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Rachel Unruh Chief of Staff

Rachel Unruh

As Chief of Staff, Rachel helps lead National Skills Coalition by facilitating the integration of organizing, advocacy, and communications strategies. Rachel joined NSC in 2006 to develop and lead Skills2Compete, a national campaign endorsed by hundreds of organizations that made the case for a 21st-century skills guarantee that could address the unmet demand for U.S. workers with middle-skill credentials. Replicated in 13 states, the campaign brought the nation’s middle-skill gap to the attention of the American public, policymakers, and the media while helping to inform policy changes at the state and national level that could close the nation’s middle-skill gap.

Prior to joining National Skills Coalition, Rachel served as Director of Community Relations and Senior Policy Associate on the workforce development team at Chicago-based Women Employed, a leading national advocate for women's economic advancement. Rachel’s work included policy analysis and advocacy to increase access to and success in postsecondary education for low-income women, particularly those with low literacy and numeracy skills.

Rachel has authored numerous reports on strategies that increase postsecondary credential attainment and close skill gaps, including flexible need-based financial aid, support services for low-income parents, and program models that integrate basic skills education and occupational training. Most recently she authored Pathways to Employment in America’s Cities, which explores ways that federal policy can better support efforts to ensure residents with low basic skills have access to and benefit from jobs created by urban economic development efforts.

Rachel holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College. She is based in Chicago and Washington, DC.