Our Work

Welcome to the Workforce Connections Community of Practice! This portal provides a forum for dialogue and resource sharing among practitioners who are passionate about international workforce development.

Workforce Connections promotes evidence-based learning and peer-to-peer knowledge exchange, with the goal of improving the capacity of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and its industry partners to deliver quality workforce development programming.

Workforce Connections brings together thinking across relevant disciplines including education, economic growth, and positive youth development. The aim is to reduce fragmentation of funding approaches, build consensus over contextually appropriate and effective interventions, and provide guidance on measurement and evaluation of workforce development initiatives. Activities include:

  • Community of Practice: create an open space for interaction, sharing, dialogue, debate, and consensus building
  • Research and Learning: develop and curate a technically sound and accessible body of knowledge on workforce development programming
  • Professional Development: build the capacity of practitioners (especially USAID and partners) through new training, technical assistance, and other professional development opportunities.

Workforce Connections is a two and a half year project (2013-16) funded by the USAID Office of Education and managed by FHI360. Partners include ChildTrends, Making Cents International, and RTI International. Workforce Connections is an Associate Award under the FIELD-Support Leader with Associates.

Meet the Team

Eleanor (Nora) Sohnen, MA, Project Director

Nora is a specialist in workforce development and labor market and migration policy analysis. Recent clients include the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the Inter-American Foundation, and Internews. She also served as a policy analyst for the Migration Policy Institute.

Prior to her career in international development and...

Read More

Monika Aring, MA, Senior Technical Advisor

Monika.jpgMonika has deep expertise on the policies, strategies, and programs needed for developing a country's workforce, focusing on topics such as skills needed for sustainable economic development and skills gaps and assets.

Read More

Alec Hansen, PH.D, Chief Economist

Alec_final_1.jpgAlec Hansen specializes in competitiveness strategy development. He has directed competitiveness initiatives in 25 countries, using value chain analysis and collaborative methods to involve stakeholders in cluster identification and growth. His experience is evenly split between advanced and emerging economies, working...

Read More

Obed (Obie) Diener, MS, Technical Specialist

Obie.jpgObie is a youth livelihoods specialist with extensive field management and independent consulting experience in the Middle East and East Africa, and long-term experience in Latin America.

Read More

Elebthel (El) Gebrehiwot, Program Officer II

Elebthel has experience in global business and policy. She has worked on multiple projects including financial inclusion, private sector development, entrepreneurship and workforce development.

Currently, she is working on a program designed to support Latin American entrepreneurs, and also supporting African Union Partnership project. Elebthel has a MS from George...

Read More