Dr. Wilma Franco – Collaborative Director
Dr. Wilma Franco serves as Director of the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative and holds a doctorate degree in Education – Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne. Dr. Franco successfully defended dissertation was entitled, “Employer’s Perception of Their Role in Student Learning and Skill Development: A Qualitative Case Study.” Dr. Franco completed her undergraduate work at the University of California- Los Angeles (UCLA) where she earned her B.A in Political Science and Chicana/o Studies with a minor in Public Policy. During her time at UCLA she worked closely with the NAID Center researching the Economic Impact of immigration post 1986 immigration reform.
Dr. Franco went on to complete her Master’s Degree in Public Policy at the University of Southern California (USC), where she also completed a certificate in Public Management. Dr. Franco has over ten years of experience in overseeing nonprofits and community based programs and has a solid background in program development, evaluations, partnership development, finance, fundraising and development. Previously, Dr. Franco spent seven years developing, evaluating, and managing programs at “I Have a Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles; a program that sponsored students in elementary school years and work with the cohort until they graduate high school, and transition to post-secondary education, by providing whole child services. In collaboration with USC, Dr. Franco launched a mental health programming component at I Have a Dream that continues to service students. Additionally, Dr. Franco’s collaboration with CSULB as an internship placement partner resulted in her being recognized as the organization of the year two consecutive years. Dr. Franco is also a part-time lecturer in the Human Development Department at California State University – Long Beach (CSULB) and serves as a Board Member for the D.A.D Project. Dr. Franco is a proud alumnus of Education Pioneers and the Magnolia Community Initiative Fellowship. Dr. Franco was inspired to work at SELA Collaborative given its core values and commitment to the Southeast LA region by way of creating a collective approach to serving the region through nonprofit capacity building, civic engagement, and data and research.