Meet the Staff - Workforce Development




Duncan Ermer | Director of Workforce Development

Duncan Ermer has been with Skills for Rhode Island’s Future since 2018 and is currently the Director of Workforce Development. Since joining SkillsRI, Duncan has helped oversee 600 candidates obtain enrollment into innovative training programs and helped over 200 candidates with finding employment. Before working at SkillsRI, Duncan was the Director of Career Services at a local trade school where he provided resume writing, interview workshops, job coaching, and pre-employment training to students. During his tenure at the school, he was able to assist over 2500 graduates with re-entering the workforce into new and exciting career pathways. He has over 10 years of experience in one-on-one coaching with job seekers to help them make their return to the workforce via training programs and/or direct employment.

Specialty Areas

  • Job Readiness Services e.g. Professional cover letter/resume writing, elevator pitch and interview preparation
  • Experienced and knowledgeable in Manufacturing, Security, and Transportation industries
  • Coaching for youth populations or entry-level job seekers and career changers

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Christina Battista | Supported Employment Coordinator

Christina Battista is currently a Skills for Rhode Island’s Future Supported Employment Coordinator where she primarily focuses on helping individuals that identify as having disabilities prepare for and successfully secure meaningful employment. Previously she’s worked with various nonprofits where she was an advocate for people who identify with having a disability and face challenges like employment or housing. Christina is known to be passionate about her work and a great resource to the disabilities community.

Specialty Areas

  • Resource Referrals e.g. Connecting candidates to disability-related resources within Rhode Island
  • Advocate for those who are work-ready who have a disability

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Priscilla Guertin | Career Coach

Priscilla is currently a Skills for Rhode Island’s Future Career Coach who is bilingual. Since joining SkillsRI she has worked on various projects within Workforce Development. She often leads presentations in Spanish, actively recruits and supports individuals navigate Microsoft Pathways for upskilling. She also supports candidates with resume writing, interview preparation, change of career counseling, one on one coaching and constantly promotes hot jobs. Outside of SkillsRI Priscilla is a Career Coach under the Governor’s Coaching Corp, a Mentor for the Rhode Island Leadership Partners, and a member of the Puerto Rican Professionals Association of Rhode Island. Priscilla has spent the last ten years of her career working with Non-Profits with a focus on developing individuals to secure employment and plan for a successful career.

Specialty Areas

  • Job Readiness Services e.g. Professional cover letter/resume writing, elevator pitch and interview preparation
  • Proficient in speaking, reading and writing Spanish. Addressing English language barriers for the Spanish speaking community by connecting them to various community educational and social services
  • Connection point for training and education programs that line up with candidate career interests
  • Link for free self-study online skills building courses

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Zakary Keathley | Manager of Talent Development

Zakary Keathley is currently a Manager of Talent Development at Skills for Rhode Island’s Future. Zak graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor’s Degree of Education in December 2018. He started his career in workforce development at Favorite Healthcare Staffing in Worcester, MA, as a Healthcare Recruiter for New England long-term care facilities. In addition to his current civilian title, Zak actively serves as a Platoon Leader in the Massachusetts National Guard serving since November 2014. Zak has a passion for service and guiding individuals in a positive direction towards achieving their personal and professional goals.

Specialty Areas

  • Job Readiness Services e.g. Professional cover letter/resume writing, elevator pitch and interview preparation
  • Career Planning for Veterans i.e. transitioning Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve Component service members
  • Employment Services e.g. navigating job search portals, referral for train to hire programs or jobs
  • Connection point for training and education programs that line up with candidate career interests

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Onika Lord | Manager of Career Counseling

Onika Lord, the Manager of Career Counseling at Skills for Rhode Island’s Future, joined the team in 2017 after relocating from New York City where she worked for four years with a government-funded workforce development agency and several different workforce initiatives focused on special populations in underserved communities.

Specialty Areas

  • Job Readiness Services e.g. Professional cover letter/resume writing, elevator pitch and interview preparation
  • Career planning for individuals living in subsidized housing
  • Interview preparedness for the general population as well as those with a criminal background

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Danna Spencer | Senior Manager of Supported Employment

Danna Spencer is a Nationally Certified Employment Specialist (C.E.S.P.) who joined the Skills for Rhode Island's Future team as the Senior Manager of Supported Employment in August of 2020. She brings over a decade of experience as a job developer creating and maintaining partnerships with employers, industry organizations, and public sector agencies to source job openings, customize, create and secure employment or training opportunities and to prepare candidates for entry into the workforce.

Specialty Areas

  • Working with candidates who present significant challenges to employment, assisting them in discovering and representing their unique strengths, abilities, and interests while simultaneously attending to the demand-driven needs of the employer and their business.