Andrea Comer, vice president of workforce strategies for CBIA's Education & Workforce Partnership, has been named one of six 2017 NAF Leadership Fellows.

NAF is a nonprofit educational organization that seeks to solve some of the biggest challenges to education and the economy by bringing together education, business, and community leaders to transform the high school experience.

Andrea Comer
Workforce development leadership: CBIA's Andrea Comer.

Comer leads CBIA's efforts to improve education and workforce development opportunities, partnering with educational institutions, government entities, and business groups to ensure Connecticut has a competitive, highly skilled workforce.

She is an advisory board member of the Academy of Engineering & Green Technology at Hartford High School and has spent more than two decades working to improve outcomes for underserved communities.

Her community service work has been recognized by many organizations, including the Connecticut Commission on Children, YMCA, Hartford Enterprise Zone Business Association, the Urban League, and the Connecticut NAACP.

Career Opportunities

The 2017 leadership fellows were selected from among the nation's most recognized professionals in their fields for participation in a year-long program.

This recognition will allow Comer and others to further their expertise in improving college and career opportunities for high school students in their communities.

The program includes engaging with leaders across the country, participating in the Leadership Institute, and presenting at the NAF Next 2018 gathering.

In between sessions, participants will complete rigorous coursework, including robust preparatory activities tied to upcoming session topics, and an independent project.

The program will also help them:

  • Understand the importance of leadership and followership
  • Improve negotiation skills and understand how communication style influences outcomes
  • Leverage organizational culture for best productivity and commitment
  • Lead change initiatives to advance organizational growth

Fellows learn to develop a strategic plan to bring together stakeholders around a community need and exercise the skills developed through leadership training to serve the greater good.

“The only way to confront Connecticut’s vexing workforce skills gap is by thoughtfully connecting industry and education,” says Comer.

“NAF’s model does just that, and I’m honored to receive this fellowship, which will provide opportunities to connect with national thought leaders and enhance the Partnership’s presence and impact.”

Strategic Plan

Comer and other leadership fellows will produce the independent research product aligned to NAF's strategic plan and share it at NAF Next 2018.

Other recipients are:

  • Soley Gonzalez, chair of the Miami-Dade County Public School's NAF Academy of Finance
  • Richard Grimsley, director of career & technical education for the Dallas Independent School District
  • Enid Valdez, director of career and technical adult community education, Broward County (Florida) Public Schools
  • Atul Kapoor, advisory board, NYC NAF Academies & Academy of Finance and Enterprise High School, New York
  • Lisa Wilson, business, finance, and marketing education associate, Delaware Department of Education