Interim Chancellor Named to ACT National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board

12th March 2014

ACT welcomed seven new advisory board members on March 11 to help guide its national initiative, ACT Work Ready Communities. Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, interim chancellor of IU Southeast, joins this prestigious board.

IU Southeast Interim Chancellor Barbara A. Bichelmeyer photographed in the IU Southeast Library

IU Southeast Interim Chancellor Barbara A. Bichelmeyer photographed in the IU Southeast Library

Established in early 2012 and gaining momentum since then, the initiative is designed to empower states, regions and counties with data, process and tools to help drive economic growth. The advisory board is charged with leading a national effort to build a common framework that links education and workforce development, aligns workforce development with industry needs and matches individual skills with employer requirements. The stated goal of the advisory board is to build partnerships for community-based workforce development solutions through the involvement of the following stakeholders:

  • Industry to help identify the foundations skills they need for a productive workforce
  • Individuals who can better understand the skills needed by employers
  • Policy makers interested in consistent measures of our nation’s skills gaps
  • Educators so they have the tools to close skill gaps
  • Economic developers to have an on-demand reporting tool to help market the local workforce to industries looking to expand, locate, or relocate businesses.

Joining Bichelmeyer as a new member of the Board are:

  • Jeff Finkle, President, International Economic Development Council
  • Karla Leach, President, Western Wyoming Community College
  • Dane Linn, Vice President, Business Roundtable
  • Jane Oates, Vice President for External Affairs, Apollo Group, Inc. and former U.S. Assistant Labor Secretary
  • Bill Thornton, President & CEO, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
  • David R. Williams, Vice President of Utilities Services, Northwest Natural Gas Company

They join the following existing Board members who will continue to serve:

  • Lesa J. Francis, President, CEO, and Director, Staffmark
  • Michael D. Garrett, retired President & CEO, Georgia Power
  • Jim Gibbons, President & CEO, Goodwill Industries International
  • Ronald L. Johnson, Managing Director, Tennenbaum Institute of Enterprise Transformation and Professor of Practice, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Susan S. Lanigan, retired Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Dollar General
  • Laurie S. Moran, President, Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce
  • The Honorable Sonny Perdue, former Governor of Georgia and Founding Partner, Perdue Partners, and former Chairman of the Advisory Board
  • Hartley Powell, Principal, Global Location and Expansion Services, KPMG LLP, and new Chairman of the Advisory Board
  • Neal Wade, Chairman, Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama and Executive Director, Bay Economic Development Alliance


ACT Vice President of Community and Economic Development Debra Lyons serves as executive director for the Board.

Seventeen states are actively engaged in the initiative designed to help economic developers quantify the skill level of a community’s and state’s workforce. Site Selection magazine uses data from the ACT Work Ready Community initiative website, which is refreshed monthly, in reporting an area’s workforce talent for its “Top Ten Most Competitive States” edition and its annual “State of States” analysis.

IU Southeast is one of eight campuses of Indiana University. Offering more than 50 degree programs and concentrations, the scenic 180-acre campus is less than 15 minutes from downtown Louisville, Ky. It has an enrollment of more than 6,900 students and employs more than 400 faculty members. About 400 students now live on campus in five fully furnished, lodge-style residence halls. IU Southeast is the most affordable four-year university in the region and offers significant financial aid to a majority of students. IU Southeast is a tobacco-free campus.

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as the nation’s leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality achievement assessments grounded in more than 50 years of research and experience. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions that help people succeed from kindergarten through career, providing insights that unlock potential. To learn more about ACT, go to