Associate Director, Center for Governmental Studies
Diana L. Robinson is the Assistant Director with the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University. Her work focuses on effective practice, program evaluation, applied research and policy studies in workforce development, adult education and workplace literacy, work-based learning, and P-16 initiatives. Diana’s projects include the design and implementation of a state-level electronic workforce development knowledge portal, evaluation of a federal initiative to increase curricular rigor at the high school level, an economic impact analysis of Illinois’ community colleges, identifying workforce quality benchmarks for a western Illinois Workforce Investment Board, and providing skills gap and related analysis for the State of Working Illinois report. Diana was a co-principal investigator for the Critical Skills Shortage Initiative projects in the Northwest Illinois and Northern Stateline Economic Development Regions funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. She also conducted a review of work-based learning research for the U.S. Department of Education.
Prior to coming to the Center, Diana was Deputy Superintendent for Workforce and Community Partnerships at the Illinois State Board of Education. While at the State Board, she served as director of vocational education and adult education and was responsible for programs in school-to-careers, alternative education, service learning, family literacy, parental involvement and other areas requiring effective partnerships between schools, communities and businesses.
Diana also served as Vice President for the Midwest Regional Office of the National Alliance of Business, the nation's leading business-led organization working exclusively on workforce development and education reform. As the lead manager and principal spokesperson for a nine-state region surrounding the Great Lakes, Diana was responsible for delivering high-level technical assistance to public and private sector employment, training and educational organizations.
Before NAB, Diana worked for three years managing National Academy Foundation model youth apprenticeship programs in financial services and travel and tourism in Chicago. She also spent six years working in various positions for the City of Chicago, including positions as Deputy Director for Strategic Planning for the Mayor's Office of Employment and Training, Staff Director for Development and Planning for Mayor Harold Washington, and Assistant Director of Development for the Department of Economic Development.
Diana holds a master's degree in social development from the University of Chicago and a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.