Skip to main content

About Us

Launchpad is a “learn-and-earn” workforce development program that prepares students from traditionally underrepresented groups for well-paying careers in tech. The program starts in junior or senior year of high school and takes two and half years to complete.

Through our programming, students gain valuable industry exposure, receive comprehensive technical skills training and certifications, and take college courses. Upon completion, our students emerge equipped with the necessary credentials, technical skills, durable skills, and practical experience, empowering them to evolve into competent professionals fully prepared to excel in the modern workplace.

Launchpad’s mission is to build accelerated pathways connecting high school students to high paying tech careers.

Our vision is that young people thrive in an economy that works for everyone.

Meet Our Team:

Launchpad Staff

Dannyelle Austin headshot
Executive Director

Dannyelle Austin

Passionate advocate for young people and spinning fanatic...

Dannyelle is a mother of three and a passionate advocate for young people. She began her work with Launchpad as the first Executive Director in 2021, after having spent over ten years in education and workforce spaces. Growing up in a single parent home in Philadelphia first sparked Dannyelle’s interest in helping young people rise above their circumstances and become something greater than society’s expectations. From an early age, she knew she wanted to spend her life dedicated to helping young adults develop and achieve their dreams. Dannyelle graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls and went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree from Franklin & Marshall College. Dannyelle holds two Master’s Degrees – Higher Educational & Organizational Development & Leadership. Her personal journey along with her professional and educational experiences have helped to shape the future that Dannyelle has imagined for herself. When not working, you can find Dannyelle spending time with her family, in a spin studio, group fitness class, nail salon, or doing hair in her spare time.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

My first dream was to be Allen Iverson’s traveling hair braider. Then, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer and that was mainly influenced by my love of the show, A Different World. Ultimately, I landed exactly where I was supposed to be.

What album can you listen to on repeat?

4 by Beyonce – I am a huge Beyonce fan and this is definitely my favorite album of hers and of all time.

Favorite hoagie or cheesesteak spot?

I grew up in Nicetown so I would have to say Max’s for the cheesesteak. Now that I am living in the Northeast, Marinucci’s for the hoagie.

What is something you would tell your 16-year-old self?

Have fun. There is always going to be a lot going on around you. Learn to dance in the rain and stay present in the moments that bring you joy. Most importantly, take every advantage available to just have fun.

Nick Imparato headshot
High School Coordinator

Nick Imparato

Skilled educator and vintage clothing enthusiast...

Nick is the 11th Grade Coordinator for Launchpad and has been with Building 21 since 2022. He was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and a proud alumnus of the Baltimore City Public Schools system. Since earning his BA from Pomona College, Nick has dedicated his career to working with young people as a technology instructor and algebra tutor. He is moved by the mission of workforce development and eager to equip the young people of Philadelphia with resources, job experience, and a creative outlet. Outside of his work, Nick enjoys biking, vintage clothing, club music, and playing with his cat, Stache.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was little I wanted to be a conductor—train or orchestra—I just wanted the title!

What album can you listen to on repeat?

Donuts by J Dilla

Favorite hoagie or cheesesteak spot?

I live near Little Saigon and nothing beats a Banh Mi sandwich from Ba Le Bakery.

What is something you would tell your 16-year-old self?

Spend less time thinking about following in other people’s footsteps and more time looking inward and deciding what you want for yourself.

Launchpad Coach

Charlene Newbill

Dedicated youth development coach and Gospel music lover...

Charlene Newbill is a Camden, NJ native, now residing in Mount Ephraim, NJ. She is an alumna of Rowan University, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She’s been with Hopeworks Camden since 2016, where she was a Hopeworks trainee, a Training Room intern, a Youth Healing Team intern, Youth Healing Team Lead, and Recruitment & Engagement Specialist.

Charlene has a huge passion for working with young people. She looks forward to continuing to pursue her dream in Youth Development and in her new role as Coach at Launchpad. She looks forward to being a positive role model, giving back and working for her community.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

At first, I wanted to be a doctor, and then I wanted to be a pediatrician. After graduating high school, I then wanted to be a fashion designer. Ultimately, after several years of working in this field, Youth Development is definitely the way I want to go.

What album can you listen to on repeat?

Since I absolutely LOVE Gospel music, it’s hard to choose. However, I could listen to any Hezekiah Walker album all day.

Favorite hoagie or cheesesteak spot?

Jersey Mikes! To me, they have some of the best hoagies.

What is something you would tell your 16 year old self?

Be yourself. You are unique. You don’t have to try to be like everyone else. You don’t have to fit in. You are BEAUTIFUL just the way you are.

Launchpad Planning Board

Executive Director, Elevate 215

Stacy Holland

A visionary leader—and frustrated musician—seeking to bring the humanity back to education...

Inspired by her former students and relentlessly optimistic about the future of education, Stacy E. Holland, Ed.D., has nearly 30 years of experience developing and implementing educational solutions for children.

As Executive Director of Philadelphia School Partnership, Stacy is fostering a positive approach to aligning the education community of Philadelphia on a common vision and working to ensure every student has the modern learning experience that builds the skills needed to thrive and reach long-term economic security.

Prior to Philadelphia School Partnership, Stacy was founder and principal of The Holland Group, a boutique consulting firm that served as a strategic advisor to public/private educational systems and philanthropic organizations and supported the development of investment portfolios focused on high school redesign to career pathway models for young adults. Previously, as Executive Director of The Lenfest Foundation, Stacy managed the foundation’s endowment and annual grant budget, and was a content expert and leader within national, regional and local civic and philanthropic communities on the areas of education, youth workforce, career pathways, career and technical education, and philanthropic strategies. Before The Lenfest Foundation, she served as Chief of Strategic Partnerships for the School District of Philadelphia, where she built a new system for promoting the District’s fundraising initiatives and external relationships. Stacy also co-founded the Philadelphia Youth Network, growing the organization to a citywide entity dedicated to integrating services across more than 100 partners providing programming to nearly 20,000 youth annually.

Stacy earned a doctoral degree in learning and development from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. She also holds a bachelor’s in marketing from The College of New Jersey and a master’s in student personnel administration in higher education from Columbia University.

Co-CEO, Building 21

Chip Linehan

Committed builder of programs to support young people and an aspiring chef...

Since 2013, Chip has served as the Co-CEO and Founder of Building 21, an educational nonprofit based in Philadelphia that works with communities, schools, and programs across the country to realize a more student-centered approach to teaching, learning and youth development. Chip has spent the past two decades building innovative, entrepreneurial organizations in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. As a partner at New Enterprise Associates, the world’s largest venture capital firm, Chip made investments in start-up companies that today account for more than $8 billion in sales and have created thousands of jobs. In 1997, Chip co-founded an educational nonprofit, The SMART Program, which provides socioeconomically disadvantaged children in San Francisco with access to life-changing educational opportunities.
Co-CEO, Building 21

Laura Shubilla

Passionate youth development leader and water-loving Pisces...

Laura has spent the last twenty years focused on cross-sector, systemic solutions to improve economic and educational outcomes for urban youth. Most recently, as Co-President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network, a nationally known youth intermediary, Laura helped to build college and career partnerships and pathways that served 20,000 youth annually through credit bearing, extended learning options. Prior to her work in Philadelphia, Laura started one of the first New Visions High Schools located in the South Bronx, NY. Laura’s work has involved the integration and alignment of complex funding streams, diverse stakeholders, and siloed systems in service to college and career readiness for high school age youth.