GCC announces Jennifer Wakefield as director of BEST Center

Posted 11 October 2022 at 3:39 pm

Press Release, Genesee Community College

Jennifer Wakefield

BATAVIA – Genesee Community College is pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer G. Wakefield as Executive Director of Workforce Development for The Business Employee Skills and Training (BEST) Center.

Leaving her previous role as Director of Development and Alumni Affairs with The GCC Foundation, Wakefield will begin her new role on Oct. 17.

“I’m passionate about workforce development and improving the lives of others and the community as a whole,” Wakefield said. “This new role will allow GCC to offer education and training to fill the middle skills gap in a timely manner. I look forward to working with local businesses and workforce partners to help our community thrive even more.”

Wakefield brings to the role over 25 years of experience in nonprofit organizations, migrant education, and workforce development. Originally from Ohio, she graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts from The University of South Dakota.

Among her previous roles, Jennifer was a program coordinator in The BEST Center. During that time, she managed new open-enrollment courses, workforce development programs and events for professionals in Western New York. She developed courses in Precision Agriculture, Mechatronics, a Survival Spanish Speaking Series, Supply Chain for Managers Certificate and established a professional development certification for K-12 educators.

Wakefield began her career in higher education at The Ohio State University’s Office of International Programs in Agriculture housed in the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. She managed grants and contracts from USDA, USAID, World Bank, and non-governmental agencies for short-courses and training for academic professors from around the world.

One of these programs included The Ohio Program, a well-respected international practical training program which places both international and American students in internships on agribusinesses, greenhouses, golf courses, dairy farms and vineyards.

“Jennifer already has great relationships with local businesses and workforce leaders throughout the GLOW region,” said Dr. Craig Lamb, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at GCC. “Her strong vision for new initiatives will further expand opportunities The BEST Center provides for businesses and individuals in Western New York as the region continues navigating the ever-changing landscape of career opportunities.”

Wakefield has served on local community organizations and currently serves on the GCASA Board of Directors in Batavia. She resides in Warsaw with her husband, Tom. They have three children, Tanner, Quentin and Meryl.

The BEST Center at GCC is the recognized regional leader in developing the skilled workforce that powers local economic growth. The Center serves individual employees as well as businesses large and small with seminars, workshops and trainings designed to improve the performance of people and processes.