Last year, nearly 40% of U.S. employers reported difficulty filling jobs due to a lack of available talent. The increasing gap between available talent and business workforce needs poses a growing threat to the economic welfare of the region. This program explores the nature of the talent shortage, its causes, implications and ways in which local educational institutions and businesses are working to creatively address the issue.

Debbie Horne, Moderator



Michelle Greer, Vice President HR, Procore

Mark Schneipp, Director of the California Economic Forecast

Amir Abo Shaeer, Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Foundation, Founder

Dr. Paul Jarrell, SBCC, Executive Vice President


About the Speakers

Michelle Greer
Vice President HR, Procore

mgreerphotoMichelle Greer is the Vice-President of People at Procore, responsible for all aspects of Human Resources. This includes talent acquisition, learning and development, compensation, and people services.

Michelle has broad executive experience in Human Resources. Most recently, she founded and ran a successful HR consulting practice, with clients in California, Utah, and Arizona. Prior to that she served as Vice President of Human Resources at SkyStream Networks, a computer networking company in Sunnyvale, CA.

Before SkyStream, Michelle was the Global Infrastructure Human Resources Manager for Agilent Technologies, the communications and life sciences company spin-off from HP. She formerly held other significant Human Resources positions within Hewlett-Packard, Apollo Computer, BayBanks Inc., and General Electric Company.

Michelle holds a Masters degree from Harvard University and a Bachelors degree from Whitman College. Additional professional certification includes Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), The Emotional Intelligence Indicator (EQi), the Strong Interest Inventory, and the PDI Profilor.

Mark Schneipp
Director, California Economic Forecast

mark-schnieppDr. Schniepp is Director of the California Economic Forecast in Santa Barbara. The company prepares forecasts and commentary on the U.S. economy and the regional economies of California. Dr. Schniepp develops real estate and economic forecast publications and presents the findings at large public conferences in Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, and the Santa Clarita Valley. In addition he participates with the UCLA Anderson Forecast in the preparation of the annual Orange County Economic Forecast at UC Irvine during the spring of each year.

Dr Schniepp is a routine presenter to large organizations and associations on the current state and future outlook of the California economy.

Dr. Schniepp served as senior economist to Kathleen Connell, the California State Controller from 1999 to 2003 and Director of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project between 1985 and 2000. As a past faculty member in the Department of Econo­mics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he taught intermediate microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, applied regional modeling, applied econome­trics, and forecasting.

Dr. Schniepp received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1985.  His fields of research for the degree were econometrics, regional economics, and natural resources.

Amir Abo-Shaeer
Founder, Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Foundation

amirAmir Abo-Shaeer earned a B.S. in Physics, and advanced degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to his career in education, he worked as a mechanical engineer in academia, aerospace, and telecommunications.

Abo-Shaeer began developing the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy (DPEA) at Dos Pueblos High School in 2002. He was the only teacher, and his first engineering class was comprised of 33 boys and 2 girls. The program now has 13 staff members and a gender-balanced cohort of 400 students, which is 20% of the high school student body. Over 50 active community volunteers share their time and expertise with the students as mentors for the Business Teams, which function as departments in a company to perform the work of running the DPEA, including maintaining the website, managing IT, and writing grants.

To grow the program from its original 35 students, Abo-Shaeer worked with several volunteers to establish the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Foundation (DPEAF) and raise $6 million to create an engineering facility on campus. The Elings Center for Engineering Education opened in January, 2012, and made possible the implementation of the “Art of Engineering” interdisciplinary, project/design-based STEAM curriculum. Seniors in the program have the opportunity to work on large-scale kinetic installations such as the Carousel of Physics, and engage in the complete product development cycle.

Amir Abo-Shaeer has served as a keynote speaker at events and conferences and has garnered numerous awards for his educational innovation, including a MacArthur Fellowship (2010), a UCSB

Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Engineering (2011), and a Paul Allen Distinguished Educator Award (2014). He continues his work as the Director of the DPEA where he is teaching Engineering

Design and Mechatronics and developing curriculum focused on project/design-based learning. Abo-Shaeer is also working toward establishing an Innovation Institute to foster educational innovation through hosting visiting faculty from around the country who want to collaborate and/or learn how to become educational innovators in their communities.

Dr. Paul Jarrell
Santa Barbara City College, Executive Vice President of Education Programs

photo-jarrell-paul-003Paul Jarrell currently serves as Executive Vice President, Educational Programs at Santa Barbara City College.  He has been in this position since June, 2016.  At SBCC, Paul provides leadership and oversight to all instructional and student services programs.  In addition, he is actively engaged in enrollment management, accreditation, and strategic planning.

Prior to coming to Santa Barbara City College, Paul was an Academic Affairs administrator at Pasadena City College serving as Dean of Science and Mathematics, Dean of Business, Engineering, and Technology, and Dean of Instructional Support.  Before moving into administration, Paul was a long-term faculty member in the Biological Sciences at Pasadena City College, Cosumnes River College, Southern Oregon University, and the University of Oregon.  Paul has his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Ohio University and his Ph.D. in Biology and Quantitative Genetics from the University of Oregon.  Dr. Jarrell also served as the founding Director for the Los Angeles/Orange County Biotechnology Center.  In collaboration with Pasadena City College, the Center functioned to provide a trained and trainable workforce pipeline for regional bioscience industries.

“I can’t imagine spending my time doing anything else”, says Paul. “The work we do is powerful.  Not only do we change lives, we change them for generations”.


deb-head-shotThis program will be moderated by Debbie Horne. Debbie is the Vice President of Human Resources & Administration for Seek Thermal, Inc., a design and manufacturer of high quality thermal imaging products and core platforms for consumer and commercial applications. Debbie has served as the Human Resource Leader for several start-up organizations in Santa Barbara, including Indigo Systems (acquired by FLIR) FastClick (acquired by ValueClick) and Inogen. She is currently on the faculty in UCSB’s Technology Management Program (TMP) and a past instructor in USCB’s Human Resource Management Certificate Program. In addition, Debbie partnered with the SHRM Foundation, in bringing research data on the Skills Gap to hundreds of Human Resource and Business Professionals during The California State HR & Legislative Conference in Sacramento, CA which she chaired for four years. Debbie previously served as the California State Director for the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and board advisor for SHRM, the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), and The SHRM Foundation and is a past President of the Santa Barbara Human Resource Association.

Debbie holds a Masters in Organizational Management, a BA in Business Administration, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, and a Certificate in Human Resource Management from UCLA.


Event Registration:

When:  Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Where: Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center, 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, CA 93103


  • Student $15.00
  • Regular (Online pre-registration only) $30.00
    SIGN UP BY Mon., Jan. 16 to receive the online discount ($10 off general rate, at door)!!
  • At the Door $40.00
  • Parking $4.00 – $6.00 (separate; paid at lot)


  • 5:00 – 6:00 Networking Hour, Check-in & Registration for Walk-ins
  • 6:00 – 7:30 Discussion
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Q&A

Registration includes appetizers and refreshments.

If you miss the early-bird registration, not to worry! We welcome walk-in guests to register at the registration table in the lobby of the venue.

Online event registration for Skills Chasm powered by Eventbrite
Recent Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email at [email protected] and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search