Crowning Its 50th Year, NELP Announces Next Executive Director

Raised in rural Mississippi, powerhouse advocate for racial and economic justice will take the helm at leading worker rights advocacy group in January

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Employment Law Project (NELP) board of directors announced today that after a multi-month nationwide search, Rebecca Dixon will be the organization’s next executive director, taking the helm on January 2, 2020. Rebecca currently serves on NELP’s Executive Management team as chief of programs, with responsibility for overseeing all of NELP’s substantive program areas. She was instrumental in NELP’s recent restructuring, leading its efforts to authentically integrate an anti-racist framework to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion both inside and outside the organization.

As executive director, Rebecca will build on the 12-year legacy of outgoing executive director Christine Owens, who has been a steadying and inspiring force for the organization and the workers’ rights movement broadly. Under Chris’s leadership, NELP more than doubled in size and achieved long-term sustainability—cementing its status as one of the nation’s preeminent workers’ rights and economic justice organizations. As NELP embarks on this next phase, the organization is well positioned to lead by example with a strong financial foundation and a staff and executive leadership team that reflects the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion that NELP espouses for our nation and its employers.

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“We are pleased that NELP’s search resulted in a robust pool of candidates, and we are thrilled that Rebecca will be NELP’s next executive director. Rebecca is a proven visionary leader with the expertise to leverage all that NELP brings to our movement, while paving the way to implement innovative and bold ideas,” said Jared Bernstein, NELP’s board chair and senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“I am honored and overjoyed to lead NELP as its new executive director and to continue a 50-year legacy of movement-building for workers’ rights and economic justice,” said incoming NELP Executive Director Rebecca Dixon. “I am committed to protecting and building on the hard-won gains our movement has achieved. Together, we will build worker power and fight for and win policies that put people first, tackle economic inequality, and dismantle structural racism.”

Since joining NELP in 2010, Rebecca has advanced NELP’s growth and impact through several positions, including policy analyst, senior staff attorney, deputy program director, and chief of programs. During the Great Recession and its aftermath, Rebecca was a leader in winning unprecedented expansions of unemployment insurance (UI) coverage in 20 states and multiple extensions of federal emergency UI benefits for long-term unemployed workers. Altogether, these efforts benefited more than 20 million workers nationwide.

Before joining NELP, Rebecca did critical work in Mississippi, including as senior policy analyst at the then-newly-formed Mississippi Economic Policy Center (MEPC), where she advocated for the economic advancement of families with low incomes through policy improvements in adult education, workforce training, access to postsecondary education, childcare funding, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and unemployment insurance. Rebecca and her MEPC colleagues successfully fought to ensure that homeowners with low incomes were included in Mississippi’s hurricane recovery grant program. Rebecca began her career in nonprofit public service prior to law school, working at The Salvation Army’s regional headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi, where her award-winning publications supported people suffering through natural disasters and families weathering economic crisis.

Rebecca added, “I am committed to NELP and to racial, gender, and economic justice. I am deeply motivated by workers who organize for justice and dignity in the workplace on their own terms, and I am further compelled by my family’s own place in recent history, living and working in rural Mississippi. We must ensure that Black and brown workers, including immigrants, are not excluded the way my own father and Black farmers all over the South were left out of the New Deal’s labor law rights and protections—an exclusion we’re still trying to recover from. I know that with our partners, we will fight to ensure that future gains include all workers and close instead of widen the racial wealth gap.”

Read more about Rebecca Dixon.

 

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The National Employment Law Project is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers. For more about NELP, visit www.nelp.org. Follow NELP on Twitter at @NelpNews.

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