National Latino Education
Ms. Aranda-Suh leads the National Latino Education Institute (formerly Spanish Coalition for Jobs, Inc.) as its Executive Director since 2008. The National Latino Education Institute (NLEI) is a nonprofit and nationally accredited. The organization started in the mid-60s and incorporated in Chicago in 1972. NLEI’s mission is to advance our community’s economic independence through market and results-driven education, training, employment and advocacy.
NLEI has served generations of Latino families enabling economic empowerment through comprehensive industry-driven education, career placement and supportive services. NLEI offers a variety of high quality services designed to meet the varying needs of the adult learner and workforce. NLEI’s competitive workforce education include industries such as healthcare and energy. The services are holistic in nature as the staples include building participant capacity in financial literacy, technology and wellness.
Ms. Aranda-Suh is a transformational leader who diligently works to develop healthy communities by creating pathways to economic independence through education. She has brought her passion for the Latino Community, workforce development and education to her role as Executive Director. She has an entrepreneurial spirit and pragmatic approach to community development and works tirelessly in forging opportunities that develop, strengthen and afford meaningful systemic change for the Latino community.
Ms. Aranda-Suh is an accomplished workforce development professional and advocate with more than 15 years in leadership roles. She has led NLEI in creating and delivering award winning and nationally recognized programs affording skills, credentials, new careers and pathways of economic prosperity for the Latino community. Ms. Aranda-Suh is a national and regional content expert with respect to Latinos in the workforce, talent pipelines, career pathways and vocational education. She has a successful record in designing and launching innovative and high-performing market-driven services and economic advancement initiatives for Latinos including the attainment of funding and resources for their delivery.
Recognizing the link between education, employment, and self-sufficiency, she has dedicated her career to serving her community by developing unique systems that directly impact economic sustainability and community development. Programs she has pioneered have been used as models for replication and have fueled advocacy for increased awareness for culturally competent curricula for multiple generations of underserved Latinos.
She has a reputation for forming and mobilizing dynamic partnerships with broad industries to ensure a competitive Latino workforce and has worked collaboratively with a myriad of businesses in attaining and/or introducing equality and diversity initiatives. Throughout her career, Ms. Aranda-Suh has emphasized the need for lifelong learning in her quest for positioning Latinos for greater competitiveness and career advancement. To this end, she has been instrumental in the vision and implementation of joint ventures that afford seamless access to higher education for underserved urban Latino populations.
Elba’s strong family, faith and cultural background have developed her steward leadership style. She believes in building the talents of others whereby accountability, efficiency, and community development naturally follow. Success is affected as Latinos reach economic prosperity. As Executive Director, Elba works collaboratively with her management team and empowers staff and volunteers to fulfill their personal and professional potential. She leads with passion and vision and supports her team to develop their talent to the fullest potential. Her team has described her to have a unique ability to pull pieces together “like a jigsaw puzzle – thousands of tiny pieces that add up to one big picture.” She encourages innovation and varying approaches to tackle challenges and inspires to optimize creative solutions.
LEADERSHIP & CONTRIBUTIONS:
Elba has been a leader in the formulation and delivery of educational and vocational education and services in line with NLEI’s mission. Under her leadership, Elba was instrumental in NLEI’s national accreditation which includes the provision of both academic and industry credentials. Recognition is received through the U.S. Department of Education, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). These credentials ensure that students graduate with an industry-recognized certificate, credit and set NLEI’s educational programs apart from NPOs.
As a result of her advocacy and ingenuity, NLEI has received numerous national awards by the private sector and by ACICS for demonstrating exemplary standards. Under her leadership, NLEI has achieved more than once the attainment of the highest merit of accreditation and has secured continuous national honor roll distinction. This distinction is highly competitive where hundreds of both nonprofit and for-profit post-secondary institutions seek this merit.
Ms. Aranda-Suh has secured millions in capital over the years to enhance its main campus. She has garnered multiple major pro-bono resources for the organization for technology, operations, professional services and support services for its participants. She has been the primary fundraiser for all of the organization’s program support and foundation and corporate relations.
Ms. Aranda-Suh’s leadership was highlighted in the national publication: Latino Magazine for her expediency in managing a multi-million organizations with diversified funding maintaining low over-head and yielding high performance outcomes.
Elba developed a privately funded Scholarship program for students pursuing STEM-related college and advanced degrees.
She led the development of a privately funded training program in trades pathways that quadrupled in participation in only 18 months. Graduates of this pilot have experienced high wage jobs with sustainable long-term careers they would not have had without this pilot.
Ms. Aranda-Suh was instrumental in launching the first bilingual healthcare training initiative for NLEI. Since its launch she has introduced new and expanded healthcare workforce education at NLEI substantially. She launched and pioneered bilingual electronic health records training and integration at the infancy of the Affordable Care Act; built incumbent healthcare workforce capacity building and enabled NLEI to become a national competency testing center for Allied Health. Today NLEI’s Allied Health offerings include disciplines in clinical, medical office management, customer service, nursing, pharmacy, cultural competencies and technology.
