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Van Ton-Quinlivan

Vice Chancellor for Workforce and Economic Development

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Vice Chancellor Van Ton-QuinlivanVan Ton-Quinlivan is a nationally recognized thought leader in workforce development with a proven track record for implementing large-scale system change. Appointed by the Governor in 2011 as Vice Chancellor of Workforce & Economic Development, she oversees federal and state funding that advance the workforce mission across California’s 113 community colleges, one of the largest and most complex higher education system in the nation. Her administrative responsibility has grown to $700 million from an initial $100 million in program funds as a result of her ability to inspire others toward a common, unifying vision.

Ton-Quinlivan’s leadership focus on Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy ( successfully consolidated California's two apprenticeship programs, integrated its adult education systems comprised of 200+ providers, regionalized the planning of career technical education across 113 colleges, and shepherded the implementation of the federal Workforce Innovation & Opportunities Act (WIOA) by seven state agencies. She was named a White House Champion of Change in 2013 for her distinguished career in industry, education, and service as a community leader.

Van Ton-Quinlivan secured the successful passage of two legislations 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. In 2014-15, she spearheaded the Board of Governors Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation and a Strong Economy, bringing together industry, labor, social justice, public workforce agencies, and youth advocates to work together with community college leaders to develop a set of “strong workforce” policy recommendations to close the gap on the industry-valued “middle-skill” credentials needed by California. The resulting twenty-five recommendations were unanimously adopted by the Board of Governors in the fall of 2015.

Van Ton-Quinlivan was honored to witness President Obama sign the Workforce Innovation & Opportunities Act (WIOA) legislation in 2014. She 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. 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, she participated in 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 Pacific Gas & Electric, 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.

While at Pacific Gas & Electric, 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. She 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 country’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 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.