Electron acceleration of electrons using intense laser pulses that excite tens of gigavolt per meter fields in plasmas will be discussed and the path forward to practical machines. The potential impact of compact laser plasma accelerators (LPA) ranges from providing the capability of producing high energy, ultra-short electron bunches and associated radiation pulses for forefront science in a small laboratory setting, to medical and homeland security applications, to the development of high energy particle colliders for fundamental science into the origin of matter and energy. Experiments are underway at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that address key challenges for the development of high energy electron accelerators with beam quality sufficiently good to drive free electron lasers and gamma ray sources, or serve as building blocks for a future laser plasma accelerator based colliders. Progress will be presented including the demonstration of multi-GeV electron beams with the BELLA laser. Since most applications require operation at higher repetition rate and hence higher average power lasers than currently available, a new concept for incoherent combining of laser pulses to drive plasma wakes will also be discussed.