Director of Policy
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Christina Warden is an expert on strategies to help working and adult students earn their GED and succeed in college. She leads Women Employed’s Policy team focused on job quality, fair workplaces, and education and training career pathways policies to ensure that more low-skilled Illinoisans earn credentials of economic value and that all workers have access to quality jobs. She manages WE’s partnership with City Colleges of Chicago to help low-skilled adults access education and career pathways and her efforts have helped to increase supports for non-traditional students and improved educational pathways leading to better-quality, better-paying jobs for working women. She helped develop Women Employed’s agenda on fair scheduling and is Women Employed’s chief lobbyist within the City of Chicago focusing specifically on job quality issues including minimum wage, paid sick days, and fair scheduling. She also sits of the City of Chicago’s Protecting Workers Working Group that coordinates city, county, and state agency oversite of COVID regulations and resources.
Warden’s work with City Colleges has resulted in the development of curricula for a series of bridge programs, which help low-skilled adults prepare for college-level coursework in the context of their chosen careers. The work of her team resulted in the creation of a collective impact project involving fifteen organizations and the City Colleges of Chicago to create an aligned, citywide career and program pathway. This Career Foundations Consortium is designed to ensure that any low-skilled Chicagoan has the opportunity to improve his or her skills and transition to a post-secondary credential leading to a job with family-supporting wages. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, she led a coalition of advocates who collaborated to ensure that Chicago and Illinois took full advantage of The Recovery Act’s workforce development provisions in a way that was transparent, equitable, and served low-income women. She currently oversees the Advancing Student Progress & Increasing Racial Equity (ASPIRE) Project, working with 10 Illinois colleges to rethink developmental education and accelerate student progress into career and technical education.
Warden came to WE in 2007 with 20 years of experience as an advocate and strategist for improving public K-12 education. In that capacity, she built a national network of school reform leaders focused on changing management practices in order to improve conditions for students in public schools and support the work of teachers in the classroom.
Warden holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Loyola University of Chicago.