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Posted on: January 16, 2014

U.S. congressional staff to tour Wichita aviation facilities

A delegation of United States congressional staff will meet with state and local officials and business leaders on Jan. 17 to discuss workforce and economic issues. The meetings will include presentations and panel discussions, as well as tours of the National Center for Aviation Training, NexStep Alliance and aviation manufacturing facilities.

The congressional staff site visit will begin at 8 a.m. with a panel discussion with industry and community leaders at the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT), and will include the following participants:
• Dave Unruh, commissioner for Sedgwick County and member of the Sedgwick county Technical Education and Training Authority
• Sheree Utash, vice president of Academic Affairs for Wichita Area Technical College
• Dr. Blake Flanders, vice president of Workforce Development for the Kansas Board of Regents
• Rod Blackburn, CEO, WB Construction, and chairman of the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas local workforce investment board

The panel discussion will be followed by a tour of advanced manufacturing classrooms and labs at NCAT.

At 10:15 a.m., the delegation will visit NexStep Alliance, a collaborative partnership with Wichita Area Technical College, Goodwill Industries and the Workforce Alliance, a local workforce investment board, all of whom partner to deliver adult education. In addition to presentations on NexStep, the visit will include a presentation on Accelerating Opportunity: Kansas (AO-K) from Zoe Thompson, director of Workforce Training and Education for the Kansas Board of Regents and the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Following the tour of NexStep, the delegation will tour Wichita manufacturing facilities and meet with industry leadership.

MEDIA NOTES: The panel discussion and tours of NCAT and NexStep Alliance are open to the media. Those interested in attending the tour are asked to RSVP to Matt Keith at mkeith@kansascommerce.com.

Congressional staff delegation:
• Melea Atkins, legislative correspondent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren
• Laura Berntsen, legislative assistant, Sen. Ron Wyden
• Emily Bouck, legislative assistant, Sen. Marco Rubio
• Crystal Bridgeman, senior education advisor, Senate HELP Committee (Chairman Tom Harkin)
• Dianne Browning, legislative assistant, Sen. Orrin Hatch
• Scott Cheney, professional staff member, Senate Budget Committee (Sen. Patty Murray)
• Jacque Chevalier, education policy advisor, House Committee on Education and the Workforce (Ranking Member George Miller)
• Laura Friedel, Republican clerk, Senate Subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations (Ranking Member Jerry Moran)
• Kelly Hastings, legislative director, Rep. Lou Barletta
• Robin Juliano, professional staff member, Senate Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations (Chairman Tom Harkin)
• Bill Knudsen, education policy advisor, Senate HELP Committee (Ranking Member Lamar Alexander)
• Rosemary Lahasky, professional staff member, House Committee on Education and the Workforce (Chairman John Kline)
• Patrick Murray, professional staff member, Senate HELP Committee (Ranking Member Lamar Alexander)
• Toni Porter, district director, Rep. Mike Pompeo
• Tamara Woods, district director, Sen. Pat Roberts
• Mike Zamrzla, deputy state director, Sen. Jerry Moran

Local participants:
• Tom Aldag, Wichita State University National Institute of Aviation Research
• Kelly Bergeron, community relations, Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas
• Brian Black, senior manager, Spirit AeroSystems
• Amanda Duncan, vice president, Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas
• Dave Franson, president, Wichita Aero Club
• Gayle Goetz , vice president of Development, Goodwill Industries of Kansas
• Kathy Jewett, human resources manager, Kaman Aerostructures
• Keith Lawing, president and CEO, Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas
• John O’Leary, vice president of Engineering, Airbus North America
• Sangita Richardson, human resources manager, Spirit AeroSystems
• Patrick Tuttle, chairman, Wichita Aero Club

Additional participants:
• Mary Clagett, director for Workforce Policy, Jobs for the Future
• Maria Flynn, vice president of Economic Opportunity, Jobs for the Future
• Richard Kazis, senior vice president, Jobs for the Future
• Van Nguyen, project manager, Jobs for the Future
• Whitney Smith, program director for employment, Joyce Foundation

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