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About Us

The Leadership Group Education & Workforce Development Policy Team promotes and champions quality public education through partnerships with local, state, and federal decision makers. We work to ensure the educational system in California and Silicon Valley fosters academic excellence and high quality instruction, while producing world class graduates armed with 21st century skills. The team advocates on behalf of member companies to create a desirable, accessible, and affordable education system ensuring our region and state can remain competitive in the innovation economy.

Our Team

Margaret Gray
Director of Education & Workforce Preparedness  408.453.4751
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David Palter
Senior Associate of Workforce Development  408.501.7876
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Paul Escobar
Director of Policy & Programs  408.501.7875
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Alysa Cisneros
Associate of Education Policy & Programs  408.501.7863
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Education Committee


The Education Policy Committee seeks to promote and champion high-quality education in our region through policy advocacy, programs, and public-private sector partnerships, with a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) to develop a strong, regional workforce. It is comprised of member companies who have a vested interest in developing and supporting California’s public educational system. Members weigh in on issues relating to higher education, K-12, and early learning.

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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, agencies, and school leaders
  • Informative briefings about SVLG policy advocacy
  • Programmatic work
  • Community events

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

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  • Janikke Klem, Technology Credit Union
  • Juliet Tiffany Morales, Google
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Education & Workforce Development Workplan

Higher Education and Workforce

Staff Lead: David Palter, Senior Associate of Workforce Policy

Executive Champion: Laura Guio, Vice President, IBM

Priority: Our institutions of higher learning are producing STEM graduates at a lower rate than rival innovation hubs such as Boston and Austin forcing our companies to turn to out-of-state talent. In 2015, only 20 percent of STEM workers in Silicon Valley were born in California and in 2016, it was only 18 percent.

In 2018, the Higher Education and Workforce Development Team seeks to build a strong, diverse pool of local STEM talent and grow our middle class 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.

Quantifiable Goals:

  • Achieve passage of two state bills that increase enrollment and completion rates for community college Career Technical Education programs, promote the development of industry-relevant training pathways, or ensure fair funding for CC, CSU, or UC programs.
  • Host “vital workforce conversations” with three Leadership Group policy committees and their HR colleagues in order to facilitate 6 curriculum development and/or work-based learning partnerships.
  • Publish one Op-ed on model community college-industry partnerships
  • Convene one HR-targeted workshop at the 2018 Education Summit
  • Work with industry and nonprofit partners to secure 40 internships for community college students
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K-12 Education Quality

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

Executive Champion: Tom Fallon, CEO, Infinera; Tarkan Maner, Chairman and CEO, Nexenta

Priority:  2017 statewide tests show 49 percent of students are proficient in English and 37 percent are proficient in math. Santa Clara students score slightly higher at 61 percent in English and 55 percent in math proficiency with persistent achievement gaps between student subgroups. In order to improve proficiency rates and shrink the achievement gap, the Leadership Group advocated to improve and implement a new state accountability system in line with federal law with an increased  focus on equity, financial and data transparency. Additionally, the Leadership Group sought to address the teacher shortage, impacting 75 percent of school districts, through state policy and funding to recruit and retain effective teachers, with a focus on STEM subject areas.

Quantifiable Goals:

  • Achieve passage of two state bills that address the teacher shortage and promote equitable funding and accountability to improve student outcomes.
  • Achieve an increased rate of entrance to in-state teacher preparation programs through statewide funding and additional pathways.
  • Publish an op-ed with an industry champion to promote teacher recruitment efforts.
  • Increase data transparency on the State Dashboard and define accountability measures and support mechanisms.
  • Convene a panel of policy experts, including policymakers, business leaders, and school leaders to discuss how the business community can support quality public education.
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Diversifying the STEM Pipeline

Staff Lead: Margaret Daoud-Gray, Director of Education Policy and Workforce Development

Executive Champions: Ken McNeely, President of Pacific Region, AT&T; Jed York, CEO, San Francisco 49ers

Priority:  The Education and Workforce Development committee promotes and champions high-quality education in our region through policy advocacy, programs and public-private sector partnerships, with a focus on STEM, to develop a strong regional workforce. Our efforts to diversify the STEM Pipeline from cradle to career address our members’ diversity and inclusion goals and strengthen our region.

