November 03, 2017

Paige Marlatt Dorr

Office: 916.327.5356

Cell: 916.601.8005

Office E-mail:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Van Ton-Quinlivan, California Community Colleges vice chancellor for workforce and digital futures, is the recipient of the statewide 2017 California Steward Leader Award, selected for her significant contributions to aligning public-, private- and civic-sector leaders to promote economic and social progress in all regions of the state. The award is an initiative of the California Economic Summit in partnership with California Forward and the California Stewardship Network.

Ton-Quinlivan was recognized on November 2 during the California Economic Summit at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel.  The Summit is attended by leaders from all regions of California who come together on an annual basis to work on common issues of importance to the state’s triple bottom line: one million more skilled workers, one million more acre-feet of water and one million more units of affordable housing.

“It is a great honor to be of service to California and Californians,” states Ton-Quinlivan. “I am thankful to Governor Jerry Brown and Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley for the opportunity to bring forth my private and public-sector background to shape the role of California Community Colleges in building a strong workforce that fuels regional economies and advances social mobility.”

The California Steward Leader Award celebrates “state and regional leaders who help sustain California as a place to create and thrive, to enjoy and to explore, to nurture and to bestow to future generations.” Past recipients of this award include former California Sen. Becky Morgan, Bud Colligan of the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership and Sunne Wright McPeak of the California Emerging Technology Fund.

“I admire Van’s vision and courageous tenacity in driving forward the state’s workforce agenda and bringing such an inclusive group along to help reach the goal,” said Bill Allen, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation and a member of the California Steward Leader Award selection committee.

“Vice Chancellor Ton-Quinlivan is a dynamic leader, and the work she and the rest of the state Chancellor’s Office team are doing to build a stronger workforce is helping to lift more Californians into the middle class and beyond,” said Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “We are fortunate to have a person with her vision and experience helping to move California forward.”

Ton-Quinlivan is a nationally recognized thought leader in workforce development with a proven track record for implementing large-scale system change, due in part to her ability to inspire others toward a common, unifying vision. Appointed by the governor in 2011 as vice chancellor of workforce and economic development (now workforce and digital futures), she oversees federal and state funding that advance the workforce mission across California’s 114 community colleges, the largest higher education system in the nation.

As vice chancellor, Ton-Quinlivan spearheaded the creation of Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy, a unifying framework to improve workforce outcomes for California’s 2.1 million community college students and fuel strong regional economies. During her tenure, her administrative responsibility has grown from $100 million to $900 million as a result of her ability to inspire others toward a common vision.

Named a White House Champion of Change in 2013, she has been quoted in the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Ed, and has contributed to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, U.S. News & World Report, the Fresno Bee, and others. Ton-Quinlivan is a board member of National Skills Coalition and the California Council on Science & Technology, and she serves on the National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship. Prior to her current role, Ton-Quinlivan oversaw workforce development for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). She holds degrees from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford Graduate School of Education and Georgetown University.

The California Economic Summit also recognized the recipient of the first regional 2017 California Steward Leader Award: Deborah Nankivell, chief executive officer of the Fresno Business Council.

California Community Colleges was further honored during the California Economic Summit, as two of its career education programs at Chaffey College and Antelope Valley College were among winners of the organization’s Partnerships for Industry and Education Contest. The InTECH Learning Center is a public-private partnership between Chaffey College and California Steele Industries – along with along with 12 other regional community colleges, the Manufacturers Council and the local county workforce agency – tasked with increasing the number of skilled manufacturing craft workers in the Inland Empire. The Antelope Valley Career Pathways Group is a partnership of Antelope Valley College, the City of Palmdale, Goodwill of Southern California, L.A. County Workforce Development and Northrop Grumman designed to fill a need for thousands of trained workers in the region, in large part because of Northrop Grumman winning a large Department of Defense contract to build aircraft in Palmdale. 

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation composed of 72 districts and 114 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills education and prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. For more information about the community colleges, please visit our website.