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Guest Speaker

John Colborn

John Colborn

Director, Skills for Americas Future, Aspen Institute

John Colborn is Director of Skills for America's Future, an employer-led workforce development initiative of the Aspen institute. SAF works with leading national firms to identify and champion solutions that improve the competitiveness of the United States labor force and advance economic opportunity for American workers. SAF focuses on community colleges and community college leaders to enhance the effectiveness of these critical institutions in meeting the workforce development needs of employers and communities.

Previously, he served as Vice President of Operations at the Ford Foundation, where he was responsible for overseeing grants administration, information technology, knowledge management, NY headquarters operations, and overseas operations. He joined the Foundation as a grant maker in the workforce development field working on industry-targeted workforce development, community colleges, and national policy. He remains active in several foundation-related groups, including serving as a board member of the Foundation Center and as a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Effective Philanthropy.

Prior to joining the Foundation, John worked for over twelve years for a variety of non-profit organizations, including The Reinvestment Fund, a community development financial institution serving the greater Philadelphia region. There he headed up the capacity-building, training, and technical assistance affiliate of the Reinvestment Fund and served as director of the Fund’s Jobs Initiative, a regional job training and placement effort, targeting low-income communities and focused on job training and placement in the manufacturing and data intensive sectors of the regional economy. In addition to workforce and economic development, his professional background includes stints in affordable housing development, community organizing, and trade association management.

John holds Bachelor’s degrees in Government and Economics from Oberlin College and a Masters of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

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The Opportunity
For community colleges to become essential catalysts to California’s economic recovery and jobs creation at the local, regional and state levels.

The Strategy
Doing What MATTERS for jobs and the economy is a four-pronged framework to respond to the call of our nation, state, and regions to close the skills gap. The four prongs are:

  • Give Priority for Jobs and the Economy
  • Make Room for Jobs and the Economy
  • Promote Student Success
  • Innovate for Jobs and the Economy
California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office