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About Us

The Education and Workforce Development Committee promotes and champions high-quality education in our region through policy advocacy, programs, and partnerships. Our members’ top priority is to build a strong, local talent pool reflective of our community.

Our Team

Sara Garcia
Director, Education & Workforce Development
[email protected]org, 408.453.4751

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David Palter
Director of Workforce Development
[email protected]  408.501.7876
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Education Committee


The Education Policy Committee seeks to promote and champion high-quality education in our region to develop a strong, diverse, local workforce through cross-sector partnerships, programs, and policy advocacy. Membership is comprised of companies who have a vested interest in developing and supporting California’s public education system.


Meetings are generally held on the second Wednesday of each month from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. These meetings generally include:

  • Speaker presentations from external non-profits, researchers, and education leaders
  • Informative briefings about SVLG policy advocacy
  • Programmatic updates and strategy sessions

A full agenda packet with location information, previous meeting minutes and policy briefing papers is distributed at least one week in advance.


  • Janikke Klem, Technology Credit Union
  • Juliet Tiffany Morales, Google

Education & Workforce Development Workplan

Higher Education and Workforce

California’s institutions of higher learning are producing STEM graduates at a lower rate than rival innovation hubs such as Boston and Austin, and our companies are turning to out-of-state talent to compete. In 2015, only 20 percent of STEM workers in Silicon Valley were born in California; in 2016, only 18 percent.

The Higher Education and Workforce Development Team seeks to build a strong, diverse pool of local STEM talent and grow our middle class through policy advocacy at the local, state and federal levels, and by developing stronger training and hiring relationships between member employers and higher education institutions through the Community College to Career initiative (CC2C), and the Silicon Valley Engineering Tech Pathways (SVETP) collaborative.


  • Achieve passage of legislation that increases enrollment and completion rates for community college STEM and Career Technical Education programs, promotes the development of industry-relevant training pathways, or ensures fair funding for CC, CSU, or UC programs.
  • Build awareness about model community college-industry partnerships through workshops and public engagement opportunities.
  • Work with industry and nonprofit partners to facilitate 780 work-based learning opportunities for community college students.

Executive Champions: Greg Becker, CEO, Silicon Valley Bank, Mary Papazian, President, San Jose State University, Ibi Krukrubo, Managing Partner, EY, Byron Breland, Chancellor, San Jose-Evergreen Community College District, Bill Nagel, Publisher and CEO, San Francisco Chronicle

Staff Lead: David Palter, Senior Associate of Higher Education and Workforce Development

K-12 Education Quality

We seek to improve public education from transitional kindergarten through 12th grade. On 2018 statewide tests, only 50 percent of students achieved a score of proficient or above in English and 39 percent in math with persistent achievement gaps between student subgroups. The Leadership Group advocates for adequate school funding with additional allocations to support high-need student populations. Additionally, we seek to address the critical, statewide teacher shortage through funding and incentives to recruit and retain effective teachers.


  • Advocate for state and local funding and incentives such as housing to recruit, train, and retain high-quality teachers.
  • Promote equitable funding and accountability through increase data transparency on the State Dashboard and defined accountability measures and support mechanisms.
  • Convene local stakeholders including policymakers, business leaders, and school leaders to support quality public education.

Executive Champions: Tarkan Maner, Nexenta; Lou Ramondetta, Surplus Services.

Staff Leads: Margaret Gray, Senior Director of Education and Workforce Development; Alysa Cisneros, Senior Associate of Education Policy & Programs

Diversifying the STEM Pipeline

The Education and Workforce Development Committee promotes and champions high-quality education in our region through policy advocacy, programs, and partnerships. While over 22% of employment in Silicon Valley is in STEM, just 19% of STEM workers were born in California. Building a strong, diverse pool of Silicon Valley STEM graduates reflective of our community will promote regional competitiveness. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group strives to build a world-class education system that breaks barriers and creates opportunities for students traditionally underrepresented in STEM.


  • Advocate for legislation and funding to increase access to quality STEM education from cradle through career.
  • Build support for the creation of a Statewide Longitudinal Data System to better understand student trajectories and align systems of support.
  • Increase company engagement in successful programs that diversify the STEM field (e.g. P-Tech, NCWIT, STEM Pathways, STEM Core, Coding5k).
  • Host 400 students from local under-resourced middle schools along with 150 executives and rising stars for the annual Young Men’s and Young Women’s Leadership Summits, highlighting careers in STEM. Build towards more sustainable relationships between participants and partner organizations.

Executive Champions: Jed York, San Francisco 49ers; Doug Graham, Lockheed Martin; Laura Guio, IBM;  Bobby Bell, KLA; Mary Papazian, San Jose State University.

Staff Lead: Margaret Gray, Senior Director of Education and Workforce Development

Computer Science Education

Computer science (CS) is a foundational skill for the 21st century. Currently, however, only 32 percent of California’s high schools offer CS, and approximately 25 percent of all of California’s schools offer any CS classes at all. The Leadership Group believes that it is vital, in Silicon Valley and the state more broadly, that students are equipped with the skills that CS provides–not only an understanding of computer technologies, but their implications and impacts for human life and society.


