Linda Collins, founder and executive director

Linda Collins, founder and executive director of Career Ladders Project, focuses on institutional reforms that can improve college and career outcomes for low-income students and students of color—and that can eliminate equity gaps. She has extensive experience with educational policy, frequently advising state and national policy makers.

Linda has researched and written policy briefs, white papers, and articles; advised state agencies, legislative staff, and policymakers on evidence-based frameworks and strategies to improve educational and workforce systems; and led technical assistance and capacity building efforts focused on systemic improvements to postsecondary institutions.

She is working with the California Community College (CCC) system and colleges across California to support the state’s Guided Pathways redesign effort, a systemic approach to dramatically increasing the number of students who achieve their goals. She worked with the CCC Board of Governors to develop the Ladders of Opportunity initiative and the statewide Career Advancement Academy demonstration to connect disconnected young adults to college and career pathways. She led the CCC Linked Learning Initiative and the Bridging the Gap Initiative, both funded by the James Irvine Foundation, to improve postsecondary transition and success for high school graduates.

Linda is also the founder and executive director of LearningWorks, a partnership of CLP focused on improving community college student achievement. She was an expert advisor to the California Department of Education’s Adult Education Strategic Planning Initiative; served on the U.S. Department of Education’s Policy-to-Performance Initiative focused on improving transitions of adult learners to college and career; and represented California on the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways, a national effort to create a framework for measuring success in adult pathway initiatives.

Linda’s leadership includes a rich history of nonprofit board service. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Linked Learning Alliance, which is dedicated to scaling a proven, systemic approach to preparing all students for both college and career. And she is president of the board of the non-partisan California EDGE Coalition—including business, labor, community colleges, workforce boards and social justice organizations—focused on policy change and alignment to improve California’s postsecondary and workforce systems.

Prior to founding CLP, Linda was founding director of the Intersegmental Major Preparation Articulated Curriculum (IMPAC), a major initiative to improve articulation across the segments of higher education in California. She served two terms as president of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, and she is a past chair of the national Committee on Community Colleges of the American Association of University Professors. She taught sociology and interdisciplinary studies at Los Medanos College for over 15 years. She also held faculty appointments at Santa Rosa Junior College and at San Francisco State University.