Linda Collins

executive director and founder

Linda Collins, founder and executive director of Career Ladders Project (CLP), focuses on institutional reforms that can improve college and career outcomes for low-resourced students and students of color—and that can eliminate opportunity gaps and disrupt inequities in higher education. She has extensive experience with educational policy, frequently advising state and national policy makers.

Linda has authored 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.

Linda currently works with the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) and colleges across the state to launch the 9th Grade to Baccalaureate strategy in support of the CCC Board of Governors’ Vision 2030. She and her team also work closely with the California Department of Education (CDE) to provide capacity building supports to state-funded dual enrollment partnerships.

Together with Education Trust-West and the Linked Learning Alliance, CLP has launched Fast Forward California, a partnership focused on promoting coherence across education and workforce systems and ensuring that recent state investments such as the Golden State Pathways Program and dual enrollment grants result in increased college completion, meaningful employment and equitable outcomes.

Linda also leads the Dual Enrollment for Equitable Completion (DE4EC) initiative, co-funded by the College Futures Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, focused on supporting colleges and K-12 partners in building dual enrollment programs centered on equitable access and completion for students underserved by higher education.

She has worked 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.

Linda served as an expert advisor to the California Department of Education’s Adult Education Strategic Planning Initiative. She 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 she 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, education, workforce 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 and held faculty appointments at Santa Rosa Junior College and at San Francisco State University.