Quantifiable Goals:

  • Achieve passage of two state bills that either increase access to quality STEM education or address barriers to success (P-Tech, funding for STEM education, longitudinal data system).
  • Build support for the creation of a Statewide Longitudinal Student Data System while engaging with a coalition of advocates.
  • Convene a panel of policy experts, including policymakers, business leaders, and school leaders to discuss how we can strengthen and support a diverse STEM pipeline.
  • Young Men’s (2020) and Young Women’s STEM Leadership Summit (2020): host 400 underserved and underrepresented students from local middle schools along with 150 executives and rising stars for an annual event promoting leadership and careers in STEM fields. Build towards more sustainable relationships between participants and partner organizations.
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Computer Science Education

Staff Leads: Paul  Escobar, Director of Policy and Education Programs; Alysa Cisneros, Associate of Education Policy and Programs

Executive Champion: Anurag Varma, Vice President, Global Government Affairs, Infosys

Priority: One in four California schools offer a Computer Science (CS) course of some kind, but so far in our region only Oakland and San Francisco have elementary to high school pipelines. There are no school districts in the Silicon Valley region that offer a comprehensive CS pipeline. The Leadership Group will participate as a core member of the CSinSV advisory board for the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE). In addition, we will explore playing a larger role in the emerging CSforCA initiative, which advocates for access to K-12 CS education (both in and out of school) in the state of California–specifically for low-income and underrepresented populations.

Quantifiable Goals:

  • Actively track and help pass at least one bill to expand access to CS.
  • Publish at least one op-ed or other article on CS education.
  • Facilitate quarterly CSinSV coalition meetings.
  • Advocate with district partners and community leaders for the creation of a county-wide CS strategy.
  • Incorporate CS as a discussion subject in the annual Education Summit.
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Community College to Career Initiative (CC2C)

Staff Lead: David Palter, Sr. Associate of Workforce Policy

Executive Champions: Greg Becker, President and CEO, Silicon Valley Bank; Jenny Dearborn, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, SAP; Ron Sege, Director, President, and CEO, Echelon

Priority:  We believe that community colleges in Silicon Valley are in a unique position to partner with several industry clusters in our innovation economy to provide education and training – in an expedited way – for jobs that will provide solid middle-class incomes.  Utilizing a systems change approach that builds on and extends the Leadership Group and Leadership Group Foundation’s longstanding relationships with industry, government, education, and nonprofit partners, CC2C strives to foster stronger science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and career technical education (CTE) training and hiring relationships between innovation-economy employers and all 17 colleges in eight Silicon Valley community college districts.

Quantifiable Goals:

Work-Based Learning Deliverables

  • Internships & Externships: 40 students for summer 2018, 5 instructors
  • Lectures: 10 classes reaching 25 students each
  • Worksite Visits for Students: 5 groups of 15-20 students each
  • Employers to Assist with Curriculum Development: 5
  • Compile a Skills Gaps / Training Database


  • Stage a series of “vital workforce conversations” that bring together community college leaders – CCCO Deputy Sector Navigators, deans, and faculty – and Leadership Group members on the gap between CC training and industry need in four sectors: health, tech, energy, and transportation.
  • Education Summit: host a keynote speaker and an HR-targeted workshop about the ways international firms engage with education systems, featuring employers with branches in Europe or Asia and Silicon Valley.

Community College System

  • Encourage better curricula coordination within and between the three tiers of our higher education system, so that students moving between these institutions can follow clearly articulated educational and training pathways.
  • Expedite the curriculum review process and empower faculty and deans working with industry boards at the local level to embed industry-relevant competencies in their curricula.
  • Address the institutionalized, but increasingly anachronistic divide between academic and career technical education divisions. Integrate academic and CTE classes into CC and CSU departments, and encourage applied learning as a foundational aspect of all curricula.
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Past Wins

Community College to Career Initiative

In our first year, the initiative has connected Bay Area community colleges to more than 25 companies.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

2017 Bills

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2016 Bills

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 

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2015 Bills

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2014 Bills

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Event Information

Young Men’s Leadership Summit

When: December 7, 2018 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…

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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…

Education Summit

When: August 17, 2018 @ 7:30 am – 2:00 pm
Where: NetApp, Sunnyvale , 1395 Crossman Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94089

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Photo Gallery

Keep current with our activity via Twitter! @SVLG_Ed

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