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Van Ton-Quinlivan is a nationally recognized thought leader in workforce development, a proven implementer of large-scale system change, and a unifying figure who is popular in California.

Van Ton-Quinlivan was named a White House Champion of Change in 2013 for her distinguished career in industry and education as well as her committed service as a community leader.

In her current role as Vice Chancellor for Workforce and Economic Development of California’s Community Colleges, Van Ton-Quinlivan oversees the division that administers funding to advance the workforce mission across California’s 113 community colleges, the largest and most complex higher education system in the nation. In this position, her administrative responsibility has grown to $700 million from an initial $60 million in program funds. This increase recognizes Van Ton-Quinlivan’s strategic thinking, ability to align divergent stakeholders towards a common agenda, effectiveness at rolling out change, and operational acumen.

Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 as Vice Chancellor, Van Ton-Quinlivan’s leadership focus is Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy ( with the goal of improving workforce outcomes for California’s 2.1 million community college students and fueling strong regionaleconomies. Her work gave rise to the successful passage of two legislative bills that fund “stackable” credentials and career pathways in California. Under her championship, the California Community Colleges garnered a USDA memorandum of understanding in support of small business growth and jobs in rural areas and received the Presidential “E” Award in recognition of their contributions to increasing exports.

 Van Ton-Quinlivan was appointed to the National Advisory Committee for Apprenticeship by the U.S. Secretaries of Labor Hilda Solis and Tom Perez to provide advice and recommendations on policies affecting apprenticeship programs. She managed the consolidation of California’s apprenticeship program funds under her office in 2014.

As a strategy to bring more Californians out of poverty, Van Ton-Quinlivan oversaw a politically complex transition of the adult education system to the California Community Colleges.

Van Ton-Quinlivan was honored to witness President Obama sign the Workforce Innovation & Opportunities Act (WIOA) legislation in 2014. She now chairs California’s implementation of WIOA across seven state agencies.

 In 2014-15, Van Ton-Quinlivan architected the statewide Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation and a Strong Economy, bringing together constituents from industry, labor, social justice, public workforce agencies, and youth advocates to work together with community college leaders to develop a consensus set of policy recommendations for the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. The 26-member task force was informed by 20 events across the state that solicited input and framed policy deliberations to address a statewide gap of 1 million industry-valued “middle-skill” credentials. The entire initiative was completed with unprecedented inclusiveness and accomplished in record time.

Van Ton-Quinlivan is vice chair of the National Skills Coalition, co-chair of the Workforce Action Team of the California Economic Summit, serves on the California Council on Science and Technology, and served on the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Closing the Skills Gap Implementation Team.

Most recently, Ton-Quinlivan accepted an invitation to join Tom Steyer’s Fair Shake Commission on Inequality and Opportunity in California to examine policy strategies to close the state’s income inequality gap.

Prior to her current role, Van Ton-Quinlivan oversaw workforce development for a large gas and electric utility company in California. She conceived, developed and implemented PowerPathway™, a best practice model program in workforce development recognized by the White House and industry. PowerPathway demonstrates that collaboration between industry, the public workforce system, education, and organized labor can effectively transition military veterans and members of underserved communities into well-paying energy sector jobs.

Van Ton-Quinlivan was invited to speak to the Education and Training Subcommittee of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) on the workforce needs of industry. She was among a small group of business leaders selected to attend the first White House Community College Summit which focused on increasing the credentialing of the nation’s workforce.

Van Ton-Quinlivan served on the National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP) America’s Task Force on Future Energy Jobs and on the executive committee of the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), a national organization formed by the trade associations of the nation’s electric, gas, and nuclear sectors to jointly address workforce trends. She addressed numerous state and national conference audiences, including the first Clinton Global Initiative focused on “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” the inaugural U.S.-Canada-European Commission Trilateral Roundtable on the topic of the Employment Dimension of the Transition to a Green Economy, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), and she has testified in front of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee (

Van Ton-Quinlivan resides in California with her husband and two children. She holds degrees from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford Graduate School of Education, and Georgetown University.