Rachel UnruhChief of External Affairs
Area of expertise: Political trends and public opinion on skills training. Workforce and postsecondary policy.
Rachel Unruh is the Chief of External Affairs at National Skills Coalition, where she develops initiatives that support strategic partnerships that advance the organization’s agenda and reach new audiences. Rachel leads NSC’s public opinion research efforts and was the chief strategist for Voices for Skills, a campaign to mobilize working people, students, teachers, and business leaders to educate policymakers and 2020 candidates about overwhelming public support for a new national investment in skills training. In 2021, she led the development of NSC’s Industry Recovery Panels, which advised the Biden administration and congressional leaders on skills policy to support an inclusive economic recovery. She currently leads NSC’s Digital Equity @Work campaign.
As a workforce policy and communications expert for two decades, Rachel has written on skills policy, politics, and public opinion and is a trusted, nonpartisan resource to local and national media, including The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, MSNBC, Morning Consult, and The Guardian.
Rachel served as NSC’s Chief of Staff for ten years, leading the development and implementation of NSC’s policy, organizing, advocacy, and communications strategies. She 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 to address the demand for U.S. workers with middle-skill credentials. Replicated in 13 states, the campaign brought jobs that fall between a high school degree and a college degree to the attention of the public, policymakers and the media, and helped inform policy changes at the state and national level.
Prior to joining National Skills Coalition in 2006, Rachel served as Director of Community Relations and Senior Policy Associate 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 higher education for low-income women.
Rachel holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College. She is based in Chicago and Washington, D.C.