UNITE-LA’s Alma Salazar Earns National Recognition for Workforce Efforts

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UNITE-LA Executive Vice President Alma Salazar speaking at the 2018 California Economic Summit (Photo: Will Bucquoy/CAFwd)

A California workforce leader has been nationally honored for her work in creating and promoting improvement in workforce preparation public policy.

UNITE-LA Executive Vice President Alma Salazar, Ed.D., was named Skills Champion Award Winner this week by the National Skills Coalition during their annual Skills Summit in Washington, DC.

“Alma inspires her colleagues and me with her unending commitment and dedication to ensuring our work creates pathways to economic and social mobility for our country’s most vulnerable workers. We are so proud she has been recognized for this critical work,” said David Rattray, president and CEO of UNITE-LA. “UNITE-LA is not only proud to have Alma as our Executive Vice President, but we, and the future of L.A.’s workforce, are the better because of it.”

UNITE-LA is a nonprofit organization that leads collaborative education reform efforts, promotes business-education partnerships, expands college access and provides workforce development opportunities for youth in the Los Angeles area.

The California Economic Summit has identified better workforce preparation as an imperative for California to continue to compete as a global economic power. Dr. Salazar has been intimately involved in the Summit’s workforce development goals and efforts. 

“Alma has distinguished herself as one of the state's most dynamic leaders on the issue of workforce development and equity,” said Micah Weinberg, California Forward CEO. “As a long-time partner of the California Economic Summit, Alma has helped shape important policy solutions to California's workforce preparation that will benefit us in the years to come.”

As a member of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, Dr. Salazar has long been a proponent of the critical role that community colleges play in addressing the regional workforce needs.

California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley called her award “an excellent choice.”

The Colleges' former Vice Chancellor for Workforce and Economic Development echoed those sentiments.

“Alma has been a steadfast partner in promoting smart workforce policies, always considering their impact on equity and whether they work for employers,” said Van Ton-Quinlivan, now the chief executive officer at Futuro Health. “She's richly deserving of this recognition.”

While Salazar’s work statewide and nationally has earned her a strong national reputation, her focus in the greater Los Angeles area has long been widely felt and appreciated.

“Alma has been a tireless, noble and impactful warrior in the fight to ensure our education and workforce development systems are providing all students and incumbent workers with the most current and relevant knowledge and skills to equip them for success in our economy and society and create more broadly shared prosperity in the process,” said Bill Allen, CEO of the Los Angeles Area Economic Development Corporation.

“Alma's seminal work in promoting and improving the Strong Workforce Program in California's community colleges has helped employers and students alike. She's an authentic and inspirational leader and I'm pleased that her considerable contribution to California's workforce preparation imperative is celebrated and recognized,” said Francisco Rodriguez, chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District.

The National Skills Coalition is a broad-based coalition working toward a vision of an America that grows its economy by investing in its people so that every worker and every industry has the skills to compete and prosper. We engage in organizing, advocacy, and communications to advance state and federal policies that support these goals – policies that are based on the on-the-ground expertise of our members.


Ed Coghlan

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