September 22-23, 2017 | Carlsbad, CA


As the eighth largest economy in the world, California’s economic strength is rooted in its 40 million people and the diversity of its regional economies. With California being home to more than 15 million Latinos, the future of the country’s economic prosperity is dependent on Latino students being able to earn a quality postsecondary degree that will enable them to continue to drive long term economic growth for the state and the nation. The decisions being made today about how to best educate and prepare the largest population group in the state will result in long lasting effects.

For the state to meet the needs of the 21st Century, it is important that Latino policymakers become familiar with innovative and successful policies at the postsecondary level that drive Latino success in education and in the labor market. This two-day convening brought together community college trustees, local workforce development board members, municipal level officials, and school board members from throughout California. This Institute is part of the NALEO Education Leadership Initiative (NELI) which aims to provide Latino public servants with the enhanced capacity and governance skills they need to become effective advocates for their students, families, and communities from birth to college completion.

The Institute’s program covered the following topics:

  • Cultivating Higher Education for a Strong Economy: Understanding the California Landscape
  • Strengthening Shared Leadership to Increase Student Success in Higher Education
  • Why Financial Aid Matters in Promoting College Access and Completion
  • Meeting California’s Need for College Graduates: Exploring Guided Pathways
  • The Economic Importance of a College Education: Building Partnerships to Drive Social Mobility Forward
  • Data Driven Decision Making: Using Labor Market Data to Improve Student Success
  • Opportunities Beyond WIOA: Leading Through Regional Collaboration and Systems Alignment
  • From Classroom to Industry: A Discussion on the Future of California’s Workforce

Participants strengthened their governance skills to support effective leadership, received timely information, learned best practices, and exchanged legislative policies and ideas around the most effective ways to address pressing educational issues. Participants also had the opportunity to network with colleagues and experts throughout the state and the country.


Title Sponsors


  • Friday, September 22
  • Saturday, September 23

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Sunset Foyer


8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Sunset Ballroom B


9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Sunset Ballroom A

Welcome Remarks

• Mr. Arturo Vargas, Executive Director, NALEO Educational Fund

9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Sunset Ballroom A

Session I:


Cultivating Higher Education for a Strong Economy: Understanding the California Landscape


California’s economic power has traditionally been linked to the state’s three-tiered public higher education system, in which its 145 postsecondary institutions have operated as regional innovation and job creation hubs. However, the Public Policy Institute of California projects that by 2030, California will face a shortfall of 1.1 million graduates needed in the labor market if current graduation rates remain stagnant. With more than one million Latinos currently enrolled in postsecondary institutions across the state, it is evident that the future of the state’s economic prosperity is dependent on institutions being able to increase the number of Latino graduates who are prepared to meet the changing demands of the 21st Century. This session provided participants with an update on current efforts being led by the state’s legislative body, and all three systems of higher education that aim to close the degree attainment gap and prepare our future educated workforce.

Session Chair: Mr. Arturo Vargas, Executive Director, NALEO Educational Fund

• Dr. Hans Johnson, Director and Senior Fellow, Higher Education Center, Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

• Hon. Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Chancellor, California Community Colleges

• Mr. Jason Constantouros, Senior Fiscal and Policy Analyst, Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO)

Additional Resources: 1 | 2 | 3

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Sunset Ballroom A

Session II:


Strengthening Shared Leadership to Increase Student Success in Higher Education


Today’s changing economic environment demands innovative and effective education policymaking and implementation from all levels of government in higher education. In addition, understanding the landscape of postsecondary institutions and the role of the chief executive officer, the academic senate, as well as the leadership roles of administrators and staff is important to ensure that a college’s shared governance structure thrives to serve its diverse student body. This session equipped policymakers with data trends on the diversity make-up of various leadership roles in institutions of higher education and highlighted governing strategies that support institution-wide policies and practices that promote student success in the classroom and beyond.

Session Chair: Hon. Monica C. Lozano, Board Regent, University of California Board of Regents

• Ms. Michele Siqueiros, President, The Campaign for College Opportunity
Resources: 1 | 2 | 3

• Ms. Susanna Cooper, Managing Director, Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research, School of Education, University of California, Davis
PRESENTATION | Resource: 1

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Sunset Ballroom B

Luncheon Program

Special Remarks
• Dr. Daniel Greenstein, Director of Education, Postsecondary Success, U.S. Programs, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Census 2020 Policy Update
• Mr. Arturo Vargas, Executive Director, NALEO Educational Fund

Additional Resources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Sunset Ballroom A

Session III:


Why Financial Aid Matters in Promoting College Access and Completion


As college prices continue to be on the rise, students and their families are facing unprecedented challenges in financing the cost to complete a postsecondary degree. Despite these obstacles, students and their families continue to invest in higher education because it serves as a vehicle for social and economic mobility. Although federal, state, and institutional financial aid policies and investments demonstrate a commitment to higher education and in developing the future workforce, a wide range of affordability challenges still hinder students’ ability to attain a postsecondary degree. In this session, policymakers received an overview of California’s funding streams and explored promising approaches that facilitate degree completion at the institutional level.

• Ms. Laura Szabo-Kubitz, Associate California Program Director, The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS)
PRESENTATION | AUDIO | Resources: 1 | 2 | 3

• Ms. Lupita Cortez Alcalá, Executive Director, California Student Aid Commission
PRESENTATION | AUDIO | Resources: 1 | 2 (Spanish)

3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunset Ballroom A

Session IV:


Meeting California’s Need for College Graduates: Exploring Guided Pathways


In most institutions of higher education, students are left to navigate a complex array of student support services and academic programs to successfully attain a postsecondary degree. Oftentimes many students become discouraged and drop out because they do not see a clear path to meet their goals of attaining a postsecondary degree. Therefore, many states have begun to explore implementing the Guided Pathways Model. This approach calls for institutions of higher education to restructure academic and career pathways at a systemic scale that lead to students’ end goals of transfer and college completion. To build the institutional capacity needed to implement this model, policymakers and institutional leaders must collaborate and partner to “redesign” their institutions at all levels. This session provided an overview of the guided pathways approach and highlighted early findings from institutions implementing these reforms aiming to create clearer paths to student success.

Session Chair: Hon. Sonia Lopez, Community College Board Trustee, Compton Community College District

• Dr. Darla M. Cooper, Interim Executive Director, Director of Research and Evaluation, The RP Group

• Dr. Sonya Christian, Chair, California Guided Pathways Project; President, Bakersfield College
PRESENTATION | Resources: 1 | 2 | 3

5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sunset Ballroom A

Closing Remarks

5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Carlsbad Foyer/Terrace

Opening Reception

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
State Farm™

Advance America

Opening Reception Patrons:
JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Opening Reception Supporters:
Shell Oil Company

Sponsor Resources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4