In her role as Executive Director for the National Council for Workforce Education, Darlene is engaged in numerous national initiatives providing leadership coaching and technical assistance. She designed and procured funding for the “Building Community Partnerships to Serve Immigrant Workers” (BCPIW) initiative. BCPIW is a Ford Foundation and Annie E. Casey Foundation funded project to bring together community colleges and community-based organizations and/or worker centers to develop education and training programs to help immigrant workers move into family-wage jobs.
Currently, Darlene is providing technical assistance and support for the development and implementation of Prior Learning Assessment and the development of integrated career pathways in manufacturing for the Clark State Community College Round 3 TAACCCT grant. As part of the Gulf Coast IT Consortium Round 1 TAACCCT grant, she supported the nine college as they built their leadership capacity to design and deliver integrated career pathways and worked with the colleges and the consortium in their efforts to better engage employers. Darlene served on the Accelerating Opportunity Leadership Team – a national initiative funded by the Gates, Joyce, Kellogg, Kresge and Open Societies Foundations and provided technical assistance regarding the integrating of career and technical education to all five states engaged in the initiative. Working in partnership with Jobs for the Future and the American Indian Higher Education Council, Darlene provided leadership coaching and technical assistance to Tribal Colleges and Universities as part of Tribal Colleges Breaking Through – a Walmart Foundation funded project.
Darlene chose to focus her professional career on community colleges because of her commitment to opportunity, access, and life-long learning. She is firmly committed to ensuring that higher education and life-long learning are readily and widely accessible to persons across a broad range of abilities, backgrounds, interests, circumstances, and ages. As such, she has served on numerous local and national boards that support community colleges, workforce and economic development, workforce policy, and job training. She also shares her knowledge and expertise by publishing articles and presenting at national conferences.
Darlene started in higher education as a faculty member at Vermont Technical College teaching mathematics, computer science, and engineering. As a tenured associate professor, one of Darlene's proudest professional accomplishments occurred when she started the first Rehabilitation Engineering Technology associate degree program in the nation. She moved into academic administration in 1994 as Dean of Business, Math, and Technology at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, OH.
Darlene has a Master's degree in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY and a Doctorate in Higher Education, Policy, Research and Administration from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA. Outside of work, Darlene is addicted to gardening and golfing and enjoys kayaking and hiking.