Natalie Applegate

Development Manager

Natalie Applegate is the development manager at the National Fund for Workforce Solutions where she supports the organization’s fundraising and grant administration efforts. Prior to joining the National Fund, Natalie managed a team and projects to scale youth apprenticeship in Indiana at Ascend Indiana. Previously, she managed several postsecondary education and workforce development programs and grants at Educate Texas as part of the Communities Foundation of Texas and led an AmeriCorps educational program at City Year San Jose. Natalie served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua and began her career in communications and public relations. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University and master’s degree in public affairs with a focus on nonprofit management from Indiana University.

Amanda Cage

President and CEO

Amanda Cage is the president and CEO of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. Amanda joined the National Fund in March 2020, bringing more than 25 years of federal workforce system, grantmaking, and organized labor experience to the organization. Throughout her career, Amanda has focused on ensuring economic inclusion and stability for workers and their families. Most recently, she served as the chief program officer at the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. There she managed a $70 million portfolio of public and private funding and a network of over 50 agencies for the country’s second largest workforce system. Before that, Amanda served as director of human capital strategy for the Chicago Workforce Investment Council, where she led a citywide effort to increase Chicago’s competitiveness in a global economy. For five years, she led the workforce development portfolio at the McCormick Foundation, and she was the 2004 J. Ira & Nicki Harris Foundation Fellow at the Chicago Community Trust. Amanda started her career as a labor organizer working for Jobs with Justice and the Service Employees International Union and was a Trade Union Program Fellow at Harvard Law School. She is an Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program 2017-2018 Job Quality Fellow and a 2019 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow. Amanda sits on the board of WorkRise, a research-to-action network on jobs, workers, and mobility and is a former member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Advisory Council on Agriculture, Small Business and Labor. In 2023, Amanda became an inaugural member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s 21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Board. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a master’s degree in public policy from the Harris School at the University of Chicago. Amanda regularly serves as an expert source on economic equity and workforce issues for several national media publications including the Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

KaRon Campbell

Program Manager, Learning and Evaluation

KaRon Campbell is a Program Manager of Evaluation and Learning at the National Fund. Prior to joining the National Fund, KaRon gained evaluation experience working for numerous public sector organizations. He has conducted multiple programmatic evaluations assessing the effectiveness and impact of operational training programs to Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) professionals. He earned bachelor’s degree in Sociology and master’s degree in Public Administration from Bowie State University.

Josh Enoch

Communications Manager

Joshua Enoch serves as communications manager for the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. He works in close collaboration with the marketing and communications director to assist in developing communications strategies and create content for the National Fund's communications efforts. Furthermore, Josh works in coordination with other National Fund team members to assist in additional tasks surrounding communications related to grant reporting, proposal development, research, and events held throughout the year. Prior to joining the National Fund, Josh served as director of operations and senior associate at Control Point Group, a political consulting firm, where he oversaw the crafting of strategic direction and communications programs for elected officials, candidates for office, and issue advocacy groups. Josh earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Maryland.

Carrie Felton

Director of Worker Success

Carrie Felton is committed to ensuring equitable pathways to quality jobs for people who have been left out and left behind by the labor market. As director of worker success, she leads efforts to deliver the full range of skills development and supports that recognizes the humanity of workers and allows them to show up as their full selves. Previously, Carrie led Heartland Alliance’s National Center on Employment and Homelessness advancing connections to employment for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Her deep commitment to economic justice is rooted in the stories of people she met providing direct social services. Carrie has a master’s degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Indiana University.

Ricardo Henriquez

Director of Systems Change


As the National Fund’s director of systems change, Ricardo Henriquez leads the organization’s efforts to apply a systems thinking mindset to solve workforce problems. Ricardo brings 15 years of experience in in community organizing, social justice, and workforce development to this position. After emigrating from Chile to the United States, Ricardo began his career as a community organizer. In 2013, he joined the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, and by 2017 was leading the Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford, a funder collaborative and National Fund site. Most recently, Ricardo, his husband Tom and their dog Penny Lane, moved to Florida where he became the Vice President of Community Development for United Way Suncoast.

Aja Holland

Program Manager, Worker Success

Aja is the Program Manager of Worker Success at the National Fund. She gained program development experience managing community-based programs, emphasizing post-secondary education and career pathways for young adults. Prior to joining the National Fund, Aja was the Community Impact Manager with United Way of the National Capital Area. She led an initiative to define a funding competition with Arlington County’s Racial Equity project. This effort aimed to encourage officials to consider race in policy and budget decisions, supporting local organization’s responses to community needs. Aja holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology from Spelman College.

Jessica Jones

Director of Communications and Development

Jessica Jones serves as the director of Communications and Development for the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. A dedicated leader with a passion for philanthropy and nonprofit advocacy work, she strongly believes in the power of strategic communications to help advance social change. Prior to joining the National Fund in 2022, Jessica spent eight years as a communications officer at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in Flint, MI. During her time at Mott, she led strategic communications efforts for the Civil Society program which included a focus on protecting civic space, increasing access to justice, and expanding community philanthropy around the world. A Los Angeles native, Jessica is a graduate of Howard University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism. In 2013, she earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the City University of New York — Bernard Baruch College as a National Urban Fellow. NUF is an elite leadership development program for mid-career professionals that blends graduate coursework with a nine-month mentorship placement at a public, nonprofit or philanthropic organization. Jessica completed her mentorship experience at Detroit’s Skillman Foundation. Early in her career, Jessica worked as the executive assistant to the president of Los Angeles Southwest College and, prior to that, as a community relations manager for Kroenke Sport Charities, the philanthropic arm of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche.  