Elba led the design of a bilingual innovative digital literacy program infused with industry specific curricula and multi-media with the support of a national tech leader whereby NLEI delivered the first Bilingual Community Technology Centers in the state increasing educational access and computer competency.
Ms. Aranda-Suh has expanded NLEI’s services and NLEI’s geographic presence from two locations to over seven satellite locations in Illinois.
Launched the first accredited bicultural customer service & sales program in the country for disadvantaged Latinos. Demand has led to growth of business development post-secondary programs.
Launched University Pathways and College Scholarship Programs specific to NLEI’s alumni enabling the continuum of education. Such includes but not limited to an unprecedented customized design of degrees of a Bachelor’s in Business Management and a Bachelor’s in Healthcare Leadership. As a result, many of NLEI’s alumni today have college degrees.
Designed, raised private funds and implemented one of the first Wealth Education programs for Chicago’s Latino community. The first initiative provided families with not only the education, but a substantial financial stipend directly to the participants where they were able to begin investing and saving. Grew the initiative to become a multi-faceted financial education component of NLEI including asset building and multi-levels of financial and economic education.
Infused worker health and wellness as part of the job training model. Led growth of Health and Wellness Program which has earned various distinctions including National recognition from Life Source, Kidney Association, Lung Association and various health organizations.
Ms. Aranda-Suh was key in the rebranding of Spanish Coalition for Jobs, Inc. to National Latino Education Institute. She secured funding, launched a national multi-year organizational and stakeholder brand assessment, and led the efforts that ultimately gained a new brand for the agency.
To ensure that educational curricula meet the needs of both students and the business community, Elba introduced, engaged and implemented several sector-based auxiliary leadership bodies for the organization composed of Chicago’s top employers, industry experts and the NEXT Generation. These strong and working auxiliary bodies are critical to the organization’s relevance and services offered to the Latino community.
NLEI continues to design and implement employer-driven, nationally-accredited training programs that place low-income students on the path to successful careers and economic self-sufficiency.
Illinois Workforce and Innovation Board & IL Apprenticeship Committee, Appointed by the Governor
Illinois Latino Family Commission, Chair, Appointed by the Governor
Illinois State Treasurer Personnel Review Board, Appointed by IL State Senate
Illinois Lotto Control Board, Board Member, Appointed by the Governor
Esperanza Health Centers, Board of Directors
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Advisory Council on Agriculture, Small Business & Labor, Appointment
Latino Council on the Media (LCOM), Board President
University of Illinois, Latino Advisory Board Member
Rotary Club of Little Village, Past President
Illinois Commerce Commission Next Grid Community Engagement Task Force
Illinois Tollway Board Diversity Advisory Council, Workforce Executive Committee, Appointed
ComEd Corporate Business Advisory Council
NBC 5 Community Action Board/Telemundo Advisory Board
77 Thought Leaders Council, City of Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers
Illinois Latino Agenda (40+ organizations), founding member, Executive, Steering
2017, 2016,2017, 2018, 2019 – Negocios Now “Who’s Who in Hispanic Chicago”
2016- National Football League (NFL), Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award
2015- National Museum of Mexican Arts, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz Leadership Award
2014 –IL Secretary of State Jesse White, Community Leadership Award
2012 – IL State Senator Martin Sandoval, Leadership Award
2011 – Lake County Chamber of Commerce, Inspiration Award
2010 -National Diversity Council, “The Most Powerful & Influential Women in Illinois”
2009- Un Buen Doctor Magazine Hispanic Heritage person of the Year
2007 -Citibank Corporate Hispanic Leadership Award
Pepsi-Cola Corporate Hispanic Leadership Award
Lucent Technologies Hispanic Leadership Award
LULAC Citizenship Service Award
SER-Jobs for Progress, Excellence Award
Maria High School, Board of Directors, Strategic Planning Chair
LULAC National Education and Scholarship Center, Advisory Council Co-Chair
LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), Council 5211 Board, Secretary, Executive Committee
The People’s Music School, Board of Directors, Secretary, Personnel Chair & Executive
Illinois LULAC, Deputy Director for Youth
Latino Advisory Board, United States Senator Mark Kirk
Fox News Chicago, Community Advisory Council
Illinois Healthcare Workforce Taskforce, appointed
MacNeal Hospital Community Advisory Committee
Junior Achievement, Latino Advisory Committee
Coalition Building a Healthy Chicago, Committee
Cicero Hispanic Drop-Out Task Force, Former Committee
Michael Reese Hospital Advisory Council,
Chicago Jobs Council, Workforce Group Committee
Illinois Diversity Council, Education Committee
Un Buen Doctor Magazine, Guest Columnist for Healthcare Jobs