Gretchen Schmidt, PhD

Senior Fellow, National Center for Inquiry and Improvement (NCII)

Gretchen Schmidt is a national leader in higher education transformation, focusing on issues of guided pathways and rural student success at NCII. Before joining NCII in 2020, Gretchen led the design and implementation of the American Association of Community Colleges Pathways Project 1.0 and 2.0 with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Through that work she helped develop a national model for scaling guided pathways reform. She advises the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the California Guided Pathways Project, Texas Pathways, Jobs for the Future’s Student Success Centers, the Gates Foundation’s Completion by Design, and the Lumina Foundation’s Beyond Financial Aid. Through these and other efforts, she has supported change work at hundreds of institutions through cohort-based projects and engaged in deep work via direct relationships with individual colleges.

Gretchen previously served as a program director for Jobs for the Future’s Postsecondary State Policy team and spent five years in the Virginia Community College System, first as educational policy director and then as assistant vice chancellor for academic and student services. She also staffed state college boards in Arizona and Virginia and taught in undergraduate- and graduate-level education programs.


Rural Funders Peer Network: Workforce Development in Rural Communities

Posted on November 28, 2022 by Katie Hughes, Gretchen Schmidt, PhD, Dr. Ben Stafford, Erin Borla, Wynn Rosser

In rural communities, where populations are more dispersed and farther from major job centers, labor markets face different challenges than those in urban areas. Currently labor shortages in healthcare and education are particularly acute in rural areas. But investment in workforce development tailored to rural communities can significantly improve this situation. Join us for a conversation to learn about best… Read More