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[staff name=”Thomas Perez” position=”Secretary | U.S. Dept. of Labor” img=”https://www.t4a.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/thomas-perez.jpg”]Nominated by President Barack Obama and sworn in on July 23, 2013, Thomas E. Perez is the nation’s 26th Secretary of Labor. He has committed to making good on the promise of opportunity for all, giving every working family a chance to get ahead, and putting a middle-class life within reach of everyone willing to work for it. To accomplish this, Perez’s priorities for the department include ensuring a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work; connecting ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs, through skills programs like Registered Apprenticeship and on-the-job training; promoting gender equality in the workplace; ensuring that people with disabilities and veterans have access to equal employment opportunity; and insisting on a safe and level playing field for all American workers.
Connect with Secretary Perez here: [v_icon color=”#1bb2e9″ size=”21px” hover=”show-color” name=”moon-twitter” url=”https://twitter.com/LaborSec” target=”_blank”][/staff][/column]
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[quote author=”Secretary Perez”]I love the energy that’s in this room. I love your can-do, get-it-done approach.[/quote]
[v_icon color=”#1B75BB” style=”pull-left” size=”38px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-graduation”]With our nation’s unemployment rate still at 6.3%, job creation is the top priority for Secretary Perez and the Department of Labor. There were a variety of methods suggested for job creation. One suggestion was for community colleges to be nimble with their curriculum and have open communication lines with businesses so as to adapt the curriculum to the changing needs of the workforce.
[v_icon color=”#F37320″ style=”pull-left” size=”38px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-transmission”]Where there are jobs already available, we need a better method of communicating these openings. The Secretary discussed how, in many areas, there are intermediaries tasked with communicating with companies and job seekers to understand what the supply and demand looks like. He pointed to a company in Detroit, MI that builds consoles for the Ford F-150. The Department of Labor acted as an intermediary for this company so they were able to grow from 0-800 employees. The conversations between the two groups allowed the Department to understand exactly what the company needed and fill those needs. The Secretary hopes that we can scale these types of intermediaries and encourage these types of conversations all over the country.
[pullquote align=”right”][We need to] build partnerships between employers, training providers, community organizations, and other key stakeholders.[/pullquote][v_icon color=”#FBAD1D” style=”pull-left” size=”38px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-link-6″]Relatedly, Secretary Perez has also seen great success at the state level through sector strategies. The idea behind this model is to “build partnerships between employers, training providers, community organizations, and other key stakeholders around specific industries to address the workforce needs of employers and the training, employment, and career advancement needs of workers.” Secretary Perez believes that community colleges can be responsible for many of these training needs. He finds that community colleges are better able to respond to these types of challenges, are more entrepreneurial and are able to move with greater alacrity. As the Secretary points out, solutions for this type of development need to be regional but that you can export the core principles of strategy to almost anywhere.
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