Contact Info
Office: (510) 268-0566
Cell: (510) 504-6898

— Elisha Smith Arrillaga


Lead Responsibility:

Elisha Smith Arrillaga, Ph.D. is a Director at the Career Ladders Project (CLP) where she provides strategic support in connecting lessons from the field to local and state policy development. She brings to her current work a diverse resume of community-based, philanthropic, and public policy experience.

Areas of concentration:

Dr. Smith Arrillaga leads several broad-based initiatives to align the work of school districts, county offices of education, employers, community colleges, and community-based organizations to develop pathways to college and career for California students.


Previously, Dr. Smith Arrillaga served as a Fellow in the Effective Philanthropy Group of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, where she was responsible for overseeing grant portfolios that supported youth-serving organizations and leading strategy development for new initiatives focused on opportunity youth. She also has more than ten years of experience providing technical assistance to nonprofit organizations and government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education, District of Columbia Department of Human Services, SIA Tech Charter Schools, and First 5 Los Angeles. She has also volunteered and worked with several college access programs, and she has taught and consulted on strategic planning and evaluation as a Fellow at the Princeton University Community-Based Learning Initiative and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. She is especially excited by opportunities to authentically engage communities in decision making and strongly believes in the importance of communities and organizations working together to co-create change. She holds a Ph.D. in public affairs from Princeton University, an M.S. in survey methodology from the University of Maryland at College Park, and a B.A. in mathematics from Smith College.