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Learn more now about the 2023 CAEL Conference in Baltimore, MD!

Rachel Hirsch

Vice President, State Strategies & Policy Relations

As vice president of state strategies and policy relations, Rachel Hirsch coordinates the expansion of CAEL’s relationship with policy makers by surfacing common goals and initiatives to engage public sector stakeholders with the organization’s vision and mission. Hirsch also works at building broad support for reform and leads engagement with various state-level and government entities. Her work supports efforts to advance CAEL's brand, voice and thought leadership on issues that meaningfully impact adult learners and effective workforce talent development. She has brought attention to these issues through speaking engagements across the country and has authored several publications on a variety of topics in the field from work-based learning to financial aid. She has a history of facilitating and forging partnerships across government, non-profit, and the private sector to achieve common goals.

Experienced in public policy, Hirsch most recently served as a Senior Policy Analyst at National Governors Association, where she was responsible for programmatic, staff, and budgetary oversight and execution of multiple projects aimed at increasing equitable economic opportunity. She oversaw the final phase of the Policy Academy on Scaling Work-Based Learning, engaging 19 state teams over two years, and launched a related project focused on apprenticeship to support the transportation industry. She also led projects focused on partnerships with community colleges, equity, and higher education for incarcerated students. Prior to that, Hirsch was a State Network Manager at National Skills Coalition, where she led the organization’s inaugural policy academy on work-based learning and organized multi-state coalitions to help expand access to and success in education and training programs. Hirsch also completed an internship with the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and she previously ran a research project at Northwestern University focused on helping underserved high schoolers improve their performance in job interviews.

Hirsch received her master’s in public policy from Georgetown University and earned her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Northwestern University. She resides in the Washington, DC area.

Links to Related Work

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Areas of Expertise

Hirsch has extensive expertise in work-based learning and apprenticeship, sector partnerships and industry engagement, supportive services for those with barriers to employment, reskilling and upskilling for adults, and education and training for incarcerated students, as well as for those returning from prison. She also has years of experience in project management, stakeholder engagement and facilitation, and coalition building and management.


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