On July 23, 2013, Presidential nominee, Thomas E. Perez, was sworn into office as the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary. KRA Corporation extends a hearty congratulations and welcome to the nation’s 26th secretary.
Looking at Secretary Perez career prior to joining the DOL offers an impressive list of accomplishments. While serving as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, the division enjoyed some noteworthy achievements. In his nearly 4 years at the DOJ, the division 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.
Prior to the DOJ, he was Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) Secretary. During his time there, Mr. Perez’s direct involvement was seminal in crafting a sweeping reform of state lending and foreclosure practices during Maryland’s foreclosure crisis.
He also turned his attention toward the workforce development system in Maryland. In attempting to better prepare 21st century jobseekers and provide them with the skill sets needed 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 would thrive.
Mr. Perez has spent his entire career in public service and was the Montgomery County Council’s first-ever elected Latino president, serving in this capacity in 2005. Additionally, he spent 12 years in Federal public service, mostly as a Civil Rights Division career attorney.
As Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under Attorney General Janet Reno, he oversaw initiatives designed to protect vulnerable workers while acting the chair of the inter-agency Worker Exploitation Task Force.
The late Senator Edward Kennedy also took advantage of his skill set, employing Mr. Perez as his special counsel. During the final two years of the Clinton administration, the secretary also served as the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In the official blog of the DOL, Work in Progress, one of the Secretary’s his first posts spoke of “protecting, promoting and expanding opportunity” with regard to those with disabilities in the workforce.
KRA Corporation welcomes the appointment of a progressive and ardent advocate of workforce development and workers’ rights. As an organization, we have impacted jobseekers and workforce development on the ground floor as well as in higher offices by supporting employment and training programs through conducting research, assisting in policy and program development, and providing technical assistance to Federal, state and local programs.
KRA Corporation looks forward to supporting Mr. Perez’s future employment, training, and workforce development initiatives as the Department of Labor moves forward under his direction.