Brent Orrell joined the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and External Relations in June 2005. Before joining ACF, he was the Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Prior to his service at DOL, he worked in both the United States Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives for 15 years.
In his work at DOL, Mr. Orrell focused on several key aspects of the implementation of the President’s Faith-Based and Community Initiative. Working with the Employment and Training Administration, he was responsible for designing the Initiative’s first mini-grants program to fund small faith-based and community organizations that provide job development services to poor and under-served communities. He was the principle author of the Ready4Work, a three-year, $32.5 million demonstration project to faith-based and community groups assisting men and women who are returning from prison. Ready4Work was the basis for the President’s four-year, $300 million request to Congress for a comprehensive prisoner re-entry program that was announced in the January 2004 State of the Union Address. Finally, Mr. Orrell designed and implemented Touching Lives and Communities, a technical assistance program encouraging state and local workforce development officials to partner with faith-based and community organizations in the delivery of formula grant-funded job development programs.
From 1987 to 2001, Mr. Orrell worked for members of the House and the Senate in a variety of policy-related positions. Most recently he served as Legislative Director to Senator Sam Brownback. From 1998 to 2000 he was Administrative Assistant to Congressman Gil Gutknecht.
From 1996 to 1998, Mr. Orrell served as Legislative Director to Senator Dan Coats. He was the lead staff person overseeing the Project for American Renewal, an omnibus legislative package designed to highlight and support the work of religious and community organizations. He also oversaw the creation of REAL Life, a separate faith-based and community package more narrowly tailored to the economic, social and educational problems of urban areas.
From 1989 to 1996, Mr. Orrell served as Deputy Legislative Director to Senator Sam Nunn where he handled health care, welfare, judiciary and other domestic policy issues.
Mr. Orrell graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in European History in 1986. He and his wife, Beth, reside in Northern Virginia with their three children.