LearnX 2020 Session Videos

Opening Plenary: Acknowledging our Present

LearnX 2020 is occurring during an unprecedented time in our history.  In our opening session, we will explore our recent past and current events through the lens of The Graduate! Network’s vision that every adult who aspires to earn a college degree has access to the resources and supports they need to succeed.


  • Matt SigelmanBurning Glass Technologies, Chief Executive Officer
  • Sallie GlickmanThe Graduate! Network, Co-Founder & Interim CEO
  • Cedric DeadmonKC Degrees – Mid America Regional Council, Outreach and Advising Project Manager

Toward Greater Equity: What We Know

Are we having an impact? Please join us to discuss the latest findings on the results of Network practices in communities across the country, and what they mean for the work ahead.



  • Courtney BrownLumina Foundation, Vice President of Strategic Impact
  • Iris PalmerNew America, Senior Advisor for Higher Education and Workforce, Education Policy Program
  • Hadass ShefferThe Graduate! Network, Co-founder and Senior Fellow

Concurrent Sessions: Tool Shops for Practitioners

Enjoy an opportunity to choose 2 tool shop topics that help you, as practitioners, reach your goals in new and innovative ways. Each tool shop will incorporate content, application and individual actions.

Earned Income Strategies for Graduate! Communities

Join us for this session to learn more about earned income strategies from G!N partners who are working on these initiatives today. This session will include a brief introductory discussion of the earned income landscape including terminology, benefits, risks and possible business structures followed with a review of several earned income funding scenarios that are serving people today.

Recruiting and Serving Comebackers in the Context of COVID-19

Harness the power of informal networks to create “word-of-mouth” campaigns to recruit Comebackers. Enjoy a sneak peak at Ambassador toolkits from around the Network and workshop ways to customize this approach for your region.

The Importance of Data in Telling Your Story

Join us as we discuss the importance of data collection and using data to tell a story and boost support in your community. We’ll look at ways to present data, including an examination of the Data That Move Us results. For anyone unsure about how to collect data, we’ll also review data

The New Normal: Breaking Down Barriers and Working for Educational Equity

The first half of 2020 has been an unprecedented time in our work. Long-existing racial disparities in systems intended to protect and elevate all of us have been exposed. For many associated with the Graduate! Network, combating these disparities are what brought us to the work.  Hear from national thought leaders about how we might seize this moment.


  • John ColbornGraduate! Network, Board Chair
  • Bill MosesThe Kresge Foundation, Managing Director, Education
  • Louis SoaresAmerican Council on Education, Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
  • Aaron ThompsonKentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, President



When the Difficult Work Becomes Critical: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Our Work

Equity is at the heart of the Graduate! movement, yet we have never collectively explored what that means to us and those we serve at the individual and systems level. Guided by the co-chair of TGN’s Walmart-funded DEI initiative, participants will be invited to share and listen as we explore the ways in which diversity, equity, and inclusion shape our lives, our work, and the paths of Comebackers. Together, we will probe approaches to address these issues and inform the work being done to develop tools and practices for use in our organizations and communities.



  • Cedric Deadmon – KC Degrees – Mid America Regional Council, Outreach and Advising Project Manager
  • Micaela Rios (she/ her/ hers)The Graduate Network , Texas AARP Project Manager/ DEI Co-Lead

Elevating Comebacker Voices: Bridging the Talent Gap

The Graduate! Network is proud to have nurtured Bridging the Talent Gap, which puts the needs and interests of Comebackers at the center of the discourse with employers and higher education partners.  BTTG is also a central strategy some Network communities are effectively leveraging to engage with employers and their workforce systems to advance the interests of Comebackers.  Learn about the latest findings and the ways Network leaders are using BTTG.



  • Jenny AchillesTrellis Foundation, Director of Partnerships & Programs
  • Dan AshThe Graduate! Network, Bridging The Talent Gap, Research guy
  • Joshua Frazier-SparksWalmart.org, Senior Manager II, Opportunity
  • Dexter FreemanIrving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of Operations & Administration
  • Haley GloverLumina Foundation, Strategy Director
  • Jessica Nojek – Senior Director, Community Impact, Mission: Graduate
  • Anna OslandOne Acadiana, Director of Workforce & Policy Issues
  • Bridgett StricklerThe Graduate! Network, Senior Vice President of Network Engagement

Toward Sustainable Communities

Every day, Graduate! communities are working to amplify their impact in support of Comebackers while simultaneously looking for new ways to underwrite their services.  This session will highlight strategies community leadership can leverage to generate investments and revenue.



  • Anita DavisKC Degrees/Mid-America Regional Council, Workforce Development Program Director for the Mid-America Regional Council
  • Karen Lockhart FegelyCity of Philadelphia, Deputy Commerce Director
  • Sallie GlickmanThe Graduate! Network, Co-Founder & Interim CEO
  • Jeanie Heffernan – EVP & CHRO, Human Resources, Independence Blue Cross
  • Meg LindsayInnovia Foundation, Director Education Programs
  • Paul NeumannWoods, Board Member, retired CEO
  • Rodney PruntyUnited Way of Central New Mexico, President and CEO

“Fireside” Chat: A Discussion with Our Founding Executive


  • Sallie GlickmanThe Graduate! Network, Co-Founder & Interim CEO
  • Hadass ShefferThe Graduate! Network, Co-founder and Senior Fellow

Innovation Roundup

A rapid fire session  featuring Network innovators showcasing creative ways that their community is engaging and serving Comebackers.  Each presenter will have 3 minutes to entice audience participants with their innovation.  As part of the session, participants will be able to choose the topic(s) that they want to learn more about during special VIP deep dives after LearnX.



  • Melissa YoungKY Council on Postsecondary Education, Executive Director of Special Projects
  • Michelle CyrusDetroit Regional Chamber, Director, Adult College Completion
  • Andre BreauxOne Acadiana, formerly the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, VP, Policy Initiatives
  • Maggie McGrathHigher Education Compact of Greater Cleveland, Director
  • Charles WilliamsAARP, Volunteer, AARPKY Executive Council
  • Tina ShreeveTennessee Higher Education Commission, Navigate Reconnect Coordinator
  • Jeffrey WestCitizens for Educational Excellence, Director
  • Toni Reeves Tennessee Higher Education Com , Navigate Reconnect Regional Director- West Tennessee

Check out the song “Work Ready KY” by B. Stille. This promotional song was highlighted by Melissa Young in the Innovation Roundup session. To learn more about the creation of the song, watch the video above.