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, Special Populations
Patricia Brooks, Vice President, Special Populations, oversees and coordinates all of Grant Associates’ services for individuals with criminal justice issues, who are on public assistance, and who are in other traditionally hard-to-serve special populations. She manages Employment Works, a program aimed at reducing recidivism by connecting individuals on probation or those with past and current convictions with employment, training, mentorship, and other supports. In 2014, she joined New York City’s Legal Action Advisory Group as an advocate for those with criminal justice issues. In addition, she oversees the Grant Associates Jobs-Plus placement assistance program in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Previously, Ms. Brooks was Director of Incube, Inc., a city mental health program that helps individuals with mental disabilities become entrepreneurs. Before Incube, Ms. Brooks was Director of Student Services for Career Blazers Learning Center, assisting resident substance abuse program participants. Ms. Brooks has earned numerous awards for her outstanding service, commitment, and dedication from such organizations as the College of New Rochelle, Esther House Prison Ministry, Sledge Group Mentorship, Career Blazers Learning Center, and Incube, Inc. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the School of New Resources at the College of New Rochelle. Ms. Brooks has also been a leading advocate on domestic violence issues for 27 years.
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
Before joining Grant Associates, Marléna was CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County since 2009. She guided Seattle-King County to national prominence as an innovative leader in job-training initiatives. The Working for America Institute named the organization one of the top four workforce boards in the U.S. The Council was also one of the inaugural winners of the National Association of Workforce Board’s 2016 WIOA trailblazer award. Marléna is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations (NAVSO), and a member of the Washington Workforce Association, serving on its Executive committee for several years. She also served on the Opportunity Center for Employment and Education (OCE&E) Policy Committee. She was the 2013 president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council, and continues to serve on its board of trustees. Marléna also founded the National Advisory Group for Connecting Homeless Jobseekers to the workforce system, and has offered expert testimony to Congress.Marléna holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Whitworth University.
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 Culture, Co-Director of Career Advance and Career Compass
Mildred Armstrong is Director of Culture, and Co-Director of Career Advance and Career Compass. Previously, Ms. Armstrong was Director of the Career Matters Programs located in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. She joined Grant Associates in December 2010 as a Strategic Operations Coordinator(SOC) in the Brooklyn Workforce1 Center. She has worked as an SOC for many of Grant Associates national programs including Tulsa, Atlanta and Newark. She specializes in program infrastructure, Salesforce organizations, performance management and innovative operation models.
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, WORKFORCE1 CAREER CENTER, BROOKLYN, NY
Abby Raji is Director of the Brooklyn Workforce1 Career Center and its satellites—the Sandy Recovery Workforce1 Career Center in Coney Island and a Career Center in East New York set to open in Spring 2016. Previously, Ms. Raji was Program Director for the Grant-operated Jobs-Plus Center in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Ms. Raji joined Grant Associates in 2013 as a Program Manager and launched the Newark JobsConnect program the company operated in Newark, N.J. Before joining Grant, she held management roles in human resources and recruitment within the education and non-profit sectors. Ms. Raji holds a master’s degree in Human Resources and Labor Relations from the New York Institute of Technology.
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).
Aldith D. Campbell
Program Director, Montgomery County Young Adult Opportunity Program, Montgomery County, MD
Aldith D. Campbell manages all operations of the WorkSource Montgomery Youth Program that works with young adults 16 to 24 with specific barriers that qualifies under the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA). Prior to taking on the role of director in Montgomery County, Aldith worked in the role of Intake and Operations Manager of the DC-TANF Program, as the Operations and Intake Manager, Aldith Managed the Intake Department as well as oversea the daily operations of the office, which included handling the office billing and maintaining all office equipment daily. Ms. Campbell provided strong leadership and create a team atmosphere throughout the entire intake department, which lead to better customer service for our TANF Workforce Development contract with over 600 new and continuing customers. Before joining the Grant Associates team, Aldith worked in the field of health care, mental health and education for over 16 years, in various roles. Aldith earned her doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University.
Director, Brownsville Jobs-Plus
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 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, 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, 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, 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, TANF, Atlanta
Ernell Thacker manages daily operations and is responsible for program development and reporting in the metropolitan Atlanta area. She has successfully managed Welfare-to-Work programs for more than 10 years. Prior to joining the company in 2004, Ms. Thacker held positions at the Fulton County Office of Workforce Development and the City of Atlanta Workforce Development Agency. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Spelman College and a master's degree in counseling from Atlanta University.
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 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. M 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.