KRA Corporation extends a hearty congratulations and welcome to Thomas E. Perez, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) 26th Secretary. The Presidential nominee was sworn into office on July 23, 2013.
Secretary Perez’s list of accomplishments prior to joining the DOL is impressive. Most recently, he served at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. In his nearly 4 years at the DOJ, the division reached some significant milestones. Among other achievements, it successfully implemented the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act; settled the largest fair-lending cases in history; worked to protect the rights of service members regarding employment, housing, and fair lending and drastically improved disabled Americans’ access to employment, housing, and educational opportunities.
Before his time at the DOJ, he was the Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, wherein Mr. Perez led the charge to address Maryland’s foreclosure crisis through his direct involvement in crafting a significant reform of state lending and foreclosure practices.
He also tackled Maryland’s workforce development system to prepare 21st century jobseekers with the skills to succeed in the competitive economy. Mr. Perez worked in conjunction with community colleges, non-profit organizations, and businesses to overhaul the system so that both workers and employers will thrive in the future.
Mr. Perez has been a public servant for the length of his career. He was the first Latino ever elected to the Montgomery County Council serving as its president in 2005. He spent 12 years in Federal public service, most as a career attorney with the Civil Rights Division.
While under Attorney General Janet Reno as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, he chaired the interagency Worker Exploitation Task Force, overseeing a number of initiatives aimed at protecting vulnerable workers.
He has served as special counsel to the late Senator Edward Kennedy, and also as the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the final 2 years of the Clinton administration.
As an organization that has been on the ground floor of both directly helping jobseekers join the workforce as well as supporting employment and training programs by conducting research, assisting in policy and program development, and providing technical assistance to Federal, state, and local programs, the KRA Corporation welcomes the appointment of a progressive and ardent advocate of workforce development and workers’ rights.
Indeed, one of his first blog posts in Work in Progress as the Secretary was to speak to “protecting, promoting and expanding opportunity” with regard to those with disabilities in the workforce.
KRA Corporation is excited about this appointment, and looks forward to supporting Mr. Perez’s future employment, training, and workforce development initiatives as they are unveiled.