Born in rural Georgia, Vernon Hood was officially adopted at age 2 by Mr. Clifford and Frances Taylor from Sandybottom, Georgia and became Vernon H. Taylor. He was enrolled into and graduated from Atkinson Training School, an all-black primary and secondary educational institution. He joined the U.S. Army when he was 18 and completed 3 year’s active duty in Germany. Vernon stayed in Germany and worked while using his GI Bill benefits to pursue an undergraduate degree in Law Enforcement, Business Management, and Social Science from the University of Maryland and a graduate degree in Guidance Counseling from Boston University. He has held several roles including:
Learning Center Director
Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor
Confinement Facility Counselor
Drug and Alcohol Counselor
University Field Representative
Guidance Counselor, Education Services Officer
Director of Marine Corps Lifelong Learning Program Worldwide
Head of Marine Corps Family Services Programs
Vice President of Military Programs for National University
President of Workforce Training and Education Alliance
Upon returning the United States Mr. Taylor became the Director, Off Duty Voluntary Education (VOLED) at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Quantico, Virginia. He was responsible for the policy, guidance, and funding of the worldwide academic and transition programs that consisted of Libraries (18), Voluntary Off-Duty Education, and Transition support services for over 186,000 Marines and their families. The Lifelong Learning Program he developed consists of programs for Afloat College Education, Tuition Assistance, Marine Corps Satellite Education Network, Servicemember Opportunity College of the Marine Corps, Apprenticeship Program, Veterans Education Benefits, DOD Dependent Education Association for the Marine Corps, Libraries, and Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support. During his tenure working for the Marine Corps, he also became the Head, Personal Services Branch and was responsible for full legal compliance, implementation, administration, and evaluation for the Lifelong Learning, Prevention and Intervention, and Mobility Programs.
Key accomplishments during his tenure with the Marine Corps, initiating and implementing the Sailor-Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript (SMART), now known as the Joint Services Transcript (JST). The JST documents the number of potential college credits the American Council on Education (ACE) recommends for formal military training and occupational experience. The primary purpose of the JST/(SMART) is to assist service members in obtaining college credit for their military experience.
Mr. Taylor also lead the efforts in revamping the Navy Apprenticeship Program which he initiated the renaming to United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP). USMAP, is a partnership between the US Department of Labor (DOL) and the military that lets service members use their on-duty experience to earn journeyman status in a trade.
While serving as the Associate Vice President, Military Programs for National University. Vernon provided innovative and visionary leadership for the expansion and growth of military student enrollment and student concierge services. He created and implemented strategic and tactical programs that continue to propel National University as the leader of military student enrollment, matriculation, retention, and advancement The National University System is a network of accredited nonprofit education institutions serving higher education and K-12 students.
Mr. Taylor is a proud Army Veteran, and served 43 years in the Military education affiliated services, wanting to “give back” he continues to serve as the President of Workforce Training and Education Alliance (WTEA). WTEA focuses on bridging the gap between education & training and the needs of industry to ensure the successful placement of individuals into careers in high-demand industries, the military and/or post-secondary education.
WTEA is dedicated to uniting and aligning partners to bridge the gaps in the education and workforce ecosystem advancing social and economic progress for all.
Mr. Taylor is a recipient of the John Brian Service and Leadership Award (2007) and the Tilton Davis Jr. “Military Educator of the Year” Award (2010) and the Presidential Life Time Achievement award in 2018.
Mr. Taylor has been married to Renate (Lehn) Taylor for more than 46 years.
Chief Innovation and Strategy Officer
As a former foster youth, Krista understands the challenges facing many of today’s underprivileged youth. Education and training represent tools to chisel one’s way from a cycle of poverty. That’s how it worked for her, as she shuttled from foster home to foster home the first decade of her life while her biological parents served prison sentences, a byproduct of their addictions.
With nearly a decade of experience working directly with youth, overseeing youth programs, and consulting for the national office of Job Corps she believes education, advocacy, innovation, and systems improvement is critical to creating opportunities for the next generation. She has served as the Executive Director for a local workforce development board where she discovered a passion for systems thinking and cultivating local, regional, and national partnerships to connect people with the resources—education, skills, training—they need to enter the workforce and strengthen communities.
She brings experience in product development and integrating technology solutions as a co-founder of a tech startup focused on developing software to addressing disparities in workforce and education. As the Chief Innovation and Strategy Officer, Krista will lead business development and expansion efforts.
Krista holds a Master’s in organizational leadership and a Bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership.