As President & CEO of OneFuture Coachella Valley, Sheila Thornton is guided by its mission to assure all students succeed in college, career and life – expanding and enhancing the local workforce so that our youth and economy thrive.
Prior to the formation of OneFuture Coachella Valley, Sheila served as Vice President of Workforce Excellence for the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, where she led that wing of the partnership through twelve years of coalition-building, fundraising and program development. In March, 2017, she spearheaded the transition from Workforce Excellence to OneFuture Coachella Valley, a separate 501(c))(3) nonprofit organization whose purpose is to advance a regional effort to align educational attainment with economic development.
OneFuture Coachella Valley facilitates a coalition of education and business leaders implementing the Coachella Valley Regional Plan for College and Career Success, a five-year strategic plan to produce an educated workforce and assure Coachella Valley students are prepared for success in college, career, and life. During the past twelve years, the coalition has achieved significant success on common regional goals in career academy/Linked Learning expansion, FAFSA completion and financial aid capture, scholarship giving, and community and employer engagement in support of students.
From 2001 to 2012, Sheila served as a health workforce and leadership development consultant providing project management and coalition building guidance to industry, education, and community organizations. She assisted organizations with strategic planning, mission advancement, cross-sector partnerships, grant writing and management and program implementation.
As a consultant, she led the development of CVEP’s Healthcare Industry Council, a model for aligning education and workforce strategies by sector and sub-region. The Council expanded opportunities for low-income, disadvantaged students to succeed in Kindergarten-12th grade health career pathways programs, college health sciences programs and higher level health professions. Once piloted in Healthcare, the regional industry council model was replicated in the Advanced Technology and the Arts, Media & Entertainment sectors.
Sheila's early career as an analyst and project manager for an economic research and consulting firm and as Director of Community Services for a non-profit hospital has established a solid foundation for her current, exciting challenge – building and leading an organization that uses strong coalitions to guide the region's future leaders toward success.
Sheila serves on the board of directors and as co-chair for Growing Inland Achievement – an initiative to increase college attainment and workforce alignment across the Inland Empire; the national leadership team for the Ford Motor Company Fund Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL) Initiative; the national advisory committee for Health Career Connection; the CSUSB Palm Desert Advancement Board; the Linked Learning Alliance Board of Directors; and California Future Health Workforce Commission. Sheila received a B.S. degree in Applied Math from Loyola Marymount University.
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