  • Achieve passage of legislation that expands access to robust CS education in California’s K-12 system by participating in the statewide CSforCA coalition.
  • Promote CS education in the Silicon Valley through local partnerships and the CSinSV effort.
  • Provide substantive feedback on California’s CS standards and Strategic Implementation Plan.

Executive Champion: Vicki Huff, PwC

Staff Leads: Paul Escobar, Sr. Director of Tech & Education Policy; Alysa Cisneros, Sr. Associate of Education Policy & Programs

Coding5k Challenge

Coding5k Challenge builds off existing San Jose City Library programs providing free volunteer-led coding camps and workshops, designed to bring these very successful and popular free coding programs to scale. The Leadership Group Foundation and Education Portfolio brings  industry feedback and participation into every stage of the Coding5k program: from volunteers and sponsorships to program evaluation and thought leadership. The Mayor’s office and the Library believe that prominent industry voice and involvement will strengthen the program and ensure that Coding5k Challenge will prepare local students for local jobs in our booming tech sector. Through our successful partnership,  we aim to help, Coding5k Challenge meet scalability goals, respond nimbly to industry feedback, and provide innovative educational opportunities. San Jose will become a pioneer in providing access to skills-based digital literacy programs to every student.


  • Serve 5,000 students annually
  • Build visibility and support for this program and engage Leadership Group member companies and partner organizations
  • Engage in thought leadership through curriculum development and/or iterations of program design
  • Assist in fundraising and volunteer recruitment efforts to fully scale the program
  • Explore opportunities to engage local elected leaders in Coding5k programs serving their constituencies
  • Spearhead the creation of a regional “toolkit” to help other municipalities adopt similar strategies to bring coding and computer science to their learning communities

Executive Champion: Bobby Bell, KLA

Staff Leads: Alysa Cisneros, Sr. Associate of Education Policy & Programs

To get involved contact Alysa Cisneros [email protected]

Past Wins

Community College to Career Initiative

In addition to convening four industry-education roundtables and a major regional conference focused on shifting Silicon Valley hiring models, in 2018 CC2C facilitated 580 work-based learning opportunities for community college students.

Addressing the Teacher Shortage

The Leadership Group advocated for funding for teacher recruitment and training, resulting in $41.3 million in the state budget dedicated towards tackling the ongoing teacher shortage.

Expanding Access to Computer Science

In 2016, the state legislature passed AB 2329 (Bonilla) which established a Computer Science Strategic Advisory Board to develop recommendations for an implementation plan, which, in turn, will help ensure that students and especially those in under-represented communities have access to CS education.

Diversifying the STEM Pipeline

In 2016, the state legislature passed SB 359 (Mitchell) which requires each school district serving grades 8 or 9 to develop and implement a fair, objective, and transparent mathematics placement policy ensuring fair math placement for women and students of color.

Legislative Activity

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Education Policy team advocate for local, county, and state education legislation and ballot measures based on the decisions of its Education Committee, Working Council, and Board of Directors. Both bills and ballot measures are presented to these committees for discussion and voting.

2019 Legislation

2018 Legislation


115th California Community College

The Leadership Group advocated to support the development of the 115th California Community College – a fully online campus that will deliver skills and industry-valued credentials that millions of working-class adults need to advance their careers and improve their economic futures. If the new online platform leverages the considerable talent of our community college faculty, and taps into existing efforts to engage industry, it will become an effective tool to meet the needs of “stranded” workers and strengthen California’s vibrant economy.


2017 Legislation

2016 Legislation

Additional 2016 Policy Wins:

Governor Brown’s 2016-2017 Budget

The Governor’s budget included Increase of $7.8 million to provide access to full-day State Preschool for nearly 3,000 eligible children in the 2016-2017 school year. Over the next four years, funding will increase to $100 million to serve an additional 8,877 children in full-day State Preschool. In addition, efforts to do away with guaranteed transitional kindergarten statewide were turned aside. That said, we’re still not back to pre-2008 funding levels, and the need for high-quality early education remains great.

We supported the efforts of multiple coalitions to advocate for increasing funding to Early Childhood Education and to retain transitional kindergarten as an ongoing entitlement program. Additionally, as a member of the CA Business Advisory Council, we signed on to a letter advocating for increased funding to Early Childhood Education in the state budget.

K-12 Education Budget Summary 

2015 Legislation

2014 Legislation

Event Information

Young Women’s Leadership Summit

When: December 5, 2019 all-day

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group regularly holds The Young Women’s and Young Men’s Leadership Summits to help empower young girls and boys from local under-resourced schools. These events bring together adults from local companies and non-profit organizations to mentor students…

Young Women’s Leadership Summit

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group regularly holds The Young Women’s and Young Men’s Leadership Summits to help empower young girls and boys from local under-resourced schools. These events bring together adults from local companies and non-profit organizations to mentor students…

Photo Gallery

Keep current with our activity via Twitter! @SVLG_Ed

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