Nita KC

Executive Assistant

Nita Sharma is the administrative assistant at the National Fund. She works closely with all staff to support its mission and the implementation of programs. Before joining the National Fund, Nita worked for the District Government Department of Health as program support specialist with the Cancer & Chronic Disease Bureau.

Melissa Kleder

Senior Program Manager, CareerSTAT

Melissa Kleder is senior program manager at the National Fund and oversees the implementation of the Healthcare Workforce Development Academy, a technical assistance initiative to help healthcare organizations implement and scale programs that develop their frontline workers. Prior to joining the National Fund, she provided technical assistance and operational support to a diverse network of safety-net sexual and reproductive health organizations at the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association. In 2007, Melissa relocated to the DC metro area where she fine-tuned a range of skills including project management, community outreach and education, and legislative advocacy with NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland. After receiving a bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University, Melissa began her career providing counseling and case management support at two Cleveland-area abortion care providers and a domestic violence center. After several years in direct service, she traveled to the United Kingdom to earn a master's degree in gender, culture, and society from the University of Essex.

Claudio Manno

Program Associate, Activate Employers

Claudio Manno is the Program Associate for the Activate Employers Solution at the National Fund where they provide administrative support for their team. Prior to joining the National Fund, Claudio worked in multiple frontline positions while also maintaining a focus on youth development by working in various teaching positions. Claudio first engaged with the nonprofit sector while interning with CASA for Children of DC, where they were tasked with creating solutions to increase virtual youth engagement as well as conducting research to support the grant application process. They earned a bachelor’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution with a concentration in Interpersonal Dynamics from George Mason University.

Hollie Marston

Network Director

Hollie Marston is the network director, responsible for nurturing the vitality of our network of regional collaboratives. She is experienced in facilitating communities of practice and enjoys creating spaces for changemakers to accelerate collaborative innovation and learning. Prior to joining the National Fund, Hollie spent 10 years at FSG, a strategy consulting firm, where she deepened her knowledge of systems change, engaged community foundations in advancing impact, led the Retail Opportunity Network of workforce organizations, and supported a community of employers advancing job quality through Talent Rewire. Prior to FSG, Hollie worked within the field of socially responsible investing, assessing company practice on a variety of social and environmental metrics.

Mary O'Neill

Chief Administrative Officer

Mary O’Neill joined the National Fund in 2023 after two decades of working to build strong and effective organizations focused on social change. In her role as chief administrative officer she leads all aspects of financial, administrative, and human resource strategy, driving towards operational excellence in service of the National Fund’s strategic goals and racial equity and inclusion values. She developed an expertise in operations and finance while serving in leadership positions at a variety of organizations including United Philanthropy Forum, Families USA, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Georgetown University. Mary earned a master’s degree in public and international affairs and a certificate in nonprofit management from the University of Pittsburgh, and a bachelor’s degree from Bradley University.

Michelle Rafferty

Chief Program Officer

As chief program officer on the executive team at the National Fund, Michelle Rafferty articulates and implements the strategic vision of the organization and oversees the National Fund’s program portfolio across our four solutions. Michelle has spent her career creating and launching efforts that strive to reduce unemployment and poverty while promoting racial, socio-economic equity. She is skilled in strategic planning, leadership, resource development and project management and has a strong interest in building and sustaining collaborative relationships within and across organizations. Before joining the National Fund, Michelle was chief strategy and operating officer for Detroit at Work, where she was responsible for the development and operations of workforce initiatives that equip Detroiters with skills and opportunities that lead to family-sustaining employment. Michelle has also served a variety of roles at Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, SER Metro Detroit, and Central States SER. She began her career at United Way for Southeastern Michigan, where Michelle played a key role in the design and launch of the Greater Detroit Centers for Working Families. Michelle earned a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan.

Tom Strong

Director of Employer Activation

Tom Strong is a passionate advocate for worker voice and the business benefits of investing in good jobs. As the National Fund’s director of employer activation, he leads efforts to engage employers in local industry partnerships to increase their competitive advantage, make jobs better, and build more resilient communities. Tom previously co-led the Hitachi Foundation’s Good Companies/Good Jobs program, and also worked as an open-book management coach with the Great Game of Business. Tom has an MBA from the University of Arizona, a bachelor’s degree from Reed College, and is a founding board director of the Georgia Center for Employee Ownership.

Michelle Wilson

Director of Evaluation and Learning

Michelle Wilson, Ed.D., is the director of evaluation and learning at the National Fund. Michelle has worked in a variety of settings focusing on issues of access and equity in health and educational settings.  She has spent over 18 years conducting community-level research, evaluation, and program development and specializes in research and evaluation design and implementation in complex and challenging settings. Michelle earned a doctorate in adult and community college education from North Carolina State University, a master's degree in applied anthropology from the University of Maryland, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from North Carolina A&T State University.

Abby Wood

Program Manager, Change Systems

Abby Wood is a program manager at the National Fund, supporting efforts related to systems change. Prior to joining the National Fund, Abby worked as a research manager with McKinley Advisors, a strategy consulting firm, leading research efforts and leveraging her experience in the public and nonprofit sectors to create solutions for clients across a variety of industries. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Truman State University in Missouri, and a master’s degree in nonprofit management at the American University School of Public Affairs.