Melanie Anderson is the Director of External and Government Affairs at Opportunity Nation, leading on Opportunity Nation’s bipartisan federal policy efforts that advance the goals of the organization’s call to action, “We Got This: Youth Employment”.
Under Melanie’s leadership, Opportunity Nation successfully advocated the overwhelmingly bipartisan reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act with the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act which took over a decade to reauthorize and included several recommendations Opportunity Nation championed.
Melanie sets the legislative priorities of the Opportunity Nation campaign, working with Opportunity Nation’s diverse coalition of over 300 organization to find common ground on lasting policy change that strengthens education and career pathways for young adults. Key legislative highlights include holding a policy briefing with coalition partner CFED to introduce the American Dream Accounts Act, a college savings bill with co-sponsor Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and staff from co-sponsor Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) office; and a convening featuring Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) to discuss their job training legislation. Melanie also manages Opportunity Nation’s pro-bono relationship with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, key political and policy advisors to the campaign.
Melanie is a highly respected voice on federal education and workforce policy and has been interviewed by the National Journal, US News and World Reports and the New York Times. Melanie also speaks regularly at numerous national convenings across the country including the Close It Summit, National Association of Workforce Boards Annual Conference, National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium Conference and Industry Workforce Needs Council.
Prior to joining Opportunity Nation in 2013, Melanie served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education. She also held senior-level government affairs positions with the American Library Association and Educational Testing Service where she developed strategy on a wide variety of federal and state education issues and consequently established an appreciation for advocacy and grassroots supporters.
She graduated from Iowa State University (Go Cyclones!) with a degree in political science. Originally from Iowa, Melanie loves living in her adopted hometown of Washington, DC. Read blog posts by Melanie Anderson.
Mel was born in Woodbury County, Iowa. Her 2016 Opportunity Score/Grade is 52.1/C+.