Poverty Forum

Brent R. Orrell

Brent R. Orrell served as the first Director of the U.S. Department of Labor's Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives from 2001 to 2005. From 2005 to 2008, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and External Relations at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families and also led that agency's Office of Refugee Resettlement. He returned to the U.S. Department of Labor in February, 2008 to head the Employment and Training Administration (ETA).

In his earlier work at DOL, Orrell focused on several key aspects of the President's Faith-Based and Community Initiative. Working with ETA, he was responsible for designing the Initiative's first grants program to fund small faith-based and community organizations that provide workforce development services to poor and underserved communities. Orrell was the author of the Ready4Work Initiative, a three-year demonstration program to assist ex-offenders in finding employment and reduce recidivism through partnerships with faith-based and community organizations. Ready4Work served as the basis of the President's Prisoner Re-entry Initiative that was announced in 2004. Orrell served as Deputy Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives during 2007.

Before joining the Administration in 2001, the Oregon native worked in the United States Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in history. He and his family reside in Northern Virginia.


Each member of The Poverty Forum participated as an individual and not as a representative of any association. Their individual support and association with any and all proposals may not reflect the agency for which they work.


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Acces information on poverty policy & other resources

The Poverty Forum is made up of 8 teams who came up with 25 policy proposals addressing domestic poverty. Brief summaries, complete white paper policy proposals, and a press kit can be found on our Resource page.

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