Cheryl A. Oldham is vice president of education policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is also senior vice president of the Center for Education and Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Through events, publications, and policy initiatives—and drawing upon the Chamber’s extensive network of members—the education and workforce program connects the best minds in American business with the most innovative thinkers in education and training, helping them work together to preserve the strength of America’s greatest economic resource, its workforce.
Oldham has 20 years of experience in public policy development and implementation as well as in project management and government relations. Her previous experience includes serving for 8 years in President George W. Bush’s administration. In July 2008, the president designated Oldham as acting assistant secretary for postsecondary education while also serving as chief of staff to the under secretary of education. As chief of staff, Oldham was the senior adviser on policy and strategy and oversaw the coordination of the programs and policies for which the office was responsible. These included vocational and adult education, postsecondary education, and federal student aid.
In September 2005, the secretary of education appointed Oldham executive director of the Commission on the Future of Higher Education. The commission was the first of its kind to look at needed reforms in higher education related to accessibility, affordability, and accountability and produced a seminal report titled A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of U.S. Higher Education.
Oldham began her career working in the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations in Washington, D.C., handling policy matters under the umbrella of health and human services. She then served in the White House as deputy associate director in the Office of Presidential Personnel and as associate director in the Office of Cabinet Affairs before moving to the Department of Education as White House Liaison in January 2003.
Oldham received her Juris Doctor from St. Mary’s University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from Texas Christian University. She resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her two sons, Jeffrey and Dylan.