The livestream below will begin at the time of the event.

The COVID-19 crisis, and America’s struggle to produce enough protective equipment to endure and emerge from the pandemic, has underscored the critical need for a strong U.S. manufacturing sector. And it has posed new challenges and opportunities to education and workforce programs seeking to train the next diverse generation of manufacturing workers.  

Join us on Thursday, June 25 at 1:30 pm EST to hear from leading members of a new national cohort of urban workforce development organizations—convened by The Century Foundation and the Urban Manufacturing Alliance, with support from the Lumina Foundation—seeking to connect communities of color to good-paying jobs and forge a more equitable future for manufacturing. The lessons these organizations can provide are critical to unlocking the future of manufacturing in America. 

Please register to obtain the Zoom link.


  • Moderator, Dr. Ron Williams, professor of management at Coppin State University
  • Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation
  • Autumn Russell, executive director of the Early College, Early Career program at MAGNET 
  • Lee Wellington, executive director at the Urban Manufacturing Alliance
  • Rhandi Berth, chief innovations officer at the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership

Presented by The Century Foundation and Urban Manufacturing Alliance

Speaker Bios

Dr. Ronald C. Williams has been a member of the Coppin State University (CSU) faculty since 1996, where he also served as interim dean of College of Business from 2013 until 2017. During his leadership, the college attained specialized accreditation through the Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programs and was ranked as one of the “2015 Top 50 of Small College Business Programs” in the United States by the Business Research Guide. Dr. Williams attributes the achievements to the “BG Model for Academic Enterprise Development,” a model he developed for assessing the needs of stakeholders and facilitating progress toward academic, career, and entrepreneurial success.

He also established the first formal relationship between a community-embedded makerspace (Open Works Baltimore) and a public HBCU; a certificate in entrepreneurship and innovation management; and a collaboration with the CSU Center for Nanotechnology, which won the “Fan Favorite Award” at the 2018 Allegheny Region Cleantech University Prize (CUP) Collegiate Competition, hosted by the Carnegie Mellon University’s Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. His deep concern for student development has led him to serve as faculty advisor to several student initiatives, including the 2020 Emerging Researchers National Conference (HBCU Making and Innovation Showcase) sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). He is currently conducting research to develop an interpersonal and institutional trust framework for collaborative economic development, particularly across cultural and geographic divides where historic distrust exists.

Andrew Stettner is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation. His career as a non-profit leader spans 20 years of experience modernizing workforce protections and social insurance programs at every level, including community organizing, research, policy, and program development. At the National Employment Law Project, he spearheaded a decade-long effort to realign the unemployment insurance safety net with the needs of the modern workforce that culminated with a multi-billion dollar package of reforms enacted in the Recovery Act in 2009. In 2010, he was elected to the National Academy of Social Insurance in recognition of his leadership in the field and received Jewish Funds for Justice Cornerstone Award for outstanding contribution to social justice by leaders under the age of 40. After working at NELP, he took his research on low take up of social insurance into action designing and implementing multi-million dollar benefits enrollment initiatives first at Seedco and then at Single Stop USA. He has published dozens of policy reports and been frequently cited in media outlets across the country. He is a graduate of Columbia University where he earned a BA in psychology, and also holds an MPP from Georgetown University.

Autumn Russell has spent the last fifteen years developing strategies and programs that provide professional development opportunities and resources to students. Prior to joining MAGNET, she managed education reform strategies at the Ohio Department of Education, developed student programs in the local school district, and coordinated student development programs at local colleges. As the executive director of MAGNET’s Early College, Early Career (ECEC) program, Autumn facilitates collaboration between manufacturers, local school districts, and community colleges to grow the manufacturing workforce and create career pathways for Northeast Ohio high school students. Autumn holds a bachelor’s of science in organizational development, a master’s in education administration and programming, and a certification in career pathways leadership.

Lee Wellington has dedicated her career to industrial development for over a decade. Before joining the Urban Manufacturing Alliance as its founding executive director, Lee directed a New York City Councilmember’s land use decisions and legislative portfolio as chief of staff; helped create NYC’s industrial business zones and a broader industrial policy for the NYC Mayor’s Office; and administered a New York State tax incentive program, expanding incentive boundaries to include new industrial neighborhoods.

Lee was a planning fellow at the Pratt Center for Community Development, where she coordinated a vacant lot activation program and assisted with a large-scale study of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Lee received a BS in economics from the Stern School of Business at New York University, a JD from Brooklyn Law School, and a MS in city and regional planning from the Pratt Institute.

Rhandi Berth is chief innovations officer for the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP)/BIG STEP, a nationally recognized workforce development nonprofit organization. For more than twenty-four years, she has been instrumental in helping WRTP/BIG STEP become the nationally recognized organization it is today, in particular in developing and pioneering the workforce intermediary and industry partnership strategies now being adopted across the country. Berth has been at the heart of WRTP since its founding and is regarded as one of the foremost experts on industry driven workforce strategies in the country. Her work as a leader in an intermediary industry setting has as its base a strong foundation and understanding of the industrial sector. She was the first female vice president of IAMAW Machinists Local 1430. Her work includes developing a nationally recognized model for pre-employment training certificate programs in entry-level manufacturing skills. She was also instrumental in developing the industrial manufacturing technician apprenticeship, as well as adapting the pre-employment training certificate model to the building and construction trades working with the Joint Apprenticeship Committee.

Berth also serves as president of Triada Employment Services Inc., a nonprofit subsidiary of WRTP/BIG STEP. Triada staffing services provide workforce solutions targeted to the manufacturing and construction industries. Triada was developed and launched in 2007 as a market-based response to industry challenges in developing a qualified and motivated workforce, and assists companies in recovering lost market share and costs related to vacancy, turnover, and temporary workforce structures. Berth currently serves in a number of advisory roles to state and national organizations involved in workforce development research and policy.