. As a Case Manager, Mr. Lares played an instrumental role in developing the Case Management role and promoting contractual goals that aided in the expansion of the DC-TANF contract in 2013. Prior to joining Grant Associates, Mr. Lares worked for a renowned private, non-profit organization and United Way agency that provides comprehensive services to more than 4,000 individuals and 1,800 families in seven locations around South Texas. He holds a bachelor's degree in Corporate Communications from the University of Texas at Austin.
Director, External Partnerships
As Grant Associates’ Director of External Partnerships, Jessica Cracchiolo develops relationships with employer partners, collaborates with industry associations, and manages the highly applauded Scholars at Work program for the NYC Department of Education and Small Business Services. Ms. Cracchiolo transitioned into the role in June 2015 after successfully leading the Industrial and Transportation Career Center as its Director. Because of her deep involvement in the transportation industry, in 2012 she was asked to join the Board of the Society of Fleet Supervisors. Ms. Cracchiolo holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University and has more than eight years of experience in recruitment and business development, starting her career as a recruiter with NYU Medical Center.
Director of Greater Memphis Region Program
Justin Jamerson is the Director of Grant Associates’ Greater Memphis Region program. He is responsible for managing business engagement and development, work readiness training, job placement and retention in partnership with the American Job Centers of Tennessee and the Workforce Investment Network. Prior to joining Grant Associates, Justin was a Business Development Consultant with the State of Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development. In this role, he was tasked with the creation of new jobs through the recruitment of new industry and the expansion of existing industry throughout four counties in Tennessee. He is actively involved in the Memphis community, serving on numerous boards including the board of a local high school, a bike-sharing program and an international educational and professional development nonprofit organization. Because of his commitment to job creation, education and community engagement, Justin has been selected to participate in a number of local and statewide leadership programs including Leadership Memphis, the State of Tennessee’s Commissioner’s Leadership Academy and most recently Complete Tennessee, an organization focused on increasing postsecondary access and completion in Tennessee. He is a former educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Freed Hardeman University and a B.A. in Advertising from Harding University.
Director for Brownsville Jobs Plus
Lanette Perez is the Director for Brownsville Jobs Plus in Brooklyn, NY. A catalysts for community and a diversity champion, one of her main goals for the program is to be a resource hub for the Brownsville community leading to economic growth as well as personal empowerment. Lanette has over 20 years of experience in program development and community/partnership cultivation. Prior to joining Brownsville Jobs Plus, Lanette was the Director of Admissions & Recruitment for Grace Institute of New York and has held several positions with organizations such as Mount Saint Mary College, MVP and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She currently serves on the Board of L.I.T.E and has held Board appointments for The Orange County Cerebral Palsy Association and ELLA Leadership Institute. Lanette has a deep passion for Women’s Empowerment, Wellness and Coaching and is the Founder & CEO of I.V.A Fitness, a group fitness program where she instructs group fitness classes at the YMCA and other local gyms and community events, as well as provides group fitness certifications. She is an active volunteer and event organizer. Lanette holds a B.A. in Communications/Public Relations from Mount Saint Mary College and a Master of Public Administration from Marist College.
Director, Industrial Transportation Workforce System
Monique Cole-Green is the Director of the Industrial Transportation Workforce System, which consists of the Industrial Transportation Career Center (ITC) Queens and 4 satellite centers. She joined Grant Associates in 2009 as a Career Advisor/Trainer for Queens Workforce1 Career Center. She moved to Account Manager, and was then promoted to Business Services Manager. In 2015, she was promoted to Deputy Director/Business Services Manager for ITC. She has over 10 years of business to business sales/development, public relations, and project management experience previously working in the recording, television and film industries. Ms. Cole-Green holds a bachelor's degree in Media Studies and Business Administration from the City University of New York at Queens College.
Director, NYC Business Solutions Bronx Center
Natalie Williams-Grant is the Director of the NYC Business Solutions Bronx Center which provides a set of no cost services on behalf of the Department of Small Business Services to help companies start, operate and expand in New York City. Natalie joined Grant Associates in November 2009 as an Intern at the NYC Business Solutions Queens Center. She moved to the Account Manager position in March 2010 where she served for 5 years delivering superior quality services to her customers helping them launch their businesses as well as access financing, recruit employees, get certified as a Minority and Women owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Certification and training incentives to grow their business. In August of 2015 she was promoted Center Director. Since then she has managed a small team of two Account Managers and a Business Development Associate in serving the Bronx Business community. Under her leadership, the Bronx Center in 2016-2017 completed one of their most successful fiscal years where they assisted customers in accessing over $400,000 in financing; close to 80 companies in recruiting new employees; over 1400 customers in accessing business education to name of a few of their notable achievements. Ms. Williams-Grant holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Management (Suma Cum Laude) from Monroe College, New York. She and her team look forward to serving our Bronx Community in achieving their business goals.
Director, Corporate IT
Rakesh Dhingra is responsible for all IT-related functions, including the daily operations of infrastructure, telecommunications and applications. In his role, Mr. Dhingra is also responsible for implementing innovative technology to suit the needs of the organization. He has more than 15 years of global and diverse technology experience, working for mid- and large-size companies. Prior to joining Grant Associates, Mr. Dhingra held the position of Regional IT Director for Berlitz Languages, Inc. He holds an MBA with dean’s list honors in technology management from Stevens Institute of technology. Mr. Dhingra holds numerous IT and other certifications such as PMP and ITIL.
Director, CTE Industry Scholars Program
Stacey Pellegrino is the Director of the CTE Industry Scholars Program, a city-wide initiative with the NYC Department of Education to coordinate and scale quality work based learning and strengthen industry engagement in the education system. She joined Grant Associates in 2013 and was previously the Director of the Grant-operated Brooklyn Workforce1 and its three satellite centers. Prior to her current role, Stacey was the Head of Education and Workforce Development for the Clinton Global Initiative where she worked with leading companies, foundations, nonprofit and public sector executives to drive social impact through high-level, participatory convenings and the development of commitments to action. She has more than ten years’ experience managing workforce development and economic development initiatives for domestic and international organizations, including field work in Mexico, Panama, and Thailand. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama from 2006-2008, where she worked closely with community members to develop and implement strategies that stimulated economic development and led to improved resource management by developing community-based tourism services and training small business operators in the community. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).