An Announcement from the Board of Directors : WPTI CEO Sharon Sewell-Fairman is Moving On

Dear Colleagues and Supporters of WPTI,

With bittersweet emotions, the Board of Directors of the Workforce Professionals Training Institute (WPTI) announces that our CEO, Sharon Sewell-Fairman, is stepping down on March 3, 2023 after 13 years with the organization. Happily, Blake Foote has agreed to serve as Interim CEO until a successor is named. Blake’s experience as a leader at the New York City Department of Small Business Services and NYC Workforce Development Board, and her knowledge of WPTI as a long-term member of its board, will allow a seamless transition to the organization’s next leader.

Under Sharon’s leadership since 2012, WPTI has grown to nine talented and committed staff members who work steadfastly to develop the next generation of workforce leaders. Throughout its history, the organization has trained more than 10,000 unique workforce practitioners and helped strengthen 740 workforce organizations to be more effective providers of training, education, and employment services. As the nation’s first nonprofit to focus solely on increasing the capacity of workforce development practitioners, its intensive learning communities have leveraged best practices and fostered collaboration. In 2020 when the pandemic closed offices, WPTI inaugurated its Digital Transformation Initiative to help workforce organizations adapt their programs to digital platforms and expand their capacity to train jobseekers. WPTI has become a go-to center for critical information about the workforce community, offering thought leadership and pragmatic insights for strengthening the system of workforce services through reports such as the recent NYC’S Unsettled COVID-19 Era Labor Market.

Sharon leaves an indelible mark on our organization, positioning it to build on its successes advocating for pay equity for frontline workers, increasing investment in workforce staff training, and expanding diversity at all levels. We wish her well as she assumes the leadership of Women Creating Change, a century-old nonprofit dedicated to promoting gender equity and expanding the civic engagement of New York City women. Stay tuned for details about how we’ll gather to celebrate her and wish her well in this new endeavor.

The Board is moving ahead to identify a dynamic new leader of WPTI who will leverage its influence in the workforce community. Meanwhile, we look forward to your continued support of WPTI during our transition and beyond.

Best wishes,

WPTI Board of Directors