L.A. Cash for College is presented by UNITE-LA and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, with the support of hundreds of local partners including schools, colleges, universities, business and civic leaders.
Our staff is based at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and works to improve outcomes for local youth, from cradle to career, with an emphasis on helping them prepare for and access college and financial aid.
Senior Vice President
Dr. Alma Salazar oversees education and workforce development programs and directs higher education and workforce development policies. In 2012, Salazar was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to serve on the California Workforce Investment Board. Since 2000, she has worked to build business–education partnerships to improve academic achievement and life-long learning for California’s students. Salazar has demonstrated success at convening diverse groups of stakeholders to promote systems-change and to strengthen the region’s workforce development system by expanding and enhancing relationships that build pathways to high demand, high growth industries and sustainable careers. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication, a master’s degree in public policy and administration, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership. Salazar was also awarded the prestigious 2012 American Memorial Fellowship by the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Senior Program Director
Paola Santana is responsible for leading the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce’s college access and success portfolio. She is responsible for the implementation of student programming, higher education policy advocacy, and systems change initiatives. Previously, she developed business-education partnerships through the Chamber’s Pillar initiative, and worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. In that role, she advised board members on complex policy issues, and worked with educators, administrators, students, and families to improve educational opportunities in the country’s second largest school district. Paola is a proud graduate of the Riordan Leadership Institute, and currently serves on the board of Gabriella Charter Schools. Paola earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and is an alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she earned a master’s degree in Higher Education.
Kristina Romero works on expanding college access and success through the coordination of the LA Cash for College program. Kristina attended Brown University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in education and psychology, and is an alumna of USC’s School of Social Work where she earned a master’s degree in Social Work.